Carola Schock and her plant safety team are charged with making sure that the facilities on-site are built and run safely. Safety analysis, explosion protection and machine safety all fall under her remit. In 2001 the environmental protection engineer became the first female safety specialist at WACKER Burghausen. Today her team comprises seven safety engineers.
But Carola Schock is not the only female manager in the safety department: her colleague Susanne Ackermann is head of Industrial Safety. Ackermann and her 13 staff members take care of all matters relating to the safety of employees on-site. This includes issues such as work permits for dangerous jobs, encouraging safe behavior among employees, selecting appropriate protective equipment and assessing the safety of working areas and practices.
If an incident should arise, then of course an accident analysis will be on the daily agenda. Who would think that in a chemical facility the lowest number of accidents occur through handling chemicals in the plant or lab? Slipping and tripping are the most frequent causes of serious workplace accidents.
Each and every occurrence at the Burghausen plant is investigated in detail. The safety experts examine on-site how the incident could have happened. Their objective? To make sure that accidents never recur. Schock and Ackermann take this responsibility very seriously. “Ultimately everyone who works here should live to a ripe old age,” says Susanne Ackermann. “And the authorities, police and residents expect us to continue developing our safety culture,” adds her colleague Carola Schock.
“Our principle task is to provide advice and support to the different departments on all issues relating to safety,” explains Susanne Ackermann, originally from the Allgäu region of southern Germany. “The days when safety was merely a police matter are long gone.”
Carola Schock, who hails from Freiburg, explains that even in her free time she is more aware of safety concerns than other people. “You just see things differently when you have a job like ours,” she says. “We also have to be role models in our life outside of work,” argues Schock. “We would never dream of running a red light, for example.”