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- Openness and dialogue provides the best HSE results

- The most important thing is to prevent accidents and injuries on personnel, says HSE manager, Sverre Misje VestKran. He is confident that the company's philosophy of openness and mutual trust provides the best results within Health, Safety and Environment.

Sverre Misje is clear that an open conversation and attitude in the workplace is the best method of achieving good HSE results.

- Are you having a good day?

- Good morning, boys. Are you having a good day? This is a much better opening than waving paragraphs. Many believe that a HSE Manager is an adviser to the boss and is a kind of policeman who goes around yelling when things are not in order. My experience is that a much better method is to be present in the workplace and talk to people. It gives confidence and assurance.
Focus on safety in the workplace has a clear objective.
- This objective is to prevent injuries and get everyone home, says the HSE manager.
To obtain good results, we must also be open and receptive, such as when employees talk about things that may affect their work.

Important to see each other

- People may have problems in life, on the home front or in other areas, so it is important that you keep talking to them and take the necessary actions. Maybe a crane operator who has had a difficult experience or is just tired one day, should not be sitting up in the crane house?
- When we lift such heavy things, one has to be alert and concentrated. If one is not completely focused, it is better that person performs a less stressful job that day.
The HSE Manager should however not merely play along. He must, if necessary, also be strict.

Must also be clear spoken

- Yes, when necessary, be ready to talk straight. But basically there must be respect and trust in order to have a good dialogue with the employees.
It's not just the staff Sverre keeps a watchful eye on. Also the equipment used and the environment in which the employees work in is important.
- For example, is all the equipment in place and the ground conditions satisfactory?
The 100 employees in VestKran consists of drivers, crane operators, riggers and multidiscipline people spread all around Norway and Europe. At the moment most of them are on assignment in Oslo, northern Sweden and Germany, but there are also personnel in Bodø and Narvik, in addition to some on the oil bases in Øygarden. Misje's responsibility extends therefore to all corners of Europe where Vest Kran has personnel and activities, but he can not be present at all locations at all times. It is therefore good to know that Vest Kran personnel have all papers in order.
- Everyone is certified for the jobs they do and have also received product training.

Asking direct questions

When Sverre is out at a work site, he often asks direct and often naive questions as a way to start a dialogue.
- What is this for? How do you do this?
In that way, you start a conversation about job execution and can together identify possible hazards.
Sverre is especially wary of anything that resembles routine.
- When you think that this is something I've done hundreds of times before, that's when it is especially important to be aware...
It's not only the HSE manager's jobb to be aware, but also colleagues must observe each other without feeling that it is surveillance.
- We need to look after each other and dare to speak out to each other without feeling like it's squealing. This is important to be able learn and improve. We have to dare to write RUHer, also on me, smiles Sverre.

Job satisfaction and productivity

It is important to avoid mistakes, but even more importantly, to learn from our mistakes, he says.
-  We need in our culture the ability to make mistakes and learn from them. It should be allowed to make a mistake without being yelled at and put down...
- Job satisfaction is important. If people thrive, they do a much better job.

New regulations implemented

However, some regulation-work is necessary. The new HSE regulations in the Arbeidsmiljøloven, which will come into effect on 1 January 2013, Vest Kran is now working on. This is a simplification project in which 47 of the current regulations will be replaced by six new ones.
- We are now revising our procedures to be updated toward our clients, says Morten.

Both in the field and in the office

Safety work is a combination of work in the field and in the office. In the office, Sverre has the assistance of HSE Coordinator Ingrid Berg.
- HSE People can generally be too much in the office and too little in the field, says CEO, Morten Martin Essen, but emphasizes that office work is also fundamentally important.
 - If we get an RUH, either from customers or employees, we will send them on to the HSE department. Here they are processed and analyzed by Ingrid and Sverre. The treatment of them, for example, leads us to take action or conduct inspections or so called, toolbox meetings.

- Good HSE management is everything

Morten emphasizes that good safety management is the alpha and omega of VestKran.
- We must always be open to learn and to improve. That we strive to provide the best safety in the industry is also a good selling point. Customers should know that we take security as the highest priority and do everything possible to improve continuously.
In the long-term, it is also important to create good safety procedures. In the short term, clear requirements for what should be carried out before work starts.
- Before any contract is started, there should always be performed inspections, risk assessments and Safe Job Analysis (SJA), emphasizes Sverre.

Grabs hold of the levers

As a previous rescuer, Sverre is trained to give first aid and initiate lifesaving measures. It is a useful experience in risk assessment and security is increased. This provides both him and his colleagues with a sense of security that he is near.
He is not afraid to take part if necessary.
- If there is a man sick, I will gladly jump up into the crane and grabs hold of the levers...

Chose job over disability

Sverre has extensive experience in the offshore industry and has personal experience why it is important to consider safety on the job. He began as rescuer on a standby boat in the North Sea. Then he went ashore to work at VestKran a period from 1995-1998. Then he took a another turn in the North Sea as a skilled worker, but this time was seriously injured. After a tough rehabilitation and education in risk analysis, operational psychology and pedagogy, he was back as a crane operator in VestKran in 2010. At that time he was project manager for the Oslo branch, before he this year took the position as head of HSE.
When Sverre experienced a serious neck injury in the North Sea, he had the choice between a life as disabled or to train for work again. He chose the latter and has not regretted it.
- You have to look at things positively. One can endure a little pain now and then.

The gathering at Geilo

An important part of HSE in Vest Kran is to gather employees for good, technical and social gatherings. Recently, all the staff and our closest suppliers gathered at Dr. Holms in Geilo. At Geilo we also awarded this year's HSE prize to a staff member, in addition to a cultural award, and a prize to the best supplier.
- People like to be appreciated. It doesn't have to be much. The staff confirmed that they are happy with us. If they quit to try something else, they often miss us quickly, because there is a great sense of community, says Sverre.

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