RAG’s HSE management system defines the following: the company’s HSE policy and HSE goals, clear responsibilities, safety structures, the risk assessment methods to be used, control measures, corrective actions and continuous improvement. The HSE management system is regularly updated and approved by the Executive Board.
By identifying and assessing potential hazards and risks, and investigating incidents, measures are implemented to avoid interruptions to operations due to work-related accidents, injuries, and mental or physical health problems resulting from excessive workload. Risks are assessed in line with statutory regulations (the Austrian ArbeitnehmerInnenschutzgesetz [Employee Protection Act]). Hazard assessment results are summarised in the corresponding health and safety protection documents. Analysis of critical incidents, such as injuries to employees or near-misses with a high potential to cause injury, is also defined in the HSE management system.
The basis for the prevention and minimisation of accidents and negative health impacts comprises:
In the course of regular visits to operations, our occupational health physicians assess work spaces and give the employer and employees specialist, detailed advice on all matters related to occupational health. They also carry out examinations of employees in accordance with the Employee Protection Act. The physicians provide summaries of their activities to the Health Committee and the Occupational Health and Safety Committee, and are also involved in the evaluation process for approving working materials. The occupational health service provider is the controller of personal data relating to health. RAG only receives necessary information in respect of suitability for carrying out duties, and the request for the next examination, in line with the intervals prescribed by law. Employees have the opportunity to undergo voluntary examinations relevant to their duties, for example working with display screen equipment or carcinogenic substances.
We are aware of our responsibility for the safety of our employees. This is the only way we can supply energy safely, reliably and without maintenance outages.
The HSE management system defines the working parties for occupational health and safety, and the safety officers, as well as internal communication channels. Employees may consult the HSE Department or occupational health and safety officers at any time, and not only during corresponding site visits. Every employee has access to the RAG intranet and the internet, and thereby to all relevant documentation and information, including the company’s weekly HSE newsletter. RAG has voluntarily established an Occupational Safety Committee, which meets twice a year to discuss all relevant matters as well as discuss and determine corresponding measures for improvements. HSE is also a fixed item on the agenda for weekly and monthly meetings at all facilities.
All staff take part in regular training to ensure the development of their skills. Training activities are defined in each employee’s job description and are discussed in annual staff appraisals. Training documentation and compulsory regular refresher courses are managed using the training database.
The health of our employees is one of RAG’S highest priorities. Our internal health programme is aimed at creating incentives to participate in health promotion activities. Employees can select activities related to exercise, nutrition, revitalisation or medical consultation, with the thematic focus changing from year to year. Activities are evaluated by participants using feedback forms. Our aim is to support sustained improvements in health by offering low-threshold access to medical examinations, consultations and regular activities. The annual health promotion programme is drawn up based on staff surveys or direct suggestions as well as the recommendations of the RAG Health Committee, and in line with the year’s thematic focus. The theme in 2021 was ‘Listen to your gut‘, and in 2022 it was ‘Strengthening the immune system with movement and nutrition‘. In 2023 the theme of preventive health links all of the activities on offer.
The RAG Health and Sports Day has been held annually since 2021, and has proved very popular. Information on all activities and other services is provided in news articles on the RAG intranet and/or in e-mail newsletters. Doctors and therapists who provide consultation only share (medical) results and reports with the participating employee.
We place a special emphasis on the prevention of mental and psychosocial health issues. Based on an evaluation of psychological stress factors in the workplace, action areas have been identified under the following themes: posture; working environment; and work organisation and praise/recognition from superiors. With regard to posture, we are looking at ways to integrate changes of posture into daily work routines. In terms of the working environment, high temperatures in office buildings during summer were a focus. A centralised air conditioning project was initiated in 2021 and has already been completed.
Individual (occupational) psychological counselling for employees is also important to us. A mental health emergency plan was drawn up in 2022 to provide immediate support in acute situations as well as straightforward access to help in case of a mental health issue. Training of mental health first aiders was introduced in 2022 and will continue. Employees can also obtain support from the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). When needed, support from the occupational health service provider’s occupational psychologists is also available. RAG has been awarded the Austrian Health Ministry’s quality seal for workplace health promotion since 2013; the seal for the 2022–2024 period was received in 2022.
Prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts directly linked by business relationships
Contractors working at our operations and supporting provision of services receive comprehensive information and instructions for carrying out their work at our facilities and in our buildings. Acceptance of and compliance with our Safety Regulations for Contractors is a mandatory part of the contract. After receiving instruction in the form of an abridged version of the Safety Regulations for External Contractors, each person carrying out work must demonstrate their understanding of the instructions in a written test prior to the commencement of work. Contractors who pass the test receive a safety sticker, valid for one year, as a visible indicator that they are familiar with the safety requirements. The completed questionnaire, including the sticker number, is archived electronically.
In addition to the health and safety measures designed to protect our own workforce, we also integrate contractors closely into our safety activities. For example, we make sure that everyone involved in a project has a common understanding of safety issues in a kick-off meeting before the project starts. Immediately before work starts, we insist that all those involved perform a last minute risk analysis, to ensure they are aware of risks and take appropriate precautions for their own and others’ safety.
The current shortage of qualified staff also represents a safety issue, confronting RAG and its contractors with new challenges. As a result we are paying even closer attention to strict observation of all safety measures, by means of more frequent supervision and inspection of construction sites, and regularly reminding employees to report safety risks in the internal reporting system or to HSE staff.