Alfen's QHSE policy

Our vision for QHSE

People make mistakes, they have always made mistakes, and they will continue to do so in the future. Sometimes something good comes out of mistakes, but not often! It is therefore important to reduce the chance of errors to the lowest possible denominator, and when a mistake is made to keep the consequences as manageable as possible while learning the lessons from that mistake; the bottom line, however, is that mistakes may be made!

QHSE mission and objectives

The mission of the QHSE department is to support Alfen pro-actively to become and remain a visionary and innovative future industry leader. In order to achieve this aim, we inject proven and relevant know-how into this process, using both for professional advice, support and connection of all of Alfen's vertical and horizontal levels to contribute to a sustainable competitive edge for our company.

QHSE Objectives

The following objectives are fundamental to all QHSE activities:

  • Being a sustainable company without unacceptable deviations;
  • Having a healthy workforce that has worked for Alfen for many years and for whom health risks are a constant area of attention;
  • Mitigating unacceptable risks to human health and that of the environment that could potentially emanate from current and future activities of Alfen.

Fundamental cornerstones of QHSE policy

The guiding principle behind all measures adopted is the conviction that the most undesirable occurrences are avoidable. This conviction encourages us to continue to stand behind an optimal QHSE policy. Every accident, every health complaint, each case of occupational disability as a result of simply doing your daily work, can most often be avoided. As can environmental incidents and quality assurance issues. For every risk in the electrical engineering sector, Alfen or the sector and even other sectors have developed and implemented tried and trusted safety precautions and procedures. Current analysis instruments as well as available know-how and experience are sufficient to mitigate risks at an acceptable level. It all depends on whether we apply these guiding principles each and every day in the way we work. Daily application of purpose and principle is our final objective; guidance is our supporting tool.

The Alfen QHSE policy is a wheel with five spokes; the hub is comprised of the SPARK values. The following elements are the cornerstones of the QHSE policy:

  • Ambition
  • Knowledge
  • Organisation
  • Leadership
  • An invigorating culture

Alfen's QHSE policy framework

This policy is best visualised as a wheel with five spokes:

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Ambition

It is Alfen's ambition to offer all its employees a safe and optimal working environment as expressed in the company's QHSE policy statement. This optimal working environment applies to all our own employees, but also seconded staff and the employees of our suppliers, subcontractors and any other partner with whom we work.

Knowledge

The degree to which Alfen as a whole and with respect to its individual employees are aware of the technical safety aspects that are part of their profession. Consider for example:

  • Knowledge of statutory rules and regulations;
  • Knowledge of how to use equipment and tools safely;
  • Knowledge of the safe usage of company kit and other gear;
  • Knowledge of the execution and preparation of risk analyses as well as the QHSE protocols.

Organisation

At issue in this case is the management of process-driven and methodical safety aspects that are captured within the Alfen Integrated Management system (AIM). For example, via the completion and application of:

  • Protocols and procedures
  • Safe Working Practices;
  • Safety standards;
  • Environmental standards;
  • Health standards.

Leadership

By leadership we mean the way in which employees are encouraged and guided to consider the hazards, the associated risks and enlarge their QHSE awareness. This can be achieved via individual employee guidance or by managing groups of employees. In these cases, the issue is to stimulate:

  • Awareness of and identification with the many faces of QHSE;
  • Enlargement of QHSE engagement - and in its execution;
  • Awareness of ownership and an employee's own responsibility;
  • Working towards sustainable QHSE behaviour (i.e. leading by example).

An invigorating culture

An empowering culture, a Just Culture. A corporate culture in which trust, learning ability and accountability are at the heart of the business. A culture in which mistakes may be made and where employees can and may speak out. Two important issues are:

  • Psychological security
  • Just culture

Enhancing psychological security

The cultural element is already woven into the focal areas mentioned above. A good example is leading by example and daring to call each other to order should hazardous behaviour be displayed. This desired state will only be attained if a sufficient level of mutual trust is part of the Alfen culture. This is what is known as psychological security. The embedding of a sense of trust is also one of the preconditions for a pro-active organisation.

Psychological security

Psychological security means that team members feel free to take responsible risks and to adopt a vulnerable attitude towards fellow employees by admitting, for example, that they have made a mistake. Psychological security also means that employees are encouraged to share ideas, questions, concerns or errors without being punished or humiliated for doing so. Feeling safe to take risks and adopt a certain vulnerability towards one another is essential for any successful team.

Just Culture/Organisational justice

Mistakes are made. Everywhere, and by everybody. A 100% guarantee that this will not happen does simply not exist. Not even at Alfen! The question, however, is how to act and react in such a situation. Is the guilty party sought out and sanctioned, or are lessons learned from mistakes made? The attitude that any organisation's management adopts as far as making mistakes is concerned drives the prevention of the same errors in the future to a large degree. The paramount thought should be: Everybody is better off if errors are analysed.

Just Culture is another topic in the QHSE thinking. By assuming that making mistakes is inherent to standard operating procedure and process, an organisation becomes capable of learning on the job. Consider for example the discussion of mistakes made without this having any consequences whatsoever for those involved. The guiding principle is that nobody makes mistakes in order to commit sabotage (there are of course exceptions to the rule), but that the mistake made could well be made by others.

Any further questions? Contact

Hans Nagtegaal

Manager QHSE & CSR

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