Safety counts in construction

Published 5 November 2019
Stora Enso organizes the first company-wide safety week 4 to 10 November 2019. The theme of the week, ‘Working together for safety’, emphasizes the importance of cooperation within the company, suppliers and customers alike.

A construction site is a puzzle in which all parts must be planned well in advance to fit together in time and in a safe manner. In terms of safety, selecting wood as the construction material is an important factor.

We talked about safety in construction with Johannes Rebhahn, Head of International Timber Projects at Wiehag GmbH, a company specialized in wooden construction projects all over the world and Stora Enso Wood Products customer.

Safety starts in the planning phase

“Safety is an important topic for our company. It is a big issue not only for our own board of management and owners but it’s also requirement for the construction companies these days. And safety does not only mean the company itself but also the construction site,” explains Johannes Rebhahn.

“Safety starts already in the planning phase of a construction project. We need to plan and schedule each phase of the project carefully. It is important to have all equipment and materials on the site in time. This is the best way to guarantee efficient and safe working conditions. We always prepare a manual for each site – agreed on with the construction company in advance – to ensure that every action is conducted accordingly and safely. This is called Risk Assessment Method Statement, RAMS.“

 LVL construction wood products

Wood for safety

Every day at a Wiehag construction site includes a safety toolbox talk according to the company’s own Health and Safety Policy. External safety audits are completed every second week and controls in regard to the local Health and Safety standards.

“The biggest risk in each construction site is related to falling down from height. There’s always a risk of fatality and we do our uttermost to avoid all falling accidents,” Johannes Rebhahn emphasizes.

In terms of safety, the choice of construction material plays also a role: “When building with wood, we need less heavy and sharp machinery such as buzz saws at the site. Sound levels are significantly lower and the great possibilities for pre-cutting the elements in industrial surroundings significantly reduces the work at the site,“ Johannes Rebhahn states.

Stora Enso has been persistently aiming towards the ultimate goal of zero accidents. “When we started the cooperation, we soon found out that we share similar values in safety. As all parts of the project are planned in advance, we also want to count on safety in all steps.“