As Voi’s Head of Health and Safety, Anna Östensson brings over 15 years of experience in the field to ensure that our employees are safe at all times.
What are the main Health & Safety (H&S) challenges in shared micromobility?
The main Health and Safety challenge is that we are operating in a new industry with limited benchmarked practices. We always have to look around corners to find the best safety solutions and adapt them to our world of shared micromobility. We also have intricate synergies between the safety of our employees, our users and members of the public. Initiatives to keep our riders safe positively impact staff safety; for example, when we ensure our e-scooters and e-bikes are thoroughly quality tested we reduce the time our employees have to spend on the roads picking up scooters for repairs. We must constantly keep all three safety aspects in mind in all decision-making to truly live by our Vision Zero.
You talk a lot about the importance of having a safety culture. What does this mean?
The term “safety culture” can sometimes make us believe that it can be separate from the organisational culture, but I strongly believe that safety must be an intrinsic part of what we are and do. In companies with poor safety performance, you often see that it is a topic in its own silo that can easily be deprioritised when production takes precedence over safety. At Voi, we ensure safety is part of everything we all do; it should never be a choice employees have to make. Rather, it is deeply embedded in procedures, decision making and, of course, our culture. Our culture is led by passionate and motivated employees and leaders, demonstrated in our missions and vision statements.
It’s quite bold to believe that all accidents are preventable. Is this really the case?
Research shows that over 99% of workplace injuries are preventable. The reality is that safety is not passive, but something you have to actively work on. Anyone who believes that working safely is a matter of fate is a hazard to themselves and their co-workers. I truly believe we can prevent all injuries by being proactive, identifying hazards that might lead to injuries, and taking the necessary steps to mitigate and control them.