Novozymes Vision Zero

Novozymes: Vision Zero makes it easier to communicate OSH to top management

For Lene Brødegaard Hjerrild, Head of OHS EMEA at Novozymes, Vision Zero is not a new acquaintance. She has been actively working with Vision Zero for several years and has been a permanent member of the Danish Vision Zero Council since its establishment. She was therefore also a natural participant at the January Vision Zero conference. Here, she shares her own experiences working with Vision Zero and why a Vision Zero conference provides significant value for herself and other OSH professionals in the industry.

The ‘zero’ was an obstacle at first glance

“Ever since I was first introduced to the Vision Zero concept, I have regarded it as a highly beneficial communication framework for OSH efforts. At Novozymes, I advocated for the integration of the Vision Zero principles into our safety strategy and our approach to OSH,” says Lene Brødegaard Hjerrild, who initially encountered some challenges, though:

“At first, convincing the rest of the organisation to embrace the Vision Zero strategy was an uphill battle, primarily because the term ‘zero’ posed an initial obstacle.”

Lene Brødegaard Hjerrild explains further:

“For a KPI-driven company like Novozymes, the idea that the ultimate goal is ‘zero’ incidents seemed impractical. Therefore, it was my task to convey and clarify that Vision Zero represents a vision in which all negative influences can be prevented.”

Lene Brødegaard Hjerrild ultimately succeeded, and nearly a year ago, the Danish-founded global organisation adopted a safety strategy that links directly into Vision Zero.

Research-based validity is the gateway to top management commitment

“From a Danish occupational health perspective, there’s nothing new in what lies within Vision Zero’s 7 Golden Rules. It could be said that it’s largely ‘old wine in new bottles’, but where Vision Zero differs from the old wines and becomes particularly relevant and effective for an organisation like ours is that Vision Zero is linked to research-based validity,” Lene Brødegaard Hjerrild emphasises and continues:

“Combined with the fact that Vision Zero provides a simple framework, making it easier for us occupational safety and health professionals to communicate the meaning to our top managements, is really where Vision Zero shows its immense strength. Thus, we who must convey and influence occupational safety and health can stand firmer because we can confidently rely on research documentation to support our efforts. And notably, this is research indicating that without management focus, occupational safety and health initiatives are bound to fail.”

“Novozymes is a global organisation, and for us, Vision Zero’s international scope is essential. We operate globally, and it necessitates a mindset that transcends national boundaries. Embracing Vision Zero as a universal language unites us across cultures and regions.”

A highly anticipated conference

Lene Brødegaard Hjerrild is pleased to see that with the Vision Zero conference, there is now an alternative to the more traditional OSH conferences:

“It was gratifying to engage with fellow professionals at the conference and network with both new and familiar contacts from our sector. I was fortunate to have many colleagues from my own organisation present reflecting the increasing prominence of Vision Zero in Novozymes. It gave my colleagues the opportunity to experience firsthand the vibrant community that surrounds Vision Zero. As a result, we left with a solid feeling that internally in our organisation, we are all aligned and equally updated on the latest knowledge, and it strengthened our understanding and provided an even clearer common language for our occupational safety and health efforts.”


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