Hydro's extrusion plant in Austria has won one of the top prizes in the European Aluminium Association's safety solution competition.
Eirik Nordheim, who is the EAA's director for Environment, Health and Safety, says "the safety solutions we reward need not be very expensive or complex ... the prime objective is to share the best practices in the industry. And clearly, as shown by some of this year's laureates, simple things can really achieve great results."
The innovative idea from Hydro's Nenzing plant, which won second place in the EAA's competition, was to develop and implement, in collaboration with the Institute for Social Services in Vorarlberg, a "psychological help desk" for all employees and their dependents.
"We wanted to open their minds to take use of professional help in crisis situations," says HSE manager Gerhard Salzmann.
The cost of implementing the program was about €2000. Managing director Gerold Trommelschläger calls this an investment in Nenzing's employees, and good sense.
"It is our social responsibility to do what we can to have the best employees," he says. "And if we have the best employees, we have to be the best company."
Aluminium plaque to winners
The EAA's Safety and Health Workshop program committee selected the winners. Alcoa's San Ciprian alumina refinery in Spain, which captured the 2007 competition, took both first place and third place in this year's contest.
Each of the winners will be sent a small aluminium plaque.
The EAA holds the competition every second year.