We insist on a safe and healthy working environment for each and every employee, no matter where in the organization he/she works.
(From Novo Nordisk's Health and Safety Policy)
International Working Environment Data
1995 Target: Establishment and specification of a database for monitoring working environment data worldwide.
The database to monitor international working environment data is still being established. We expect it to be fully implemented by mid-1996. The data compilation rules have now been made so uniform that data for different countries can be compared. This year we can, therefore, begin to report occupational injuries data from our production areas abroad (table 10). The targets for occupational injuries and occupational diseases set in last year's environmental report still apply only to the Danish part of the organization.
Occupational injuries are personal injuries arising as
a consequence of sudden events of external origin, such as falls, injuries, burns, corrosive burns or poisoning. The occupational injuries we have registered have all involved one or more days of absence.
1995–97 Target: A further 15% reduction in occupational injuries over a three-year period against the 1994 baseline.
The number of occupational injuries in Denmark has increased from 132 cases in 1994 to 139 in 1995. The occupational injury frequency per million working hours is still 10.8, however (see fig. 4). To achieve the target of a 15% reduction in the number of occupational injuries before the end of 1997, we will intensify our efforts during the next two years. A system to assess workplace risks and plan changes is therefore being developed and will be initiated in mid-1996.
Around half of the total number of occupational injuries in Denmark are due to incorrect use of tools, while 40% are due to falls, sprains or blows. The last 10% are due to burns, corrosive burns or poisoning. Only a few have resulted in transfer of employees to other work.
Based on the uniform reporting basis, as from 1997 we will set targets to minimize the total number of occupational injuries for Novo Nordisk on a global basis.
Fig. 4. Occupational Injuries and Occupational Diseases per Million Working Hours in Denmark 1991-1995
Occupational diseases are disorders arising due to working conditions or as a consequence of the actual work.
1995 Target: A decrease of incidence of occupational diseases.
We have not achieved this target. As Table 9 shows the total number of reported occupational diseases in 1995 is by and large unchanged from 1994. Most of the reported cases are illness due to monotonous, repetitive work, eczema, or allergies as a consequence of working with animals or enzymes. The allergy frequency was unchanged in 1995. The number of cases of illness due to monotonous, repetitive work has increased, while the number of eczema cases was halved. We will continue to make an effort to reduce the number of all occupational diseases, including those caused by monotonous, repetitive work.
Monotonous, Repetitive Work
Monotonous, repetitive work is physical work with little variation where the same movements are repeated for a long period, with a consequential risk of damage to health.
It is Novo Nordisk's policy that no employee may be engaged in monotonous, repetitive work to an extent and of a nature which can damage that employee's health. Should such work occur in a department, the department shall be responsible for investigating, assessing and removing its causes.
1996–97 Target: Undertake an investigation of monotonous, repetitive work at Novo Nordisk in Denmark before mid-1997.
Tooth Enamel Survey
The project to investigate a possible correlation between the working environment and the tooth enamel damage observed among some Novo Nordisk employees is progressing according to plan. The investigation's final conclusion is expected to be published at the end of 1996. The employees concerned are not included in the statistics for occupational diseases presented in Table 9.
Absence on Grounds of Illness
The rate of absence on grounds of illness varies considerably in the different departments of Novo Nordisk and is high in some areas. On the basis of an analysis of the grounds for the significant variation in absence due to illness we have designed a tool to analyze the reasons, as well as guidelines for group and individual interviews in the departments.
In 1995 Corporate Management adopted a non-smoking policy for the Danish element of the organization. This policy will lead to Novo Nordisk becoming a workplace where no employee will be inconvenienced by smoke in his or her everyday work. This policy means that:
- Smoking is banned at all shared workplaces.
- Canteen tables are marked as smoking and non-smoking areas.
- Rest rooms are established for both smokers and non-smokers, and where this is not possible fixed smoking breaks will be introduced.