Lafarge announces the launch of "Safety Month", which will take place during the month of June at all of the Group's 3,000 sites worldwide. In the 76 countries where Lafarge is present, at every site, one or more days will be devoted to safety awareness programs and training, for the Group's employees, as well as their families, subcontractors and local communities.
In January 2006, Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO of Lafarge singled out safety as an absolute priority for all employees, considering that it was the best way of expressing the Group's values and an essential condition for operational excellence. Lafarge is already one of the safest companies in its sector, but in 2006, Bruno Lafont set an objective for the Group to become one of the world's leading industrial groups in terms of health and safety, with the ambition of achieving zero accidents as quickly as possible.
Following an audit carried out with the Dupont "Safety Resources" unit to make a diagnosis of the situation, based on questionnaires, interviews and an assessment of representative sites, the Group defined the outlines of an ambitious roadmap aimed at halving the number of lost time incidents between 2005 and 2008, and achieving zero accidents in the longer term.
The measures taken by Lafarge as part of this roadmap have started to yield results: the lost time injury frequency rate has been almost halved since 2005, reaching 1.66* at the end of 2007, a year earlier than the initial objective.
The roadmap put into place by Lafarge covers all aspects of performance in terms of health and safety:
- Creation of a dedicated organization, reporting to top management
A Group health and safety department has been set up, headed up by one of the Group's top 25 managers. The Group Health and Safety Director reports directly to the Chairman and CEO and the department supervises and coordinates the activities of health and safety managers throughout the Group's business units, who themselves report to the highest managerial level within their units.
- Development of Group standards, deployed worldwide
In 2006, Lafarge launched a new safety policy, which every one of the Group's 90,000 employees has signed, representing their commitment to the approach. The audit carried out in 2006 identified four situations in the Group's activities which require a specific approach: working at height, power insulation tasks, access to confined spaces and use of mobile equipment. Standards have been defined and deployed for each of these operations in all units worldwide, enabling each site to ensure that the accident prevention rules are implemented.
- Leadership and empowerment of managers
Safety has become a key career management criterion within the Group. The Group's 400 top managers have undergone a training program on the role and importance of leadership on the issue of safety. Furthermore, the results and state of progress of the health and safety roadmap are part of the annual performance and bonus criteria applicable to all operational managers.
- Stronger efforts to raise awareness among employees
To raise awareness among employees that safety is a crucial challenge on a daily basis and to involve them in ongoing efforts to improve safety performance, training programs have been set up at each site, for both employees and subcontractors.
Lafarge has also decided to hold an annual "Safety Month", which will be held this year in June, at all of the Group's 3,000 sites. During the month, each site will organize events, open days, sessions to raise awareness and communication campaigns on the theme of health and safety, with the Group's support. All employees, but also their families, subcontractors and the local communities living near the Group's sites, will take part, in order to involve as many people as possible.
- Developing the sharing of best practice among business units
To create internal momentum and encourage business units to adopt best practices already developed elsewhere in the Group, Lafarge has set up a "Safety Excellence Club" to reward performance at the best business units. Those units which have achieved a high level of performance in terms of safety are eligible to join. These units are awarded a label enabling them to promote their results in terms of safety, comprising a wide variety of communications materials.
* Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate = number of accidents leading to loss of time, by million hours worked.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Lafarge is the world leader in building materials, with top-ranking positions in all of its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete and Gypsum. With 90,000 employees in 76 countries, Lafarge posted sales of Euros 17.6 billion and net income of Euros 1.9 billion in 2007.
Lafarge is the only company in the construction materials sector to be listed in the 2008 ‘100 Global Most Sustainable Corporations in the World'. Lafarge has been committed to sustainable development for many years, pursuing a strategy that combines industrial know-how with performance, value creation, respect for employees and local cultures, environmental protection and the conservation of natural resources and energy. To make advances in building materials, Lafarge places the customer at the heart of its concerns. It offers the construction industry and the general public innovative solutions bringing greater safety, comfort and quality to their everyday surroundings.