Safety in a time of global crisis


Jean-Claude Carlin, Member of the Knauf Group Management Committee Insulation Europe/Middle East/Asia, discusses how we continue to stay As Safe As Home.

What impressed you about the company’s response to COVID-19?

People knew what to do and did it. Quickly. Our decentralised structure, teamwork and solidarity were a great combination. Across the world, our sites knew what to do even before it was discussed centrally. Safety and health were naturally top of every agenda and the execution was fast. This was largely thanks to all the work we have been doing to build a safety culture.

Teamwork was critical?

In moments of crisis — when the boat is facing a storm and people have to decide what to do to save that boat in just a quarter of a second — you see the power of a company’s culture. Our people responded quickly and naturally. And this is a tribute to our teamwork, training and agility which continues to be demonstrated today.

There have been record periods of time without a Lost Time Accidents.

Yes. On June 11, 2020, the entire company recorded a hundred days without an LTA and we continue to break safety records in the plants. There are still recordable safety incidents but we are on the right path and have made a significant difference to changing our safety culture.

April also saw the launch of the As Safe As Home campaign, why was this significant?

The message was clear. At home or at work, we needed to take a 24/7 approach to health and safety. And we still need to maintain this approach. There is no room for compromise when it comes to the care of our colleagues and our communities. As Safe As Home has been on-going. Of course, we need to be vigilant about DASH standards — distancing, circulating air, surface cleanliness and hygiene — because they save lives. We have  consistently updated our information posters, videos and messaging. For example, we had a campaign to remind everyone not to let standards slip on holiday.

Did plants have to close?

We stopped some plants but that was due to demand issues for a short time. The company continued to operate successfully, people turned up for work, we continued to trade well, but most importantly people took care of their health and safety. And continue to do so.

Safety has always been an important pillar for you.

Safety first has been my priority since joining the company in 2017. We have been pushing our safety message every day for the past four years and consistently challenged ourselves to be better. And I am unapologetically scrupulous about this. In the crisis moment, in the storm, all these efforts paid off. We should be proud of what’s been done.

What are the next steps?

Our safety achievements demonstrate the unique power of teamwork. Not just one team, but many, all working together across departments, often under enormous pressure. Teamwork like this produces exceptional results. What we have learned will be fundamental as we enter the recovery phase of the crisis.

Jean-Claude Carlin, Knauf Insulation

Jean-Claude Carlin, Member of the Knauf Group Management Committee Insulation EMEA, on safety:

"On June 11, 2020, the entire company recorded a hundred days without an LTA and we continue to break safety records in the plants."



In 2019 our Lost Time Accident (LTA) rate was educed to 43.5% from 48% in 2018 — marking a 56.5% drop since our 2010 baseline. We achieved our 2020 commitment to reduce LTAs by 50% compared to 2010 three years ahead of schedule in 2017.




As of November 6, 2020, our North American Albion team had gone 1,850 days without an LTA and our Inwood team marked 1,528 days without an LTA. Our Krupka site in the Czech Republic achieved 909 days without an LTA by October 1, 2020 and our Stupino plant in Russia has not had a Lost Time Accident since 2014.


Safety in a time of crisis, Knauf Insulation

In 2019 we changed from recording accidents as Lost Time Accidents (LTA) to using the Total Recordable Incident Rate or (TRIR).

The number of people who suffered recordable injuries fell from 78 in 2018 to 65 in 2019. In other words, 13 people less people were injured in 2019 than the year before.

The reason for our change from LTA is that TRIR records all accidents minor or severe.

TRIR is calculated by dividing the number of injuries by the total number of hours worked by all employees and then multiplied by a million. It sounds complicated but is used across industries to compare the effectiveness of safety programmes.

In 2013 our TRIR hit a high of 21.12. By 2019 it had fallen to 9.1 from 10.6 in 2018. We are committed to reduce this to at least 5.0 by 2025.



Read our Annual Review 2020!