Occupational Health and Safety


In DNV GL we are committed to continuously improve our occupational health and safety performance. Our overall goals are preventing injury and occupational illness. Our work is never so important that we cannot take time to do it safely.

With thousands of surveyors doing inspections on ship yards, vessels, offshore oil rigs, wind turbines, factories and other installations, we are exposed to health and safety risks across all our operations worldwide. With often high pressure on employees to perform, stress is also a risk we encounter.  

We have developed a comprehensive occupational health and safety management system for monitoring and managing our health and safety risks globally. Our health and safety management system is embedded in the DNV GL Group Management system. In addition to a global network of health and safety managers, we also have coordinators facilitating compliance with our health and safety standards in all our activities around the world. A web based system is in place for reporting and managing incidents and hazards, including management reporting of health and safety performance.

Our principles

We place high importance in ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees and other working on our behalf. Through our work we stay committed to our goals:
  • We identify and assess risks affecting health and safety of people, property or the environment. We constantly prioritize areas of improvement, ensuring effective risk management. 
  • We foster a culture where everyone is involved in creating a safe work environment, by pursuing, adopting and sharing good health and safety practices. 
  • We develop resources and implement plans to achieve continual improvement in our occupational health and safety performance. We openly report and appraise our performance, measure our achievements against our plans and goals, and take action to address shortcomings. 
  • We treat hazards, near misses, accidents and occupational illness, and feedback from our employees and customers as important learning opportunities. 
  • We select our sub-contractors and suppliers based on their ability to provide services which meet our safety and health requirements.

Projects and activities

Health and safety training

The focus on health and safety competence and awareness training continued in 2014. All new employees are required to complete occupational health and safety induction training within the two first weeks of employment in DNV GL. In addition the Business Areas develop and maintain safety training to ensure implementation of their safety instructions through adequate competence in safe behaviour among field workers. This safety training includes both theoretical and practical modules as relevant. 

In 2011 we launched a two-day course for managers and HSE professionals called Building a sound HSE culture. In 2014, we completed three HSE culture building courses for managers and HSE professionals. To facilitate the implementation of the HSE tools in the merged organisation, extensive training has been performed both as class room training and by use of video conference facilities. 

Our key focus area in 2015 is strengthening our overall safety culture across the entire organisation. A global safety culture initiative has been launched to start the process. Safety is defined as control of all risks at work and health is defined as physical, psychological and social well-being at work. 

Successful implementation of the initiative will result in a positive safety culture, where all employees take responsibility for their own and others’ safety and well-being as a part of their everyday work. 

Other initiatives include:

  • Alignment and re-design of the global health and safety training portfolio based on results from the safety culture initiative
  • Sustaining the Emergency preparedness level in DNV GL with the continuation of crisis management exercises for all levels.

Employee involvement

Local occupational health and safety evaluations are held annually throughout the organisation. At local unit meetings, all employees are invited to discuss issues concerning their health and safety. This ensures that all opinions are heard. The objective of these events is to increase awareness by involving our employees in the identification of health and safety improvement initiatives. Through participation employees are also made aware of potential hazards in their own work environment. About 82 % of the employees participated in local health and safety evaluations in 2014. 

In addition, formal Health and Safety committees are established in 16 countries due to local requirements or because the benefit of such committees has been identified internally. In most countries the committees are established on country level. In countries with large operations, committees are established by business area or location. At year-end 2014, 54% of the workforce was represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committee.

The right to say no

The backbone of our occupational health and safety management system is that all employees are fully aware of their right to say no to perform work that is perceived not to be safe. It is important that our employees feel confident and empowered to stop working when they encounter inappropriate behaviour or unacceptable conditions. When an employee considers the safety to be inadequate, the client is informed that the surveyor or consultant will not perform planned inspections. In most cases, clients treat such incidences with a high degree of seriousness and take action to ensure that safety is brought up to a satisfactory standard. 

Safety related issues are an integral part of all unit meetings. Our employees are encouraged to share their experiences related to possible safety breaches or hazardous situations. During these meetings managers remind employees of our HSE policy, and emphasise that they support an employee’s decision not to perform a task when the safety condition is perceived as insufficient. Field safety issues are also always a subject of Experience Exchange Seminars for Surveyors. 

