At Toyota Material Handling Europe, we mould all our activities around our mission to achieve Zero Muda. Our goal is not just to reduce and eventually eliminate unnecessary or harmful outputs and events. These include waste, defects, carbon emissions, accidents, injuries and occupational conditions. Driven by our Zero Muda vision, we always put the safety of our people as our top priority. We believe safety is more than driving accident rates down. It means paying attention to the processes behind these rates, understanding the factors that underlie the risks, and using this understanding to design an environment where colleagues are respected, protected and supported.
The elements of a safe working environment
Our efforts follow a systematic approach: using all the people and tools available to identify and eliminate the root causes of possible risks, with the primary aim of preventing accidents.
Safety is part of every decision we make – in the boardroom as well as on the factory floor. All managers understand their responsibility to lead by example; they give team members access to the equipment and training they need to operate safely and help them co-operate to ‘close the gaps’ in risk management. We are always involving our people in our Kaizen philosophy and activities which has proven to be successful.
‘The importance that the company and people are giving to safety, and the collaboration between departments and colleagues, is fruit-bearing. It has led to reduced accidents, a safer working environment and atmosphere and, in some areas, better quality of the work itself. Think safety, work better!’ - Samuele Paolo Mazzotta, Milan Branch Service Manager, Toyota Material Handling Italy
We take an active role in defining and driving safety standards all across Europe. We have been a partner of EU-OSHA for over a decade and are part of the steering committee. We have taken part in numerous awareness campaigns, such as the new EU-OSHA campaign ‘Healthy Workplaces Lighten the Load’, which aims to raise awareness of work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) and the need to manage them, promoting a culture of risk prevention.
Supporting safety culture
Toyota Material Handling Manufacturing France recently conducted a thorough investigation into the risks of developing MSDs. This involved spending time on the floor with operators and getting a sense of everything that might support or impact their well-being: the physical actions they undertook daily but also their interpersonal interactions, organisational aspects, and job satisfaction.
This holistic analysis provided more than a set of data. It provided a total perspective on the issue from the worker’s point of view, meaning it was far easier to design solutions in conjunction with those workers; solutions they would adopt and appreciate. Several changes arose from the initiative, including the adjustment of stock shelf configurations and the implementation of new delivery procedures.
Another good example comes from our mast factory in Italy. A facility that has made significant advances in its journey towards zero accidents and zero occupational conditions. By embracing a safety culture, the factory has already been able to identify and install numerous safety and comfort features; including automatic lifting and loading systems, ergonomic jigs, new assembly and painting lines, optimised shelf configuration, and soundproofing. Elsewhere, 35% of pedestrian walkways are now physically separated from forklift lanes; 55% of forklift routes have been standardised after an AI-powered analysis of the safest routes and high-risk areas.
‘I often needed to work in an area of the factory where the level of noise was annoying,’ said one maintenance technician, ‘this aspect made my tasks even more demanding. After the installation of a soundproofing wall, my environment was much more comfortable, allowing me to focus on the activity at hand.’
Read more about the initiatives of our network to decrease injury frequency rates, preventing serious injuries and more in our 2021 Sustainability Report.