A 2010-2015 action plan that sets out a Health & Safety agreement

The Health & Safety action plan fleshes out the implementation of the Group’s H&S policy, based on an agreement on fundamental H&S principles signed on February 23, 2010, with European trade unions. Now extended internationally, this action plan describes the initiatives for progress that need to be implemented and sets the targets for 2015.

It focuses on three major areas:

  • reducing the causes of accidents,
  • improving working conditions,
  • enhancing and managing industrial safety.

Training of Maxime Couvreur - GRTgaz Northeast Region - Boulogne sur Mer zone (62).

It also provides for consolidation of management systems. A number of levers aimed at disseminating a proactive health & safety culture that will be shared across the Group have been identified. The members of the health & safety sector, both in France and internationally, have carried out 41 audits of management systems in order to evaluate their level of maturity and compliance with the Group’s requirements. These audits were conducted in parallel with an external certification program for the Group subsidiaries, which was particularly active in 2010. Management reviews were also extended to the business lines and business units in 2010. They produced a comprehensive assessment of measures implemented and set projections for the years ahead.

Finally, a dedicated tool, Assistance and Development for Management Ambitions (ADAM) was developed in 2010. It enables self-assessment of the effectiveness of management tools put in place by Management Committees for achieving stated objectives. Created internally, ADAM was recognized by the European Foundation for Quality.

Increased responsibility for managers

Improving Group Health & Safety performance requires first of all greater responsibility to be placed on managers. They have the feedback data on accident risks, which allow them to improve their prevention measures for the long-term. These are supplemented by managerial best practice information about well-being at work, to promote a shared health & safety culture across all players in the Group. The measure also includes H&S inspections by management, giving managers the opportunity to verify on the ground that H&S principles are known and properly understood by everyone and that the actions implemented satisfy H&S requirements.

Training is also a key priority. This is why special efforts have been made to provide Quality Safety Environment (QSE) training, representing nearly 30% of total training hours. For its managers, GDF SUEZ University set up modules to provide a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of managing industrial and workplace health & safety. Human and organizational factors were also taken into account. A special module specifically aimed at health & safety professionals completes this measure. In 2010, a total of more than 1,251 managers were trained, 50% in France and 50% internationally. Lastly, the health & safety results were incorporated as a criteria in the variable portion of managers’ compensation, accounting for at least 10%.

Communication to all Group employees

Developing a true health & safety culture in the Group also depends on appropriate communication. This is why a magazine dedicated to these challenges is regularly sent to all GDF SUEZ employees. Entitled “Reflex,” it is published in 240,000 copies and translated into eight languages in order to relay to all the appropriate measures to take to prevent accidents and the behaviors to adopt on a daily basis. Discussions among experts are also promoted in skills clubs, the “Prevention News” newsletter, the intranet and annual H&S conferences within the Group and business lines.

A library of Health & Safety best practice fact sheets

The power generation and desalination plant Barka 2 in Oman.

One of the three challenges of the health & safety policy is to promote quality of life in the workplace. Therefore, one of the objectives in the Group’s action plan is to carry out a diagnosis and implement an action plan covering psychosocial risks, muscular-skeletal disorders, and addictions in all Group entities.

In order to give the players on the ground sound room for improvement, the Group’s Human Resources Department and the Health & Safety and Management System Department have researched the best practices inside and outside the Group, in collaboration with the ESSEC, Master Management and Human Resources promotion program. Some 145 Human Resource managers, prevention experts or directors from all entities and nine European countries were interviewed and shared their experiences of psychosocial risks and quality of life in the workplace. They also explained the practices implemented in their own entities. Similarly, meetings were organized with 53 companies, institutions and public prevention agencies in France and Quebec.

All these testimonials featured in a report, issued in July 2010, which allowed the best practices to be selected based on effectiveness criteria. These best practices were published in fact sheets, circulated over the Group’s Health & Safety intranet along with a library aimed at providing prevention experts and managers with specific tools and associated key success factors. This is supplemented as and when appropriate by practical experience in the field. These best practices will also allow the Group’s companies in France to provide guidelines for implementing the “Accord for the Prevention of Psychosocial Risks through Quality of Life in the Workplace,” signed in February 2010.

A constructive dialogue with stakeholders

In 2010, dialogue continued with employee representatives and union organizations on health & safety at the local, Group and business line levels. The Health & Safety Steering Committee monitored the results and the rollout of the Group agreement, analyzed the causes of serious accidents and the prevention actions put in place, and provided recommendations regarding the Group’s changing guidelines.

A France Group accord on psychosocial risks

Gérard Mestrallet, Chairman-CEO of GDF SUEZ on a visit to the Gournay-sur-Aronde underground storage site.

Well-being at work is one of the key challenges of the Health & Safety policy. In February 2010, the Group and union organizations across France, signed an agreement defining a frame of reference for the entire Group in France to successfully implement an initiative to prevent psychosocial risks and stress in the workplace by improving the quality of life at work. The six themes identified by the National Agency for Improvement in Workplace Conditions – ANACT – were adopted in this agreement: social relations, content of work, physical working environment, organization of work, possibility of achievement and professional development, and work/life balance. The unions and institutions representing the employees will be involved in implementing preventive and corrective measures.

As part of this, for example, all business units in the Energy Services entity (Cofely and Fabricom in Belgium, Tracetebel Engineering, Cofely in France and Ineo) put in place a health & safety booklet and a special toll-free number aimed at preventing psychosocial risks.