Our surveyors are always allowed to refuse to carry out their work until satisfactory safety standards are established. Examples of cases from 2014: 

  • A surveyor was requested to attend a survey at an outside anchorage. The owner was advised that the survey could not be carried out as the transfer point between launch boat and vessel was not suitable. The case was escalated through management, who continued to support the decision of the local DNV GL office not to perform the survey as requested. Eventually, an agreement was reached and the surveyor finished the work when the vessel entered the inner anchorage. Later, the master told the surveyor that a welder, who chose to board at the outer anchorage, broke his leg due to the challenging conditions. 
  • During an incline test on a vessel inspection, all tanks and spaces were required empty. The vessel crew opened the manholes and within 5 minutes our surveyors were called in for inspection. Gas meter readings had not been done, and the ventilation was not put in place.
  • The checklist for Safe Entry into Confined Spaces was used. As a result, entry was refused by the surveyor.
  • A DNV GL engineer was engaged to inspect 31 machines in a wind farm. Our employee found the access up to the nacelle in the wind turbines to be unsafe. The inspection was suspended, followed by a meeting with the client’s management. After the inadequate safety condition was explained, actions were taken by the client, the safety standard brought to an acceptable level, and inspection continued. 
  • During a survey at a yard, building luxury passenger vessels, the yard interior contractor, who wanted to protect the expensive internal structures and fittings, asked our surveyor to remove his safety helmet. The surveyor refused and explained the DNV GL safety policy to the concerned parties. After a small discussion, the yard representative agreed to meet DNV GL’s Personal Protective Equipment requirement. 

Implementation of crisis management procedures

Following the review of the DNV GL crisis management protocol and plan components and the revision of the related procedures performed in 2013, the members of the group crisis management team participated in altogether 10 crises exercises in 2014. The Emergency Response Service unit planned and conducted these exercises and ensured that interfaces with country level crisis teams were integrated in the exercise. Teams from Chile, Singapore, Korea, Brazil and Germany participated in scenarios that included hurricanes, helicopter crashes, tsunamis, and fire on an oil rig. 

The group level crisis management exercise focused in particular on supporting employees and their families during a crisis. Full day training was also arranged for individuals who shall serve as support to different organisational levels in case of an emergency. On Business Area level DNV GL Energy also arranged several role-play exercises, with scenarios such as a private plane crashing into a met mast.

Reporting on performance 

Occupational health and safety incident and hazard reporting

The number of incident and hazard reports per employee varies for the different regions, - between 0,08 per employee in Nordic and Baltic countries and 0,25 in Asia and Oceania. These differences are assumed to reflect both differences in reporting culture and differences in occupational health and safety standards. Figure 1 shows how reports per employee are distributed on regions.   

The reporting culture also varies between countries and Business Areas. In several countries and Business Areas there is still need for increased awareness of how important reported incidents and hazards are as a knowledge basis for improving occupational health and safety performance. The most significant increase in reports per employee has been in Norway with an increase of 103%. This impressive development is a result of continuous focus on the importance of reporting incidents and hazards through -communication and campaigns, and - learnings shared through quarterly presentations, to all business units of all cases assessed as medium or high loss potential. 

For reporting and managing of incidents and hazards DNV GL uses the software Synergi Life developed by DNV GL Software. This includes the use of the Synergi Life Mobile App for immediate reporting following an occurrence, - at any time and place. This Mobile App lets users easily include pictures and make voice recordings. 

The system of rules applied in recording and reporting accident statistics complies with local laws and regulations in the countries where we operate. In countries with less strict legislation the DNV GL group requirements which are in compliance with Norwegian regulations are adhered to. The Norwegian regulations are in compliance with The ILO Code of Practice on Recording and Notification of Occupational Accidents and Diseases. 

A significant objective of incident and hazard reporting is to share gained experience across organisational borders, hence there are no strict limitation on access to the incident and hazard data base. Reference to gender is not included in the system in order to limit the possibility for disclosure of the identity of a person, nor is such information considered relevant for optimal allocation of resources on occupational health and safety improvement activities; accordingly the Occupational Health and Safety statistics do not include distribution of incidents on gender.

