Model occupational health and safety initiatives

Ensuring a safe and healthy working environment is one of Veolia’s nine sustainable development commitments. Conscious of its responsibility to its staff, clients and partners, Veolia is developing a culture of prevention at every level of the company. Interagua, the Group’s subsidiary in Ecuador, is particularly engaged in this domain. At the heart of the tools deployed are the creation of a dedicated training center – La Fortaleza – and the implementation of a fun and original awareness raising scheme.
The essential
Carrying out our activities while safeguarding the health and safety of members of staff and stakeholders.
Aim for excellence and “zero accidents.”
Veolia's response
A continuous improvement approach to the health and safety prevention culture based on five pillars, with a particular effort to keep managers, the health and safety departments, staff and stakeholders “up to speed.”
Published in the dossier of June 2018

In Latin America, galloping urbanization is increasing the amount of excavation or intervention work on networks. All across the continent, Veolia is developing targeted actions to protect teams faced with these heightened risks.


16 training sessions held since the center opened.
333 certified staff members (206 for working in a confined space, 127 for working at height).
0 accidents have occurred concerning these risks since 2016.
11 accidents, all risks included, in 2018 compared to 47 in 2015.

La Fortaleza, a model center in Latin America

La Fortaleza opened its doors in 2016. Located on the Sede Progreso site in Ecuador, this training center offers courses to all staff members exposed to a high risk, managers and operators alike. Its distinguishing feature is facilities allowing trainees to be placed in near-real situations. This proves an effective way of helping them realize the risks and protect themselves against them by learning best practices in situ.


The 10 management standards for high-risk activities

1. Traffic at work
2. Working in confined spaces
3. Handling hazardous goods or chemical agents
4. Hot work
5. Excavation and trenching
6. High pressure and water blasting
7. Using electricity
8. Lifting operations
9. Working at height
10. Making equipment safe (LOTO system)*

*Lockout/Tagout, i.e. isolating and labeling a source of energy.

A fifty-hour series of training sessions is offered on the classification of ten management standards for high-risk activities defined by Veolia (see boxed text). Five of these standards have already led to the creation of specific programs: working in confined spaces, at height, in trenches, high pressure and traffic at work. They will be supplemented by three new modules from September 2018: electrical hazards, hot work, and handling hazardous goods or chemical agents.

La Fortaleza finds a following

For Interagua, this preventive approach is applied at every level of the company and concerns every member of staff. In 2017, to help management become aware of the risks operators face in confined spaces, a roleplay session was designed for the executive committee members and managers from the Technical Operations division. The training was given by three already-certified managers. This awareness-raising approach also extends to Interagua’s subcontractors and even operators’ families, who are invited to discover where their loved ones work. A unique initiative in this part of the world, La Fortaleza is gaining a following: Interagua is already preparing to welcome Veolia staff from other countries and share its experience to encourage the set-up of similar centers elsewhere in the world.

Cartoon safety

Tomas Aguas or cartoon safety

How do you see yourself?” This is the name of the campaign launched in 2016 by Interagua to raise awareness among its staff on the importance of wearing the personal protective equipment provided for them. The fruit of close cooperation between the Communication and Health & Safety departments, the scheme centered on a cartoon featuring Tomas Aguas, a fictional operator who is a kind of safety antihero. Relatively unconcerned about safety rules at first, he becomes their staunch champion after being a victim of accidents. This decidedly playful campaign also called on actors who performed sketches showing the priority safety steps to take. The main rules to follow were also displayed in the agents’ lockers and information screens placed in high-traffic areas. The campaign was a success: Tomas Aguas has become an example to follow, as the campaign’s concluding message aptly puts it: “Tomas has changed. Now it’s your turn!”


Almost 60% of Veolia’s employees followed safety training in 2017
40% of the total hours’ training given in the Group in 2017 concerned safety
90 on-site safety audits were carried out in 2017
A 1.8% drop in occupational accidents (excluding commuting) in 2017 compared to 2016 (Veolia)
A 13.34% reduction in the frequency of occupational accidents between 2015 and 2017 (Veolia)

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