The Zero Accidents Network in the Netherlands

Why a zero accidents network in the Netherlands?

  • Increasingly companies feel their identity and reputation do not allow for accidents
  • Zero is the only ethically sustainable goal for safety and health
  • Vision zero creates the conditions for excellent safety management
  • The Finnish Zero Accident Forum has proven to be successful and inspiring
  • Zero Accidents is not the only ‘zero’ goal in industrial practice; Other well-known examples include zero defects, lean (zero economic waste); for organisations, zero accidents is a valuable member of the familiy of ‘zero’ business  goals

Zero accidents: a commitment strategy

When it is felt that the identity of the company does not allow for accidents, the continuous challenge is the pursuit of ‘goal zero’.  Motivation may increase over time thanks to successes achieved  and communicated

The more traditional risk management approach on is often restricted in its impact by limited management commitment. When safety and health focus on ‘solving problems’ the motivation to tackle new problems will almost by definition decrease when the major problems are solved.

We see ‘zero accidents’ therefore as a commitment strategy wherein safety leadership, safety culture and safety communication and safety learning are key.

The Zero Accident Network in the Netherlands

The idea from a zero accidents network was inspired by the Finnish example; click here

After some explorative activities the idea was proposed to the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. With a start subsidy, they made it possible to start in 2012.

Now (October 2013) the network is in a stage that the network has defined its goals, principles and main activities, and also has developed its website.  This means we are now in a stage wherein participation is to some extend formalized, and social marketing of the network is becoming important.

Presently more than 40 companies are interested in participating. Many of them operate at the European and/or International level. Most companies are frontrunners with already good safety performance and the ambition to further improve their safety performance.

The commitment of our members

The participating organisations have made the following public statement, undersigned by the CEO or the highest manager of a business unit or production site.

We, …… <organisation>, state:

  1. We regard safety and health as in integral aspects of our business and our organizational identity.
  2. The aim of our company is zero accidents. We are convinced that all accidents can be prevented in our organisation, and we fully commit ourselves to that challenge.
  3. The pursuit of zero accidents implies a professional work culture.
  4. We see the added value of sharing inspiration, experiences and best practices on occupational and industrial safety with other participants of the network (also across sectors).
  5. We commit ourselves to the improvement of safety, in cooperation with our employees, partners and suppliers.
  6. We commit ourselves to share information on good practices from our organization, that can contribute to the realization of the ambition to achieve zero accidents within the network.

The first two statements address ‘vision zero’  and its importance for the organization as a whole.

The third and fourth statement refer to the added value of the zero accident network for the participating organisations.

The last two statements clarify that the commitment implies the need for actions, both in the organization and in the network.

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