Case Study

Veolia UK

Veolia UK-Safety-Programme-Theatre-at-Work

A Culture of Care

Safety Culture

Veolia group is the global leader in optimized resource management. With nearly 171,000 employees worldwide, the group designs and provides water, waste and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries.

Our work with Veolia began in 2017 to highlight safety at one of their management conferences and they soon commissioned us to develop and deliver an interactive programme for the UK and Ireland which would use our theatre-based approach to engage leaders, managers and supervisors in their vision of ‘Active Risk’ culture. We designed bespoke, tailored workshops to suit local needs at senior leadership and frontline supervisor levels. The programme was designed to work with their existing initiative ‘Think Safe, Work Safe, Home Safe’ and enabled people at all levels to understand their role in moving safety culture from compliance, to proactive and ultimately active risk. Our work with Veolia UK and Ireland continued throughout the pandemic when all programmes were converted to film for interactive online delivery, and we continue to deliver programmes both live onsite and online into 2023.

We initially researched and developed workshops for roll-out in the UK. ‘Think Safe’ was designed to encourage safety leadership at the highest levels of the organisation across their waste, recycling and water businesses, highlighting the impact of strategic decisions, actions and conversations. ‘Safety Conversations’ was designed for management and supervisor levels to highlight the importance of daily actions and conversations with direct reports and operational teams. Programme objectives varied for each group of participants at different levels in different business areas, however focused on creating a culture of care, not just compliance, and enabling proactive improvements in safety culture one action or conversation at at time.

Our workshops stimulated awareness and explored key human factors to enable a shift in mindset. Each workshop included a bespoke safety play which is interactive in nature, allowing discussion and understanding of the basic principles of safety psychology. Opportunities for a focus on safety conversations are also provided, using forum theatre in the leadership programme and small group skills practice in the safety conversations programme. Comments from workshop participants include: ‘the best safety related course I’ve ever been on’, ‘everyone should attend’, and ‘we need to stop the works and get everyone on it right away, it reminds you what it’s all about’.

In 2018 we researched and developed a further ‘Safety Conversations’ programme designed for management and supervisor levels in the recycling and water businesses, again highlighting the importance of daily actions and conversations at operational levels. Live onsite programmes continued to be delivered for teams in the UK throughout 2019 and in 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit all programmes were converted to an online format to enable delivery to continue. Scripts were adapted to suit the new format and filmed at Veolia sites to situate the dramatisations in a realistic context. The success of the online programmes delivered throughout 2021 and 2022 enabled Veolia to share the safety message across the UK reaching participants working in recycling, municipal waste and commercial waste collections.

Since then further programmes and films have been commissined and added to the suite of workshops we deliver for Veolia. ‘Safety Conversations – Excavations’ was developed for use both live onsite and a film version for online to meet the needs of their expanding work in construction. The excavations programme was delivered live to teams in Ireland and also live onsite in a site-specific quarry location.

Recent work for Veolia UK includes ‘Turn Back Time’ a film commissioned for the waste collections business to highlight the consequences of taking risks with moving vehicles and was completed for wide distribution across the business in 2022. Filmed in London, the dramatisation is also being used for online workshops in 2023.

Veolia UK - Theatre at Work- Safety Workshops - Staffodshire

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