Our commitment to health and safety supports the company's people-centred culture, which helps attract employees and reduce staff turnover. Providing a safe and healthy working environment for employees is an integral part of our social responsibility.
Since 2010 the Novo Nordisk Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Management System has covered research and development and production facilities globally as well as headquarters operations. Implementation of the OH&S management system in our sales organisation will be completed by the end of 2013.
Global OH&S standards have been developed on relevant OH&S aspects. Further work will be conducted in the years to come to ensure social responsibility and the continuous improvement of working conditions.
Elements of a healthy workplace include the physical environment as well as the measures taken to prevent occupational injuries. Psychological factors such as job security and employability, management practices, non-discrimination, empowerment and development opportunities also contribute to a healthy working environment.
In accordance with Danish legislation, companies that are contracted as suppliers to Novo Nordisk are required to keep records for their employees, and while occupational accidents affecting contractors while at our premises are reported to us, they are not part of our data records, but rather those of the contractor.
In order to work for Novo Nordisk, construction contractors are required to undergo regular inspections, have extensive safety training in place, investigate all work-related injuries and submit plans to avoid future injuries.
Absence and occupational injuries
Preventive and corrective actions taken in connection with occupational accidents and near misses are reported, processed and documented in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Management System.
In recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses, Novo Nordisk follows the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Code of Practice as well as local legislation. Novo Nordisk has adopted the ILO Protocol of 2002 to the Occupational Safety and Health Convention 1981.
In 2011, a sales representative in Bangladesh regrettably died in a car accident. Prior to this tragic accident Novo Nordisk had not had any fatal occupational injuries since 2004. With thousands of employees on the roads around the world, traffic safety is important to us. This is also why we introduced a new global company car guideline in 2011 that includes the stipulation that company cars must have above-average safety ratings using regional benchmarks.
The rate of absence decreased in 2011 to 2.3% from 2.5% in 2010. The decrease is particularly due to a significant reduction in the number of occupational accidents with absence. In 2011 the number of occupational accidents was more than 25% lower than in 2010. This development also impacts the frequency of occupational injuries, which also decreased significantly from 4.9 in 2010 to 3.4 in 2011. The decrease is due to a continuous focus on the occupational health and safety at Novo Nordisk.
The frequency of occupational injuries is calculated based on the number of injuries reported for all employees per million working hours, excluding externals, employees on unpaid leave, interns, bachelor and master thesis employees and substitutes. An occupational injury is any work-related injury causing at least one day of absence in addition to the day of the injury.
One global management system
Traditionally, the company's OH&S practices have been based on local standards and practices related to local legislation. As the business expands, with new employees working and residing outside Denmark, there is a greater need to have one uniform global OH&S management system.
Instead of having a system structured around different local laws, Novo Nordisk is working on establishing global governance on OH&S by developing global OH&S standards and processes and improving data collection to monitor global OH&S performance.
By 2011, the OH&S management system based on OHSAS 18001 includes all research and development and production facilities globally and headquarters operations. The plan calls for all Regions to have implemented the OH&S management system by end 2013. In addition, the production facilities including support functions have chosen to obtain an OHSAS 18001 certificate, meaning that Bureau Veritas Certification is conducting external OH&S audits on regular basis.
Novo Nordisk health and safety award
To encourage continued focus and motivate additional efforts on occupational health and safety, a Novo Nordisk Occupational Health & Safety Award is given each year.
In 2011, the Purification Plant in Kalundborg, Denmark, won the Novo Nordisk Occupational Health and Safety Award for 2010. The winner project significantly reduces the number of glove types employees have to choose from when handling chemicals. This means that 38 gloves have been reduced to seven, which has eliminated uncertainty over which gloves to use for what and subsequent risk of using the wrong equipment for a job.
Internal and external audits
During 2011, internal OH&S audits have been performed in the parts of the organisation where the OH&S management system is implemented. Generally the overall performance is of a high standard. A few non-conformities were identified, which set in motion preventive and corrective actions as well as other improvements.
In Denmark, the Working Environment Authority has issued two improvement notices during inspections in 2011, resulting in immediate corrective actions.
Annual management review
The OH&S management system is reviewed and the OH&S performance evaluated on an annual basis by management. This includes an annual management review of the OH&S management system and an evaluation of the OH&S performance.
The conclusion from this year's review is that the OH&S management system is adequate and that the overall performance - in the parts of Novo Nordisk covered by the system – generally is of a high standard.