What defines a good work environment? These are issues that drive Boliden Rönnskär’s occupational health & safety manager, Mats Holmlund. Even though his health and safety role at Rönnskär is new, his journey with the company began back in the 1980s.
Back then he worked as an operator at Rönnskär’s decoppering plant. He has had various roles at the company since then, and his interest in occupational health and safety issues grew over time. Especially since 1996, when he began working as a supervisor. He can thank his former manager, who gave health and safety higher priority, for part of his interest in the issue.
“My manager at that time had a clear, explicit expectation that I work with health and safety. As a supervisor, I was expected to take special responsibility for establishing procedures, holding employee performance reviews, workplace meetings and ensuring the work was constantly monitored. Over time, the health and safety issues have grown, especially the organizational and social matters,” Mats explains.
In 2019, after around 30 years at Rönnskär, Mats chose to switch to the mining side, and began working in the Boliden Area as occupational health & safety manager. This gave him a new picture of the way Boliden works as a Group. Both in the way the various operations differ and the ways in which they resemble each other. When the same position, i.e. health and safety manager, became vacant at Rönnskär, Mats decided to move back to his previous workplace. He tells us there is much to learn from the two business areas. “Rönnskär and the Boliden Area are located in practically the same place, but there can be many advantages for employees to try out working at both. This way, knowledge and skills remain in the company. We can still learn a lot from each other,” he says. Max has many ideas about what makes for good health and safety. Among the most important are a clear introduction for new employees, explicit rules of play and the participation of everyone. And especially that things are monitored over time.
“It’s essential that we agree on procedures and working methods, while the rules of the game and workplace commitments must describe how we want to work together in our team and the workplace. Also that this is followed up and made clear when inducting new employees. If we implement these things and get them working, they form the basis for well-being in the workplace and avoiding accidents and injuries. It will give us a sense of safety and security, and the courage to raise issues with each other even when this is difficult,” declares Mats.
Mats adds that in a wider perspective, workplace culture also plays an important part in creating good health and safety over time. Something that is often easier said than done. He believes that by continuing to discuss our values, demand feedback and reflection from everyone and clearly monitor how work is proceeding, we can create a culture where everyone in the workplace contributes to well-being and good health and safety.
“We must put our values into practice and encourage participation. We make a great contribution to health and safety and our culture in general by living up to our values and discussing them with our colleagues and managers. Everyone wants things at work to be safe, pleasant and agreeable. But it takes a joint effort to succeed. And who is really in charge? In my opinion, there are leaders everywhere; we all need to see ourselves as leaders, we can all be role models for others,” concludes