Consulting in Europe with an International Software Company

Dealing with a Legacy Injunction in Copenhagen

Background

As well as our vast experience in the UK, we also do consulting in Europe, where we help clients to work with the different rules and regulations in each country. In this example, due to the merger & acquisition of a US-based company operating in Denmark, our client – a large international software company – inherited a health and safety problem.

This was in the form of an injunction taken out by the Danish Working Environment Authority (DWEA). The company had failed an unannounced risk inspection, so an improvement notice had been served. The notice identified the following areas for improvement:

  • Duty and responsibility;
  • Psycho-social surveying;
  • Noise in the workplace; and
  • Safety management development and planning.
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    Note: The DWEA can impose administrative fines in cases of a serious material breach of clear and generally well-known areas of the Working Environment Act. The DWEA only issues administrative fines if the violation is clear and straightforward and not discretionary.

    Our Challenge

    Like many companies, our client found it challenging to deal with managing laws and requirements in multiple countries. After they had completed the merger, we were engaged to work with their local management team. Our task was to make the necessary improvements, liaise with the DWEA, and suggest and oversee actions to improve the situation. These were required to improve safety, as well as manage the psychological effects of work in the working environment, in accordance with Denmark’s strict workplace wellbeing requirements.

    Our Solution

    Meetings were held in Copenhagen to determine the extent of the injunction, and we mapped out the actions required to improve the situation. The following actions were taken:

    • A need for local duty holders (Responsible Person and Health & Safety Coordinator) was identified, duties and responsibilities set out, and an election process established for the Coordinator’s appointment (in accordance with Danish legislation);

     

    • Amalgamate assisted our client’s Senior Management for the Nordic area to identify and formally appoint a Danish Senior Manager to act as a Responsible Manager for safety within the location;

     

    • Amalgamate undertook a workplace risk assessment (RA) and identified remedial actions, developed an action plan and led the process to ensure that the newly appointed H & S Coordinator was able to action the identified control measures;

     

    • A psycho-social survey was developed and agreed in accordance with Danish H & S legislation/guidance for all employees, covering H & S, stress in the workplace, training, job satisfaction, communication and management engagement. The survey was issued to all employees, results collated and analysed, and a feedback report issued to the Senior Management for review prior to issuing to the employees.

     

    • Based on the survey and RA findings, Amalgamate developed a safety and wellbeing action plan. Actions were agreed locally and it was our responsibility to distribute these to key stakeholders including local and regional Senior Management, People Resources (PR), Facilities Management (FM) and the Global Safety and Security Team;
       

    • Amalgamate felt it was imperative to have continual engagement with our client’s Nordic Teams’ PR representatives to discuss the recording of sickness and absence data (as required under Danish law). As our client (as a rule) does not record this type of data, it posed a significant compliance issue for the local entity. This continual engagement resulted in a localised solution being agreed and data being recorded for this purpose. Our client is required to demonstrate that sickness absence rates are being monitored, and that where significant incidences arise that efforts to reduce those are being implemented;

     

    • As noise in the workplace was cited as a significant issue as part of the original complaint, Amalgamate worked in partnership with our client’s FM partner to deliver the necessary improvements to the office environment. These included installation of carpeting in the main work areas, partitioning to divide the space, and acoustic sound baffles to further reduce the noise impact in the open-plan office;

     

    • Our consultant led regular development meetings to review the development plan and ongoing actions. In addition, employees are now being issued with a psycho-social survey in accordance with Danish Legislation;

     

    • Amalgamate have introduced a programme of Health and Safety Representative nomination and elections. These are now in place and are held every 3 years.

     

    Conclusion

    Following subsequent engagement with DWEA, our client was, with our assistance, able to demonstrate that the required improvements were carried out, and the injunction was lifted with no administrative fines imposed. Our client’s reputation remained intact without significant financial loss.

    Additionally, we have assisted them with making significant strides to improve their merger & acquisition transitions and improve the support offered to new employees throughout Europe, the Middle-East and Asia. This includes developing a robust on-boarding/induction programme (inc. safety), career development planning, and putting in place health and wellbeing, and employee assistance programmes.

    Amalgamate continue to be engaged to oversee any improvements and provide competent H & S support where required. We oversee an ongoing cycle of monitoring and improvements, to ensure that high standards are maintained.

    Consulting in Europe offers many challenges, with the many differences in safety culture and laws between countries. However, we have the skills and experience to make a difference to the organisations we work with.

    Our professional services are designed to offer flexibility to the businesses we serve. If you would like more information about the services we provide, call us on +44 (0)141 244 0181 or email info@amalgamate-safety.com.

    Contact/Credits

    Caledonian House
    100 High Street
    Irvine
    KA12 0AX
    T. +44 (0)1294 443 806

    Suite 1.06
    Bellahouston Business Centre
    Glasgow
    G51 1PZ
    T. +44 (0)141 244 0181

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