A good workplace should be safe and empowering. Initiatives in 2022 have targeted diversity, inclusion and critical safety areas.
A work environment with people in focus
An inspiring and inclusive work environment is one where everyone is valued and feels that they belong. For us at Arla Foods Ingredients, this is about nurturing a safe and enabling culture that allows each colleague to perform to the best of their abilities and develop their skills.
Every year, our colleague engagement survey takes the temperature on how we are doing as a workplace and where we need to improve. Most colleagues take the time to respond – as many as 92% in 2022 – and the feedback indicates we have a highly engaged workforce with a widely expressed intention to stay within the company. Our priority is to consolidate our position as an attractive workplace with people in focus (see the Ambitions & Progress Data chapter for more information about the survey).
Several 2022 initiatives have followed up on improvement areas identified by the 2021 colleague engagement survey.
Colleagues at Danmark Protein had expressed a wish to have more influence on sustainability in their daily work. In response, we have put ‘sustainability at work’ on the agenda of the regular development dialogues between managers and teams. During 2022, everyone at the site was invited to consider actions they can take to save resources – from saving water to turning off computer screens at the end of the working day. Our latest survey shows a clear impact from this initiative.
Although the engagement survey shows a steady decline in unacceptable workplace behaviour, we continue to make concerted efforts to reach our zero incident goal across our organisation. Internal communication initiatives and dialogue at work environment meetings are primary tools in this respect.
Diversity and inclusion Over the summer, we joined the Arla diversity and inclusion programme, starting with a series of kick-off days. Since then, all top leadership teams have taken part in workshops on inclusive leadership, and key performance indicators have been developed to follow progress.
Initial focus areas include avoiding unconscious bias, for instance with regard to gender, race and religion. Ahead lies the task of determining how we can integrate diversity and inclusion in our everyday ways of working.
Behavioural safety culture
With business growth comes an expanding workforce and a bigger responsibility to keep workplace safety top of mind. All our sites, with the exemption of ArNoCo, follow the continuous improvement targets of our Cornerstones behavioural safety programme. ArNoCo is enrolled in the equivalent occupational safety programme of our joint venture partner DMK.
During 2022, many colleagues across our sites have participated in bespoke risk assessment training. The rising number of risk observations they report is a positive reflection of our developing behavioural safety culture. All colleagues at Danmark Protein, for example, are required to identify at least four risks a year.
Accident frequency has continuously declined over a number of years. Unfortunately, in 2022 we experienced a 50% increase. Although the accident frequency rate is still relatively low, this underlines the importance of continuing our behavioural safety programme. At AFISA and MVI, there have been no lost-time accidents for the past five and six years respectively.
Critical health and safety areas Over the past three years, mandatory standards and competence-building activities have addressed specific areas of health and safety identified as high risk. In early 2022, our safety maturity journey entered the next phase with the introduction of targeted health and safety audits to raise awareness of these critical areas and ensure proactive compliance. Based on these audits, our focus areas for 2023 will be ‘permit to work’ and ‘lock out/tag out’ (LOTO).
In Denmark, our permit-to-work system – which authorises named people to carry out specific tasks in potentially hazardous areas – mainly applies to hot work, such as welding or using a blowtorch to lay roofing felt. In the year ahead, we will focus on implementing the system in other high-risk areas, such as working at height and in confined spaces.
The LOTO procedure ensures machines are taken safely out of operation for adjustments, maintenance and cleaning. Due to the diverse nature of our machinery and processes, the procedure must be tailored to each line – a major task for our large processing plants. The safety procedure is now fully implemented at AFISA and MVI. At Danmark Protein and ARINCO, LOTO implementation will be finalised in 2023.
Fire at Danmark Protein
A fire in the boiler house next to a spray-drying tower at Danmark Protein was brought quickly under control in August. No colleagues were present when the fire occurred, and those working in other parts of the plant were evacuated.
After a temporary solution was put in place, the boiler house, which supplies the tower with hot air, was back in operation a month later. We are now investigating a long-term solution which will combine the use of our 90°C heat recovery system with natural gas and electricity – in line with our transition to low-carbon technology.