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Henk International- first in Germany with OHSAS 18001

Nov 17, 2014
Henk in Düsseldorf, Germany, has become the first company in the country to achieve OHSAS 18001, the Standard for Occupational Health and Safety.

According to the company’s managing director, Manuela Henk, it has the potential to save lives. “Process optimisation in occupational health and safety makes our business safer for both customers and staff," she said. “The moving industry is and always will be a sector where intense physical work cannot be replaced by technical means."

 

Manuela spent 44 weeks working with her team on a more effective way of safeguarding the health and safety of staff and on implementing the plan. She was assisted by Tom van den Berg from UniGroup Relocation Network (UGRN) in Weesp, the Netherlands, who is an expert in this field.

 

Henk International has over 80 employees and has been carrying out office and private moves for over 50 years, both within Germany and internationally. When carrying out the transport of household goods and office furniture, technical staff members are faced with various potential accident and risk situations. The company said that this certified self-commitment to actively protect health and safety will reduce occupational accidents and make processes run more efficiently.

 

The programme has provided documentation and special training increases safety awareness for the moving crews and they are taught to think ahead and pay attention to the correct technique when carrying out physical tasks. The training also makes them aware that the company cares about their well-being. The company said that it believes its safety systems benefit customers too as processes are efficient and reliable and staff well-prepared.

 

Henk International’s consultants now create risk and danger analyses for each move. Additional safety briefings provide better protection for technical staff and prepare them for any risks. Occupational accidents and sick leave have been reduced, and there has been a decrease in occupational illnesses, such as back problems caused by lifting.

 

The company has over 20 per cent of staff trained in first aid so that at least one first aider is present for each move. On a recent delivery in Düsseldorf, one of the crew members had a heart attack in the street. He fell to the ground and lost consciousness. His colleague noticed that he was no longer breathing and, as a first aider, immediately applied CPR. At the hospital he received an emergency operation and is now on the road to recovery. The first aider, Christian Brojek, has been with Henk International for seven years as a team leader for overseas moves.

 

With its newly developed occupational health and safety measures, Henk International has achieved two positive results: the staff are more aware of potential risks; and the company can cover a wider range of requirements from corporate customers. Those clients that require integrity and transparency from their suppliers can be sure that the services provided by Henk International are carried out using safety-first processes for people, equipment and the environment.

 

Photo – (left to right) Manuela Henk, Ludwig Henk, Tom van den Berg (Manager QHSE, UGRN International Head Office)

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