Safety, health and wellbeing

Occupational health and safety is viewed as an important material issue, both by the Volvo Group and our external stakeholders.

We believe that increased employee wellbeing leads to raised productivity, reduced costs and increased competitiveness. We therefore strive to eradicate workplace risks and promote a safety culture by taking a holistic approach to workplace safety, health and wellbeing. This is part of the Volvo Group strategy.

In accordance with the Volvo Group’s Code of Conduct, all employees have the right to a safe and healthy working environment and should have access to information, support and other tools to reduce or eradicate health risks associated with work, lifestyle or emotional stress.

Managers at all levels share the responsibility of ensuring safety. Managers are responsible for adherence to Volvo Group safety policy and precautions, national requirements and regulations.

The Volvo Group’s global health and wellbeing programs cover various initiatives including medical examinations, rehabilitation support, ergonomics, and health promotion programs such as smoking cessation activities. These programs and activities sometimes extend to the employees’ family members.

Management systems

The Volvo Production System provides tools including occupational risk assessment, indicators for measuring health and safety, and methodology for ergonomic workplace assessment.

OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Scheme) is an international standard for processes that control and improve company workplace safety and health performance. In 2013, 37 percent of our production sites were certified to the standard.

Improved approach

The Volvo Group has a global presence through different companies, brands and joint ventures. Over the past decade, we have grown significantly through mergers and acquisitions in different countries at different levels of maturity. This has resulted in various ways of working and reporting on health and safety across our Group.

In order to create a more structured and harmonized approach to health and safety across the Volvo Group, a new Group function for safety, health and wellbeing was established in December 2012. The future direction is to strengthen the Volvo Group health and safety focus, to enable and stimulate global health and safety collaboration, and to establish our position as the industry benchmark in health and safety.

Human resource data

Employees are responsible for reporting all work-related accidents and incidents to enable the investigation and identification of the root causes so that immediate corrective action can be taken. Depending on the conditions, a detailed analysis of the incident may conclude in specific long-term measures.

Regrettably, one fatal accident occurred at one of our plants in Bangalore, India, in 2013. Immediate measures have since been taken to review risk evaluation and visual management, and to update employee training.

Data relating to absence due to illness is collected on a country level, based on national legislation. The difference in definitions and national reporting requirements currently makes it difficult to aggregate the information on a corporate level. We are, however, able to calculate a lost time accident rate (LTAR) covering 40 percent of our employees and 70 percent of our plants. We achieved a LTAR of two for 2013.*

* The LTAR is calculated as the number of accidents with lost time multiplied by 200,000 divided by the number of hours worked.

The 2013 employee survey, which had a very high participation rate of 93 percent, shows a positive trend on most items related to safety, health and wellbeing.

 % of positive answers Volvo
High performing
company norm
My business entity is committed to workplace safety  85  85  84  89  83
My business entity promotes  activities and choices that improve employee health and wellbeing  72  71  68  n/a  n/a
I am satisfied with the physical environment at my business entity  70  69  69  74  67
My business entity is flexible, allowing me to balance work and home life  74  73  71  81  72

Ergonomic improvements

In 2013, the Volvo Group launched a new range of Renault trucks where the production line had been carefully analyzed and redesigned to reduce posture issues for assembly workers.

Ergonomic improvements on assembly lines for new Renault trucks have transformed 50% of workstations that previously had an average ‘high’ and ‘heavy’ ergonomic quotation to the lowest level.

More than 50 percent of workstations that previously had an average ‘high’ and ‘heavy’ ergonomic quotation have been transformed to ‘green’ – the lowest level. This breakthrough has been made possible by the integration of ergonomic requirements in the early phases of the design of the truck.

Health and wellbeing examples

Our award-winning stress prevention program includes management training, risk evaluation, identification of employees needing support and immediate help, as well as work on underlying causes. Actions taken have led to consistent improvement over time. For example, the program has helped to reduce stress levels in France from 33 to 27 percent of the workforce.

Health coaches are Volvo Group employees who volunteer to help colleagues improve their physical and mental health and wellbeing. We  have 93 in Sweden.

In Sweden, the Volvo Group employees can volunteer to act as health coaches, allocating part of their time to support and encourage colleagues to adopt healthy behaviors. At the end of 2013, we had 93 health coaches, who arranged different activities relating to  physical training, nutrition, recovery, happiness and healthy mindset.