Occupational health and safety is one of the core values of our Group and therefore a fundamental element of our work processes. Our declared aim is zero harm. With effective preventive measures, we intend to reduce the risk of accidents, incidents, and ill health.

The health and well-being of our employees, our contractors, and the people in our local communities are at the heart of our actions. We believe that work- related accidents, occupational diseases, and ill health are generally preventable and that providing a safe working environment is important for maintaining good health and well-being at Heidelberg Materials. Our principles for protecting our own employees as well as those of companies contracted by us, and those of third parties, are specified in our Group policy on occupational health and safety. It is also important for us to have a good working relationship with the employee representatives, and this is also laid down in the Group policy. They represent over 97% of our employees.

Although the management of Heidelberg Materials has overall responsibility for ensuring that our working environments are safe, every employee and contractor is responsible and accountable for working safely, complying with all health and safety rules, standards, and procedures, and reporting safety hazards or unsafe work practices.

Occupational safety at our locations

We work hard to minimise and prevent risks for our employees, customers, suppliers, and other third parties. To this end, we carry out regular risk assessments at our locations so that we can evaluate risks and take appropriate protective measures. Based on the results of these risk assessments, we have introduced and continuously updated various Group-wide safety standards in recent years in order to address activities with particularly high risks. These standards are translated into local measures at our locations. As part of workplace inspections, we check compliance with these internal standards as well as with other legally mandated external requirements. Any shortcomings are identified and actions put in place to quickly rectify any issues.

All our measures give due consideration not only to our own employees but also to the employees of external companies. They work for us in areas such as production, maintenance and repair, transport, other services, and consulting. We have therefore addressed the issue of contractor safety with a separate Group standard that outlines the minimum health and safety requirements to which contractors must adhere and actions we need to take to ensure our contractors’ employees receive appropriate health and safety information when they arrive at our workplaces.

Safety in relation to transport is another key concern, as traffic accidents have unfortunately repeatedly led to uninvolved third parties sustaining injuries or even losing their lives. We address this issue in training courses for our own drivers and those who drive on our behalf. The driver training courses aim to raise drivers’ safety awareness so that they can identify and reduce potential risks at an early stage. This training in defensive driving is not only theory-based; it is also increasingly delivered using driving simulators, at driving safety centres, or through supervised driving. In addition, we are making greater use of technical aids. As well as fitting vehicles with various assistance systems and using such systems, examples of this approach also include checking the roadworthiness of third-party vehicles before loading.

Improving mental health

In addition to the measures outlined above for the prevention of accidents and standard occupational diseases, Heidelberg Materials recognises the importance of good mental health and resilience in our workforce. We offer employee assistance schemes and awareness programmes for our managers and train mental health first-aiders.

The aim of the measures is to dispel prejudices and encourage those affected to talk about their problems and seek help. In recognition of the sensitivity of the topic and to make it easier for those affected to access appropriate services, many of our subsidiaries offer external support programmes that provide help anonymously and free of charge. Countries in which such programmes are available include Germany, the UK, Belgium, Canada, the USA, and Australia.