Overcoming Covid-19 together
The coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world since the end of 2019 caught us all off guard. Ever since, our day-to-day lives have been dominated by lockdowns, working from home and the latest statistics on incidence rates and vaccinations. Wearing face coverings is part of our daily routine, as is disinfecting our hands and maintaining social distancing. The global coronavirus pandemic requires all of us to rapidly adjust to entirely new situations constantly. We will be grappling with the various consequences of the pandemic for a long time to come, both as a society and individually. Yet we can already say with certainty that Covid-19 has increased the spotlight on health, including and in particular in and for companies – and rightly so. After years of improvements to global healthcare – think about rising life expectancy and the new things medicine can do – the pandemic has reminded us that nothing is more important than our own health and the health of our fellow human beings. Naturally, protecting our employees takes top priority during the pandemic. We have done everything within our power to avoid infections at work as far as possible. With numerous safety and hygiene precautions and increased remote working, we believe this has also been very successful.
At the same time, we are aware that the official end of the pandemic will not put a stop to its many negative consequences – such as long-term psychological stress, stress and existential fears – overnight. We will remain very alert to this even after the pandemic, which we hope is not too far off, and attempt to meet our responsibilities for Greiner employees affected by this as best we can.
The pandemic has hit the world in waves and to varying degrees of severity. Many of the measures we took were specific to the local area, taking into account the situation on the ground. Our home is in Austria, with almost 3,000 employees. This is where the heart of our company beats, where almost a quarter of our employees are located. In light of this, we opened a test center offering rapid antigen tests on the company premises in Kremsmünster as part of our regular, simple and free Covid-19 testing strategy.
In order to tackle Covid-19 as effectively as possible in the medium and long term, Greiner is also an active member of the “Österreich impft” (Austria Vaccinates) initiative. As part of the #jederstichzählt (#everyjabcounts) campaign, we want to open up the only sustainable way out of the pandemic to our employees as quickly as possible and offer vaccinations at work as soon as there is sufficient supply nationwide. To better implement this initiative, we appointed an internal company vaccination coordinator and other members of staff and, most importantly, created the scope for all employees in Austria to be vaccinated at our group headquarters wherever possible. Until there are enough vaccines for everyone, we must remain vigilant and ensure clarity. Webinars with our company physicians, followed by Q&A sessions, ensure high-quality information is provided on vaccination and related doubts.
Solidarity at Greiner through face coverings
When there was an acute shortage of face masks at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, NEVEON employees at the Nýrsko (Czech Republic) production site showed initiative and, together with their management team, quickly switched production to manufacturing protective masks. The material – which was actually intended for curtains – and all of the components needed such as rubber bands and thread were purchased from a long-standing supplier. Within a very short period of time, employees in the sewing room produced thousands of face masks and provided these to their colleagues every day. Production surplus was used to supply other nearby businesses and organizations, including two hospitals in the region and the Nýrsko city administration itself. This rapid response significantly improved the safety of own employees and many others.
The impact of the pandemic strengthens our resolve to continue the path of preventative healthcare and proactive workplace safety that we had taken long before Covid-19. Because one thing is clear: we can achieve ambitious company targets only with well trained, motivated and above all healthy employees working in a safe environment.
To integrate the importance of physical and mental wellbeing among Greiner staff into our sustainability strategy in structural terms, we have dedicated the third pillar of Blue Plan to people and everything this encompasses. The health measures here are substantial. We consider ourselves responsible for our employees and give top priority to ensuring compliance with the valid statutory provisions and occupational safety provisions. Greiner’s self-image includes guaranteeing safe operating facilities, work machinery and production processes in all of our divisions, at all sites and regardless where in the value chain these are located. Our goal is to provide people with an optimal work environment where they can achieve optimal performance without risking their mental or physical health or coming to any harm at work.
Employees at our sites who are specifically tasked with occupational safety and health protection, combined with analyses of regularly collected key indicators on occupational safety, allow us to identify potential accident and health risks at our workplaces at an early stage and take action to prevent accidents and improve workplace conditions. We see a safe workplace, which does not make our staff ill, as being a basic right of our employees. By the end of 2020, we had reinforced this basic right at four sites by introducing a certificated management system for occupational safety and health protection.
In the medium term, we intend to introduce a management system for occupational safety and health protection at all production sites and to have this certified according to ISO 45001. This international standard sets out the criteria for an occupational safety management system that helps the company avoid work accidents, work-related injuries and ill health at its business and generally protect employees’ health at work.