Safety: It's up to us

Safety: It's up to us
October 24, 2019


Jean-Claude Carlin, Group CEO, Knauf Insulation, has made safety his key priority.
‘I will not be satisfied until we achieve zero harm every day at every site. We all have to take responsibility for our safety.’


In 2010 Knauf Insulation set a target to reduce Lost Time Accidents (LTA) by 50% by 2020. This has been achieved and in 2018 our LTA figure was down to 48%. The next stage in our journey is to focus on learning how to change — and model — safe behaviour, says Jean-Claude Carlin, Group CEO, Knauf Insulation.


To what extent are you pleased with the reduction in LTAs?

I’m pleased we accomplished what we promised. But it’s not good enough. I will not be satisfied until we achieve zero harm every day at every site. We all have to take responsibility for our safety.

How will this be achieved?

More than 90% of accidents are behaviour related. It is critical that we all speak up if we see anyone acting in an unsafe way whether it is a friend at work or the boss. By challenging leaders and challenging ourselves to be better we change our culture and put safety first.

How can colleagues become better safety role models?

Telling someone to change their behaviour might seem like a challenge, but it is not. It shows care. Sometimes people don’t even know there is a better way to do something.

Even if there is an impact on production?

Absolutely. Safety cannot be compromised by a view that ‘output is king’. We must never forget that every accident has an impact on that person’s family, friends and community and on that person’s future.

What initiatives have been introduced to change behaviour?

Observation visits to sites by senior management have helped sharpen our focus on safety and our support for World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an opportunity to hold workshops, behaviour sessions, first aid courses and drills, but changing behaviour is critical. And that is why we introduced safety time-outs and issued Stop cards to everyone.


Why are these cards significant?

Each card states: ‘You have the responsibility and authority to stop unsafe actions.’ We are giving everyone permission to keep us safe. We have enough rules and processes. We need to look at the way we behave and the way we behave to others. We can do better. We all have a role to play. Of course. I want to come home safely to my family. Everyone wants to come home safely. Nothing is so important that it cannot be done safely.

Good practices:

Lock Out Tag Out (LOTO) at our Illange plant (see photo above). The procedure ensures machines are properly shut off and cannot be restarted during maintenance or repairs.



Knauf Insulation in the UK has signed the ‘Time to Change’ pledge — a social movement to tackle the stigma surrounding mental health issues at work. Mental health training has been delivered to all those with line management responsibility to create open ‘tea and talk’ environments to discuss mental health issues. We are also working with the mental health charity MIND to raise funds and awareness. In 2019, MIND was one of our two corporate charities in the UK. The other was CRASH, the construction industry charity.



“Starting with the finding that more risks don’t always lead to more accidents and more rules don’t drastically reduce accident numbers, we’ve found what we need is behaviour change,” says Philippe Coune, Group Environmental and Western Europe Regional HSE Manager.
“Working with the French National Centre for Scientific Research we have held workshops in Knauf Insulation Western Europe to look at the psychological aspects of decision processes that could lead to unsafe behaviour. We learnt about influencing positive behaviour, encouraging safer attitudes, community engagement and ‘nudging’ behaviour change. Our aim is not more rules, it’s people creating their own safe environment.”



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