Assessment of human factors included in the development of occupational safety

Bag-in-box production line in Rajamäki

Occupational safety is a key area of Altia’s responsibility work, and we are continuously working to improve safety, so that we can achieve our goal of Zero absences attributable to occupational accidents by 2030. 

Altia’s safety work took a step forward in 2019 when what are referred to as human factors – i.e. factors having an impact on an individual’s actions – began to be accounted for as part of occupational safety.

The Human Factor HF™ development programme, to be carried out in cooperation with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, adopts a broader perspective into occupational accidents and the promotion of occupational safety and aims to broaden the entire way of thinking about safety matters.

“Previously, our approach to the reporting of accidents, for example, has been fairly technical: we’ve reviewed what went wrong, whether the appropriate protective equipment was used, whether rules were followed, whether the equipment or machinery was in order and so on. But this technical approach alone is not enough. We must also consider human factors, such as workloads, stress, alertness as well as the organisation of work and the flow of information,” says Jussi Nikula, Altia’s HSEQ Manager.

Changing the way we think from aspects that impair safety to aspects that strengthen safety

The Human Factor development programme aims not only to obtain increasingly many-sided information about factors in the background of accidents, but to change our way of thinking from problem and error-orientation to factors that strengthen safety – and also to review what was done right in the situation leading up to the accident or hazard.

The aim is to construct processes, instructions and working methods which allow us to account for the influence of various human factors – such as tiredness, workloads or the insufficient flow of information – in operations. Ultimately, the aim is to improve occupational safety and minimise the number of accidents.

Human factors included in risk assessment as well as the recording and reporting of accidents

The project commenced in the summer of 2019 with an initial survey at the Rajamäki plant, which examined the state of Altia’s current safety culture and operations. The programme continued in the autumn with workshops in which the Human Factor tool HF Tool ™, was customised for Altia. The tools used for the assessment of safety risks as well as the recording and reporting of accidents will be customised to fit Altia’s operations during the spring of 2020. 

The work will continue in the spring of 2020 with the training of Rajamäki plant’s internal instructors.  After the training, in the autumn, internal instructors will train most of the staff at the Rajamäki plant to use the HF Tool ™.

While the Human Factor development programme was kicked off at the Rajamäki plant, we also aim to expand it later on during 2020 to the Koskenkorva plant and our technical ethanol unit in Rajamäki.