International technology company, Fujitsu, have a clear philosophy for workforce safety; to have a culture that is intolerant of accidents, incidents and poor safety performance.
Their vision goes far beyond compliance and systems. The essence of the philosophy is to be embodied by every member of the workforce, from board level executives to the field engineers and the office workers - from Buenos Aires to Birmingham. Each person working for Fujitsu is encouraged to embrace the values and principles of the ‘Fujitsu Way’ - a common direction for all employees of the Fujitsu Group which has safety as a core component. With this approach Fujitsu are going beyond cultural safety to a single global culture, a culture that is safe.
As a global business with regional structures that cross continents, cultures and legal frameworks, Fujitsu's approach to health and safety management varied significantly. Achieving a culture intolerant of accidents, relies on shaping and influencing these global differences.
Together Fujitsu and EEF have devised an innovative workforce-wide cultural programme that embraces the ‘Fujitsu Way’. With the most stringent laws globally as its baseline and ISO 45001 as the framework, the organisation will be united, legally compliant and establish global expectations, consistent standards, processes and procedures.
Taking health and safety global
A foundation for global standards for health and safety management was vital, covering the basics, the practical systems of work, procedures and policies through to behaviours, expectations, manager engagement, worker responsibility and leadership - all countries needed to be on the same page. The conversation can then move towards a global management system, auditing and continuous improvement at an international level.
Fujitsu recognised early on that their needs were complex as their vision was far-reaching and they would face challenges that need addressing head-on.
As Simon Head, Head of Health and Safety at Fujitsu, explains “we knew there would be disparities with standards and processes but what was surprising was how little health and safety travelled across borders and how far we are from a global – even European - profession.”
Simon discovered that there are significant variances in some of the fundamental aspects of managing health and safety.
- health and safety professionals and their management of safety varied with no established industry-wide competency framework, no standard approach to training and an over reliance on external consultants
- approaches to safety management varied significantly and with Fujitsu’s UK and Ireland operations having the only certified management system expectations for, and perceptions of, health and safety differed vastly
- the need for a safety management system was undervalued in some operations
A partnership to transform international safety
Simon could see the enormity of the task at hand and when looking for support turned to EEF as he knew they had the people, knowledge, expertise, global experience, network and practical competence needed for such a complex, multi-national solution. As Simon explains, “we considered a number of potential global partners and with due diligence partnered with EEF. Our choice was based on our need for a partner with an international track record in health and safety, who we could trust to push the boundaries and challenge the accepted norms and restrictions when working globally.”
Setting the standards
Although compliance wasn’t the driver or the end goal it was the minimum standard and a global baseline was to be set; applying the most stringent laws that applied from all of the EMEIA countries and using ISO 45001 as a framework. What Simon soon realised was missing was a source for a comprehensive international health and safety legal register, Simon continues “we could not find a legal register that covered the countries and depth of information we needed to create the baseline standards. All we could access were snippets or high level information held in a spreadsheet – we just couldn’t use it as we couldn’t be confident that we were covering all aspects of law”. With EEF’s expertise and global network Fujitsu now have a comprehensive legal register, tailored to Fujitsu templates.
Engaging the workforce
For Fujitsu the standard approach to international training of ‘off the shelf’ or tailored established programmes was not an option. They needed more personality, more emotion and a more human centred approach to engaging the workforce. Fujitsu were looking to create real, lasting cultural and behavioural change and to do this it needed to be personal and Simon and his team challenged EEF’s experts to ensure an emotional connection was central to the learning experience.
Fujitsu and EEF have developed a cultural change programme that has the ‘Fujitsu Way’ at the core and provides a personalised experience for each individual, with every learner viewing the programme as being tailored for their personal development. The programme will include accredited IOSH qualifications and key practical training that equips the workforce with the knowledge and skills to do their jobs safely. Most significantly, however, is the fact that the programme is less instructional and more human and emotionally driven, as Simon explains;
“With this programme we are re-writing the rule book for safety training, we are taking people on a personal journey that connects with them as people, not as employees. It’s an exciting partnership as we challenge ourselves and each other to push the boundaries further.”
Global insight to drive global decision making
In order to effectively manage health and safety across international borders Fujitsu needed access to reliable, comparable data and have launched a new Occupational Health and Safety Incident Management application across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. This application is a key part of the strategy for transforming safety and moves away from resource intensive manual process to accessible, live accident and incident data. Fujitsu are now able to ensure that the right safety measures, targets, objectives and investment requirements can be implemented to reduce accidents and improve safety standards across the countries and regions. The system is integrated with the people development programme with a smart phone ‘Ask Safety’ application providing information through a frequently asked questions and a route to raising an Occupational Health and Safety concern. When and how to use the new system is included as a key objective throughout the new safety learning packages.
Taking the programme to the next level
The next key part of the project is to standardise health and safety management and have one certified system. Using ISO 45001 as a structure Simon is working to implement a single certified management system.