There are no types of workers who are involved in occupational activities with a high incidence or high risk of specific diseases. Our occupational health and safety risks are related to work processes resulting in accidents with injuries and work environment conditions where exposure over a period of time, or a normal work activity results in illness, called “Occupational health issues”. For Accidents and Occupational health issues with an absence of ≥8 hours distributed on type of event and work process.

November cases per million worker
Figure 1 Accidents and occupational health issues per million worked hours, and number of reports per employee per region

Occupational health and safety performance 

Of the 2313 reported incidents and hazards in 2014, 35% were assessed as having medium and high loss potential.  54 % of those were related to surveys and inspections, 16% to driving, transport and travelling and 10% to laboratory activities. Figure 2 shows how incidents and hazards that are assessed as high loss potential are distributed by work processes. The accident categories “hit against and hit by” represent 34%, and “slips, trips and falls” represents 39% of the 262 accidents resulting in injury to people.  

Of the 157 occupational health issues reported, the most common causes were “overstrain, exertion or repetitive strain” (57%), and “exposure to too high or low temperatures, or inadequate lighting or air quality” (15%).  Table 2 shows safety and health incident statistics 2010 through to and including 2014.

Table 2 definitions:

Lost Time Accident: Accident resulting in injury to people and work absence of >= 8 hours 
Injury Accident: Accident resulting in injury to people and work absence of < 8 hours 
Occupational Health Issue: Work environment conditions (including psychosocial work environment and musculoskeletal load) where exposure over a period of time results in illness to people, or a normal work activity resulting in illness to people. 
Work-related: An occurrence during the performance of duty on behalf of DNV GL. Duty includes work or travelling to and from any location on behalf of DNV GL, or participating in a social event organised by DNV GL. Occurrences during travel between home and an employee’s DNV GL home office is not work related in this context. 
LTAF (Lost Time Accident Frequency): Number of Lost Time Accidents/million worked hours. 
SAI (Severity Accident Index): Number of days absence due to Lost Time Accidents/million worked hours. 
IAF (Injury Accident Frequency): Number of Injury Accidents/million worked hours. 
Total Sickness Absence rate (%): ((Accident+Sickness absence hours)/Number of worked hours)*100

From 2013, cases are allocated to a year in accordance to the incident occurrence date rather than incident recording date. This has a consequence for the occupational health and safety statistics in the way that results from the previous year will change when an incident is recorded in the year after it occurred. In the statistics, cases are allocated to a year according to recoding date for the years 2010 – 2012. 

The occupational health and safety reports include hazards and incidents involving employees and sub-contractors (independent contractors) working for and on behalf of the DNV GL. Statistical data are not distributed on sub-contractors (independent contractors) as they, in the occupational health and safety management processes, are treated in the same way as employees. Such information has not been considered relevant for optimal allocation of resources on occupational health and safety improvement activities.

Lost time accidents per million worked hours (LTAF) decreased by 30% compared to 2013. There have been 716 days of absences due to accidents. The Severity accident index (SAI) increased by 71% compared to 2013. This significant increase is partly due to one serious HUET (Helicopter under water escape training) accident and one serious car accident, but is also affected by improved control of recording of the absences hours related to accidents. The most common types of lost time injuries were “fractured bones, sprains and strains” (38%), and “bruises, contusions, and cuts” (34%). Figure 3 shows how Accidents with absence of ≥ 8 hours are distributed by work processes. 

Occupational health issues with absence per million worked hours is 1,0 in 2014, same as in 2013. There have been 384 days absences due to occupational health issues. The number of days absence due to occupational health issues per million worked hour has increased to 13,5 in 2014 up from 9,5 in 2013. The majority of the absence hours related to occupational health issues were related to office work (51%), (21 %) to Surveys and inspections, and (17%) to travelling. (66%) of the absence hours related to occupational health issues were related to physical work environment conditions and (34 %) to psychosocial work environment conditions. Figure 4 shows how Occupational health issues with absence of ≥ 8 hours are distributed by work processes.

