We speak to HSE Lead and Global HSE Function Leader Rudy Capelo about our recent success organising Proserv Global Safety Day that focused on hand safety and the dangers of complacency.

Tell me a bit about yourself.

I am currently the HSE Manager for Sommermeyer. I also hold a dual role as Global HSE Function Leader for all our sites. My primary focus is to provide HSE advice, guidance and mentoring as part of the management team. I also ensure compliance with all Proserv reporting requirements and HSE laws. As a leader, I understand I am only as good as my team. Therefore, to ensure Proserv continues to remain a safe place to work, I strive to create clarity, clear context and consistency with regards to HSE.

One recent accomplishment in our HSE world was our Global Safety Day, which was a first for Proserv.

Why is safety awareness so important?

Because safety is such an important part of our daily lives, it’s important to always remain aware of potential safety issues and consciously act in the best interest of safety.

It’s easier said than done, of course. Daily responsibilities at work can often distract even the most diligent employees and decrease alertness. Employees who have been doing the same job for years can be at an even higher risk. This is because they’re less likely to consciously think about their actions. Repetitive tasks can switch on a person’s autopilot to the point they don’t need to put much thought into their work.

When this happens, safety can become less of a daily thought, unless it’s brought back to the spotlight. Without ongoing awareness, employees may begin to neglect safe practices in lieu of faster, more efficient methods. Taking a shortcut once with no negative consequences makes it easier to repeat those shortcuts and look for new ones. But it’s only a matter of time before those ‘efficiencies’ result in an undesirable outcome.

At Proserv, safety is key. Because of the potentially catastrophic consequences that can result from complacency, we regularly conduct safety campaigns on various topics. Our recent Global Safety Day was one such effort to help keep the awareness at the top of everyone’s mind.

Why a global safety day?

We all know that safety begins from the moment we wake up, to the moment we get back into bed at night. I therefore wanted to showcase this, using one day in which safety was highlighted simultaneously around the globe.
The Global Safety Day is a safety awareness day in which all sites participate in multiple safety-related activities over the course of one day. As safety affects everyone, the day involved all our employees, from management to shop floor.

Proserv Global Safety Day Campaign Posters

How was the day organised?

The HSE Leads at each site were tasked with developing their own ideas for how best to structure the day. They were however asked to base the day around the topics of safety complacency and hand safety. We ensured that we had materials and posters developed ahead of the day that highlighted these key themes.

Beyond that, facility leads were free to organise the day as they saw fit. This allowed individual site empowerment, and I was extremely proud that each site took complete ownership of the event. I will say that some of the activities really left a lasting impression on myself. Kudos to everyone!

Employees took part in various Global Safety Day activities around the world.

What were some of the highlights of the Proserv Global Safety Day?

For one thing, participation levels were high, which truly showed the interest our employees have for HSE. Team building was also evident during the day, which only strengthened employee relations. This has a positive knock-on effect, as a strong team can, in turn, help to keep each other safe.

In terms of the activities that took place – there were many excellent ideas. One such activity was where employees at one facility were instructed to put a sock on their dominant hand to simulate a hand injury, and then attempt to eat lunch and move around the facility. I thought this was very effective.

Another activity was an art contest, which involved our employees and their children. It was great to see the many art pieces created. This was especially effective as, by involving their families, it shows how safety awareness doesn’t end once you leave the office.

Beyond that there were quizzes, presentations, themed lunches etc. Everyone really did a great job. Every site had fantastic ideas. I heard a lot of feedback that revolved around one site seeing what another site did, and thinking “now, why didn’t I think of that?” I will say this: I anticipate some friendly competition for the best ideas at the Global Safety Day next year!

How does the safety day link with our FRESH values?

Throughout the globe, we easily showcased multiple values, from Forward as a Team, Right thing, Right way, Entrepreneurial Spirit, and Help, Share and Communicate. The activities highlighted teamwork, created excellent safety-related memories and allowed everyone to continue to focus on safety.

What are your future plans with safety initiatives?

This is a great question, and I’ve had a few inquiries about this. It’s important we do activities like this to keep our employees engaged. I believe the Global Safety Day, and the themes it showcased, will stick with our employees for a long time.

Even so, I intend to keep up momentum by conducting a few more mini campaigns throughout the year. One can never have too much safety. The key aspect will be to ensure that any campaign is meaningful and relatable. This will ensure we are not just ticking the box, and the Global Safety Day was anything but a box-ticking exercise. We will make sure we put our own Proserv touch on any HSE campaign, built around our FRESH values.

Name one piece of advice you would give to those reading this article for keeping safe.

Improve your own and others safety by understanding risks and always be aware of your surroundings. Continue to look for opportunities to improve and shine a light on any strengths and weaknesses. Always strive to maintain a culture of ZERO harm to those around you – whether it’s colleagues, their families, clients and beyond!