Tue April 13 05:01 pm 2021 in category Articles

Bringing home the Chemical Industry Federation's Safety Award 

Nokian Heavy Tyres Ltd won the large companies’ category of the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland's Safety Award. The company's major leap in safety culture was brought up as a special merit.


Nokian Heavy Tyres Ltd won the large companies category as the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland presented its annual Safety Award for exemplary safety work in companies on April 13, 2021. This was the fifth year of the Safety Award.  

Among other things, the jury thanked Nokian Heavy Tyres for the strong commitment to the safety improvements by the company's senior management, which enabled the personnel to also commit to the change. 

In the beginning of 2016, Heavy Tyres had an accident frequency of 53, whereas today the number is zero. After that, Heavy Tyres has been able to celebrate accident free -year twice.  

- Our entire company, from senior management to workers, took safety as a top priority. Cooperation within the personnel has been the key cornerstone in our success, says Safety manager at Nokian Heavy Tyres Antti Viitasaari. 

What have been the practical steps? 

Initially, Heavy Tyres emphasized what is known as reactive industrial safety work. Once the accident frequency fell, it allowed the company to focus on proactive work towards safety. In 2021, a lot of time has been spent on site-specific risk assessments, for example.  

- Proactive safety work has been developed by focusing on cooperation and developing the employees' abilities. This provides more tools for individual decisions, enables us to avoid disturbance, and increases our perseverance in case of any disturbances, Safety Manager Viitasaari emphasizes. 

According to Viitasaari, a lot of effort has been put toward safety know-how among the personnel. Each year, all of the employees receive a minimum of two all-day training events where safety is always a topic. Supervisors have been trained to intervene in safety deviations, for example. 

Many different work stages have also been made safer. According to industrial safety representative Ari Niemelä, various hazards have been eliminated by technical means after assessing whether the tools or protective equipment in use are suitable for the purpose. 

Niemelä says that succeeding at safety has motivated people inside the company to improve things and their working environment by making more safety observations or being more inclined to report defects. 

- I feel that the atmosphere has improved, problematic matters are now easier to process, and people have become more open. We have also expressed our gratitude when things are running well. 

People are a company's key resource 

Antti Viitasaari considers that the award gives important recognition to the fact that focusing on cooperation and people is the right choice.  

- People are the key resource at Nokian Heavy Tyres, and this recognition shows our people that the focus on safety is important. From the company's point of view, the award is a message to our customers that industrial accidents will not disturb our deliveries, for example. 

Ari Niemelä also feels that this award and the positive attention will motivate the personnel and help industrial safety culture transform in the correct direction. 

- It is easier to motivate people to pay attention to their working environment and conditions once the “safety goggles” are on. The award also helps in creating team spirit, Niemelä emphasizes. 

Good deeds come back to you 

Nokian Heavy Tyres has also successfully transferred its good safety culture to its subsidiary wheels manufacturer Levypyörä Oy. 

- Levypyörä also made safety visible in its Safety First! campaign. Like us, Levypyörä also decided that accidents are no longer acceptable, after which good results were achieved quickly, Antti Viitasaari explains. 

According to Viitasaari, good results also reinforce the belief that the companies are on the right path in terms of safety. 

- If you stop working on safety, you start sliding backwards. Now, we can turn our attention toward how we can focus on developing ergonomics, for example, Viitasaari says.  

Ari Niemelä also calls for a change in attitudes, as industrial safety is not a single performance but rather a continuous process. The stress caused by work may shift from physical to mental, for example. Therefore, you need to constantly remain vigilant. 

- If you stop striving for improvement, industrial safety culture may worsen very quickly. As long as you remember to care about yourself and your colleagues and remain a good example to others, your attitude will also thrive, Ari Niemelä summarizes. 

- Big thanks to our entire staff who have made the right choices in terms of safety. We have Jukka Rikkinen, Pasi Antinmaa, and Antti Viitasaari, among others, to thank for the safety-related coaching. With a good team, developing an even safer work environment is a joy, says Manu Salmi, Senior Vice President for Nokian Heavy Tyres.