The DNV GL annual People Engagements Survey – Questions related to safety. 

In our annual People Engagement Survey 90% of all employees responded positively to the question: “I have been provided with relevant safety training and personal protective equipment for my job” and 85% responded positively to the question: “My line manager always promote safety first”. While these are important components of safety, we are striving to continuously improve our safety culture. That is why in 2015 we are focusing on strengthening our attitudes, beliefs and behaviour related to both health and safety across every area and level of our business. 

Mitigating Health and Safety risks in Africa

DNV GL’s business in Africa grows, as does travelling into the continent with all the associated risks. When the doors of opportunity opened in 2014 for developing new business in Africa through our merged company we saw a significant increase in staff travelling into the Continent. For many this was the first time and meant we had to ensure all Business Areas developed stronger networks into Africa.  Through communication and cooperation across organisational borders a deeper understandings of the dynamic risks were developed and this was cascaded down to the staff who visited challenging areas. Despite an estimated 100% increase in travel movements above 2013 we saw no significant HSE incidents reported as a consequence of travel in Africa. As all Business Areas look to develop their footprint in Africa, 2014 saw the first cross Business Area meetings and cooperation forums. The agenda focused on developing better understanding of each other’s business but also shared ideas on both risks and safety managing HSE challenges within the geography. Areas of special interest, such as Kenya and Nigeria were discussed and actions implemented that have resulted in cross organisational cooperative initiatives such as desk top security events.

Our approach to the Ebola epidemic in Nigeria

The first case of Ebola in Nigeria was brought in by a traveller, who flew to Lagos on the 17 July, 2014. To mitigate the risk of Ebola spread the management of DNV GL in Nigeria started collecting facts about the virus in general and the situation in Nigeria and related this to staff on a daily basis. Office meetings were held to educate and update the staff on the trend of the epidemic with every new information and knowledge. The Health Pandemic contingency plan was distributed to all staff. Health Insurance Management teams were invited to the Lagos and Port Harcourt office to give talks on the causes, symptoms, and effects of the Ebola virus, and how it can be avoided. All staff attended these meetings. Improved cleaning procedures were implemented in the office. Staff was also advised to stay off work if ill or noticed high fever or other symptoms.

A fatal accident at our head office in Høvik 

A fatal accident occurred 11 August 2014 at our head office at Høvik.  The injured person was an employee from an external maintenance service company, subcontracted by the external service management company, again subcontracted by DNV Eiendom for maintenance of buildings at the headquarters at Høvik. The accident occurred when two employees from the external maintenance service company were to repair a broken roller gate. They brought their own truck on their own lorry, equipped with a rear mounted crane. The injured person was hit by the crane lifting the truck from the lorry, and he died momentously of a head injury. The formal investigation of the accident uncovered that all direct causes of the accident were related to external maintenance service company’s HSE management system. 

DNV GL has however had focus on indirect causes to the accident and how internal procedures could have reduced or eliminated the risk of the accident. Important learnings are captured and will be implemented in our contractor safety programme. Some of the most important aspects are:

  • Improved system for pre-qualification and approval of contractors 
  • Improved admission control when contractors are arriving on site with increased  requirements for control of personnel qualification, equipment certification and acceptance of relevant job evaluations as well as clear communication of DNV GL’s safety requirements
  • Improved system for control and inspection of work performed by contractors to ensure all work is performed according to our safety standards, including securing the work area to protect DNV GL’s employees and visitors.
DNV GL annually People Engagement Survey
Table 1 Accidents and Occupational health issues with absence of ≥8hours per type of event and work process.
High loss potential incidents
Figure 2: High loss potential incidents and hazards distributed by work processes.
Safety and health incidents
Table 2. Safety and health incidents statistics DNV GL. Minor (first-aid level) injuries are included in the statistical data. *The years 2010 through to and including 2013 includes DNV legacy only.
Accidents with an absence
Figure 3 Accidents with an absence of ≥ 8 hours distributed by work process.
Occupational health issues
Figure 4 Occupational health issues with an absence of ≥ 8 hours distributed by work process.