One balta for safety

The Board of Directors has stated that safety is the number one priority for Balta. To address health and safety throughout the business, in 2018 we established the ‘One Balta for Safety’ program in Belgium to deliver cultural shift and work towards our zero accidents goal. The ‘One Balta for Safety’ program was adopted by Bentley in the fourth quarter of 2019 and will be rolled-out in Turkey for 2020.

The ‘One Balta for Safety’  program’s aim is to pro-actively address the key risks found through our risk analysis and our thorough legal compliance audits of all departments and sites at Balta. Where we identified opportunities for improvement. It is these opportunities that are taken forward into ‘One Balta for Safety’.

The program is split into eight project teams,created to address the measurements made of our safety culture in 2017:

  • Project 1: Policy and ‘Golden Safety Rules’;
  • Project 2: Leadership and implementation of the policy;
  • Project 3: Implementation of the safety organisation;
  • Project 4: Communication: structure and plan;
  • Project 5: Risk and legal compliance management;
  • Project 6: Technical specifications and management of suppliers and contractors;
  • Project 7: Learning organisation;
  • Project 8: Safety performance and KPI’s.

Each project team contains a mix of different functions, with a sponsor from the Management Committee and a chairman from operational management. The sponsor is responsible for ensuring successful implementation of the team’s objectives across all sites and sets KPIs to monitor progress. It is the chairman’s role to put together the team and set the objectives and deliverables of the project, ensuring the project is effectively managed. The team is responsible for setting out the plan with the chairman, and implementing it in-line with the performance indicators established.

The efforts of each project team are assessed by the ‘One Balta for Safety’ steering committee. Taking overall responsibility for the program, ensuring it is compatible with the strategic direction of the company and making sure the resources for success are available, the committee demonstrates leadership in safety. The aim is to make sure safety is in the hearts and minds of all our people, including visitors and third parties, and that we deliver a change in attitude that along with our positive actions on reducing risk in the workplace helps to achieve our goal of zero accidents. 

As part of the work carried out through ‘One Balta for Safety’, we have implemented our five ‘Golden Safety Rules’ in 2019:

  • I stop, watch and think before I do
  • I keep my workplace clean and tidy
  • I wear my personal protective equipment
  • I follow our traffic rules and work instructions
  • I take care of my colleagues

Through these rules, we aim to reduce accidents in the workplace and considerable effort is placed on reinforcing these rules to our employees. Each quarter we undertake a campaign of toolbox meetings, flyers and posters to reinforce the message across the entire workforce. Daily safety talks with operators in production also consistently reinforce the ‘Golden Safety Rules’.

To drive forward sustained change in a positive attitude to safety on the production floor, we carry out regular management walks and talks and the CEO undertakes accident feedback meetings with managers and supervisors at all levels to ensure that a suitable response in reinforcement of the ‘Golden Safety Rules’ is delivered. Each department also has a safety coach, in total 68, who deliver training and coaching aimed at reducing potential accidents.

The communication team also works to the same goal, providing ‘Golden Safety Lessons’ once a quarter as well as communicating successes.

Along with a significant increase in the number of toolbox meetings and the introduction of daily safety talks with operators, safety is becoming embedded in the hearts and minds of our people.

It is the responsibility of project team 5 to ensure that we adhere to our legal requirements and to determine which group priorities most need addressing at each plant. In 2019, the top three priorities were identified for each plant and will be implemented in 2020. The team has also undertaken initiatives to ensure the well-being of Balta people:

  • Brand new work clothing and social areas were piloted in 2019 and are being rolling out to all Belgian plants in 2020
  • Training ergonomics started in all Belgian plants
  • Standardised traffic rules in production
  • SENSOR well-being survey carried out (see 2.5)
  • Risk-analysis of screen workers with personal feedback and overall coaching

To ensure we continue to deliver a culture of safety throughout the entire business, we take positive actions identified by the learning project team for all employees, visitors and contractors:

  • HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) welcome training for all employees
  • Recording required training, reporting and follow-up for each employee
  • Significant increase in toolbox meetings
  • Safety training for all visitors
  • HSE requirements for all contractors

Through the ‘One Balta for Safety’’ program, as well as our initiatives designed to inform and educate, we are confident that we can make significant progress in our goal to achieve zero accidents.


Reporting safety

To monitor our progress towards zero accidents we record every single accident at all of our plants, recording data on an individual plant basis, as well as at group level. This helps us to identify important actions at individual plants as well as key priorities for the group.

In 2019, we followed a stricter interpretation of the definition of an occupational accident according to a new Belgian law on the way accidents are recorded. This has caused incident rates to go up.

In previous years, we have reported all accidents and those over we have direct control, such as involving machine safety, mishandling equipment or being hit by an object were accepted. However, we now see that many accidents, such as slipping and tripping and movement of the body that are partially outside of our control and with no direct external cause, are also accepted. These accidents accounted for 58% of total accidents across the Balta group. As such, a portion of these types of accidents wouldn’t have been in the statistics before 2019, because of the fact they wouldn’t have been accepted.

After measuring the type of injuries occurring in 2018 we identified those on hands and feet as the most common. Throughout 2019 we have put in measures, including training, to reduce these injuries. We have recorded lower results for hand and feet injuries, demonstrating that a pro-active response to prevention delivers results.

Through the ‘One Balta for Safety’ program and pro-active response to the results of our reporting, we are confident that we will see a reduction in accident frequency and severity in 2020.


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