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"Labor safety is not a formality, but corporate culture and company policy"

 

 

 

Valentina Ovchinnikova, labor protection specialist, Avrial Group:

"Labor safety is not a formality, but corporate culture and company policy"

 

Construction is an economic sector that is characterized by a high level of risk for workers.  On a construction site, people often work outdoors, in difficult weather conditions, at heights, in strong winds, and other hazardous circumstances.  Occupational safety specialist Valentina Ovchinnikova told about how the process of ensuring safety during construction works in the Avrial Group of Companies is being organized.

 

- The company pays great attention to health and safety issues.  Why?

“Avrial Group of Companies has key values, and one of them is safety.  We believe that violation of labor protection requirements and risks to the life and health of employees is unacceptable. Creating conditions for comfortable and safe work, ensuring the effective functioning of the Industrial Safety, Labor, and Environment Management System that meets the requirements of ISO 14001: 2015 and OHSAS 18001: 2007 standards are the basis of the company's policy. And this is not just a slogan, we are sure that not a single enterprise striving to work successfully for the future can develop if it does not deal with security issues.

 

- Valentina, please tell us what work is being done in this direction and what are your responsibilities?

- In short, my main task is to ensure compliance with labor protection requirements and monitor their implementation.  The activity is based on the corporate system of rules: regulations, instructions, standards, etc.  But no instructions will work if they do not change people's behavior, their perception of regulatory requirements.  The correct attitude to safety in a company begins with the correct attitude of the management.  It is important to understand that labor protection is a multifaceted activity, in which it is necessary to involve managers at all levels.  The security system at the enterprise depends on their attitude.  Will it be formalism, when briefings are carried out “for the show”, and safety precautions for work are observed exclusively in the presence of supervisors, or the company is building an effective system aimed at preventing industrial injuries and accidents.

The Avrial Group of Companies approaches labor safety issues very responsibly at all levels of management.  Everything related to occupational health and safety becomes a priority and an action guide.  We are always in touch, I periodically call the employees, I ask how they are doing.  And they, if there are any problems or questions, ask how to do things right.

 

- Do you visit all the facilities under construction?

- Yes.  At least once a month, and usually more often, we, together with construction control specialists, visit each object.  They check the quality of the objects being built, and I check the compliance with safety regulations.

 

- How do you carry out inspections at construction sites?

- When we arrive at a construction site, we check all employees to make sure they are in overalls so that they have all the necessary protective equipment.  We make sure that they do not just receive them, sign and put them somewhere, but observe following all safety rules during the work.  We check that all employees are instructed on how to safely carry out work before getting started.

We make sure that everyone is familiar with the labor protection instructions, rules, and requirements.  All our employees have been trained in specialized training centers and, following the legislation, once a year undergo a periodic examination of their knowledge of labor protection.  Engineers are also trained in training centers and re-examination of knowledge for them takes place every three years.

 

- How do you deal with violations?

- According to the industrial safety Policy, labor and environment protection approved in the company, each employee is assigned personal responsibility for the prevention of accidents, injuries, occupational diseases, accidents.  If violations are revealed at the construction site, then we arrange an extraordinary test of knowledge of labor safety rules.  If necessary, we carry out repeated training.  As additional measures of influence, the company has a provision on deprivation of bonuses, which spells out all types of violations.  And we also have rewards.  If there are no violations at the site, then based on the results of the inspection, the employees are paid a bonus.

 

- How is the labor protection knowledge of employees tested?

- Each of the specialists, before starting to fulfill their duties, is engaged in serious theoretical training and undergoes an internship, which ends with a knowledge test.  Only after successfully passing all the stages, the employee is issued admission to work.  But the training does not end there.  It continues.  We are not standing still.  Information is constantly studied, all changes in the legislative framework are monitored, and amendments are made to the instructions.  All information is communicated to employees.  Additionally, employees undergo online training, take part in online seminars, improving their knowledge.

I believe that our common goal is to increase the level of safety at construction sites, and the success of its implementation directly depends on everyone, from the ordinary installer to the top managers.

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