Health and safety is a critical area for Axel Johnson International. Our group supplies products and services to customers that operate in challenging conditions – from working at height to mining deep below ground. High standards are crucial.
Coherent health and safety policies and close coordination across the group are essential for minimising accident and injury risk on behalf of our customers – and in our own operations too.
One of the people working with this is Sarah Giraud, Health and Safety Ambassador at Lifting Solutions. The Lifting Solutions business group operates in multiple markets – from Spain to Norway to Russia. Health and safety regulations differ in each country, which can make compliance and alignment with the relevant standards a complex task.
“We base our approach on sharing our knowledge and best practice at business group level so that all our companies can benefit,” Sarah explains.
Working together and having access to core expertise at group level can make all the difference when learning about and adopting best practice in health and safety.
“Smaller companies might not always have a full-time health and safety manager and sometimes they can feel a bit on their own. Within Lifting Solutions, we want to show them that this is a vital area. They’re not alone and we will work closely to support them,” Sarah says.
Health and safety as a life-style
For Sarah, health and safety is much more than a job. When not at work, she can be found at her local fire station in Gardanne, near Marseille in France, where she volunteers as a firefighter. “Health and safety takes up 80 to 90 percent of my life. I really live and breathe it,” she says and smiles.
Her experience in the fire service, where she heads a fire engine crew, is a major plus for Lifting Solutions. “I’m the one people call whenever there’s an issue. Firefighting is all about identifying and reducing risks, and risk is a key area where our companies turn to me for advice,” she continues.
Officially, Sarah’s role is to perform health and safety audits, but she sees herself more as a consultant and facilitator. “I’m not here to control or order our companies around. I’m here to help and increase awareness. If I see a risk, my job is to offer a solution to manage that risk.”
Her focus areas are broadly spread, ranging from fire safety and first aid to working at height, machine safety, storage and lifting. Sarah also deals with physical and mental health issues in the workplace, ergonomics, and other areas.
“The work is very diverse and so are our companies. This can be a challenge, but it’s what I love. It’s really interesting to see how people think and find different ways forward and my satisfaction comes from helping them to achieve that,” she says.
Knowledge-sharing key to success
Sarah has worked at Traction-Levage since 2011 but started working with health and safety for Lifting Solutions in May 2018, and her work is in its early stages. But already she sees tangible progress.
“You never win the war, you just win battles – but step by step I see improvements,” she says, noting initiatives and changes including improved tidiness and workstation design at a number of sites.
“Companies sharing their successes and experience with others in the group is critical to success. I’m seeing much more willingness to share challenges within the group now. Most of our Lifting Solutions companies have similar business activities, so if one company makes a specific improvement, many others will be potentially interested and can benefit from implementing the same,” she concludes.
Health and safety, Sarah adds, is not something that can be left to a manager or HSE coordinator alone but is an area in which every employee and every company must be engaged and share.
“It’s a task that should involve each and every Axel Johnson International employee. Everyone can improve and achieve something good.”
Questions? Please contact Lisa Säfwenberg, Sustainability Project Manager for Lifting Solutions, at email@example.com