Author/Autor: German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Raw Materials and Chemical Industry / Berufsgenossenschaft Rohstoffe und chemische Industrie (BG RCI), Heidelberg
In 2020, the jury members of the VISION ZERO promotion award of the German Social Accident Insurance Institution for the Raw Materials and Chemical Industry (BG RCI), Heidelberg/Germany, were once again spoilt for choice as they sought to select the best ideas for more safety at work from among the almost 200 entries. Five companies finally emerged as the winners: Poly-Sel® Technische Kunststoffe GmbH & Co. KG, Stadtlohn (category Safety Technology), Raumausstattermeister Harald Gerjets, Aurich (category Small and Midsize Enterprises), himolla Polstermöbel GmbH, Taufkirchen/Vils (category Health Protection), Gesellschaft zur Aufbereitung von Baustoffen mbH, Emstek (category Organisation) and BASF Digital Solutions GmbH, Ludwigshafen (category Vocational Trainees).
Each of the awards has an endowment of 10,000 €. In addition, there are ten special awards. The award is personal and goes directly to the innovative minds in the companies. Since 1997, about 14,000 people from 4,200 companies have competed for the awards by contributing 7,000 ideas.
Thomas Köhler, Chief Executive of BG RCI, was impressed by the ingenuity of the member companies: “Our working world needs creative people like the award winners who don’t take things for granted or accept them as unchangeable, but recognise opportunities for more safety and health and act accordingly.” The award winners have made a significant contribution to the successful implementation of the prevention strategy “VISION ZERO. Zero Accidents – Healthy Work!” Their objective is to ensure that no one is injured or killed on the job.
The customary award ceremony in a festive setting was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The awards were presented directly in the companies.
Brief presentation of the award-winning ideas
- The promotion award in the safety technology category went to Poly-Sel® Technische Kunststoffe GmbH & Co. KG in Stadtlohn. Three employees developed a device that enhances safety when working with panel saws by securing round and wedge- and cone-shaped workpieces that can come loose during sawing and cause serious injuries.
- The promotion award in the small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) category was awarded to Harald Gerjets from Aurich. In cooperation with a trailer manufacturer, the master interior decorator developed a trailer that can be used for the safe transport of even long and heavy awnings. The trailer features integrated transport aids that reduce transport damage as well as the usual load stress when transporting awnings.
- In many companies that manufacture or refurbish upholstered furniture, spray guns used for the application of adhesives are cleaned in open solvent baths. The solvent fumes are a risk to users’ health. Employees of himolla Polstermöbel GmbH, Taufkirchen/Vils, found that adhesive residue does not cling to spray guns and later harden if the guns are dipped in commercially available hand cleaning agents beforehand.
- The Gesellschaft zur Aufbereitung von Baustoffen mbH in Emstek has declared war on chaotic piles of notes. One of their employees developed an app that electronically documents safety inspections of equipment on mobile construction sites. The traditional method utilises documents with carbon copies, a procedure that entails disproportionately higher expenditures of administrative and processing effort. Moreover, the app features an option for the storage of photos and additional notes. This clever and modern idea was deemed worthy of the promotion award in the category Organisation.
- The apprentices at BASF Digital Solutions GmbH, Ludwigshafen, took a close look at the security risk posed by so-called “smombies”. “Smombie” is a neologism combining “smartphone” and “zombie” used to described pedestrians whose fixation on their mobile phone makes them oblivious to their surroundings. Walking through the course – once with and once without distractions – sensitises the participants to this safety issue (Figure 1).