Wärtsilä has been moving steadily closer to its on-going target of zero lost-time injuries. No injury is acceptable, and we should learn from any hazardous situations that arise to prevent their recurrence. But even with stringent safety standards in place, accidents do happen.
We observed that 45% of all injuries at Wärtsilä in 2014 were related to hands or fingers. In a bid to further improve our safety record, a global attitude change was required. Personnel had to be reminded of the many risks to their hands and fingers faced in workshops and production facilities, and how easily injuries can occur if the correct care is not taken.
In 2015, a campaign was initiated to focus attention on this, entitled Save Your Fingers. The goal was simple: to raise awareness and permanently change the safety mind-set of employees towards precautionary measures, ensuring everyone realises that their most valuable tools are their hands and fingers.
A finger-conscious day
To further the campaign, we dedicated an entire day to the prevention of hand and finger injury. The Global Safety Day was held at all of our business facilities around the world and highlighted the five golden rules for prevention of finger injury. Training was carried out on how to deal with sharp machinery, and safety walks were held, giving employees a sense of various safety aspects around the workplace.
At the end of the day, employees were encouraged to make a pledge and commit to ensuring safety, both for themselves and their colleagues.
The results of the Save Your Fingers campaign were both immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Six months into the campaign, hand- and finger-related injuries had been reduced by 30% compared to the previous year, resulting in significantly less lost-time injuries. There was a 23% increase in near miss and hazard reports during the same time span. This indicates the increased awareness on the critical aspects of safety throughout Wärtsilä.
This campaign was a giant step towards our ultimate goal of zero injuries and the further protection of our greatest asset: our people.