Safety at work: Safealign & Bapp Technology - Case Study


Leadership development at Montataire, France

As a global leader in domestic paints, AkzoNobel manufactures and distributes a complete range of internal and external decorating products in France for both professionals and non-professionals alike. The company also manufactures and distributes building products, including paints used to treat wood, primary materials such as additives, products for treating walls, joints, and putties as well as decorative coatings.

The Montataire site

Established in 1947 for the production of Astral paints, the Montataire site is located in Picardy, northern France, in the department of Oise and is AkzoNobel’s main site in France.

As part of the group’s decorative paints division it manufactures emulsion, wood stain, and solvent paints. An industrial site using and storing chemical products and, given its ICPE Seveso 2 (lower tier) status, it also holds ISO 9001 certification for quality management. Since December 2014 the site has also been certified ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

Key facts and figures about Montataire:

  • 4 production units across a 23 ha site
  • 50 million litres manufactured each year
  • 5000 varieties, 34 brands, and delivered to 17 countries
  • 660 employees and 70 permanent representatives from outside companies


Today’s employees consider safety at work to be an important topic and a key component in developing the organisation’s culture.

Originally, the idea of safety at work was simply concerned with employees’ physical safety in the workplace and, in particular, the control measures put in place to prevent accidents.

A long-term commitment

In January 2012, employees were invited to take part in a study regarding their perceptions of the safety culture. The results of the study show that employees expected to see progress in terms of the company’s support and the credibility of management around safety. This led Philippe Bellenoue, Supply Chain Director and Sylvain Roquigny, HSE Manager, to implement a process for developing HSE leadership based on a personal 360° diagnostic safety tool, a strong and transparent commitment on the part of the leadership support group, development workshops, coaching, and a feedback tool.

The second development phase was rolled out in 2013. It involved implementing a behaviour-based safety process to improve performance at the operations level within the company’s supply chain.

From June 2012, 37 members of senior and mid-level management took part in a twelve-month course comprising five, one-day training modules. The course focused on the behavioural foundations required of HSE leadership, providing feedback and recognition through safety tours, building credibility, the use of safety briefings and debriefings, as well as learning how to coach individuals and groups. With the help of a BST consultant and two internal facilitators, the leaders carried out a total of 250 safety tours between them each month and improved safety performance on the factory floor.

Following the individual 360° safety assessments, each of the 37 members of the senior and mid-level management signed the HSE charter and committed to two programmes aimed at changing observable behaviour:

  • A global action plan, based on the application of AkzoNobel’s eight life-saving rules.
  • An individual action plan, tailored to each business area, according to the particular risks.

Leadership programme to effect cultural change
“Our vision is to establish optimal safety at work. It will be achieved by credible, sustained leadership. When we work together using a collaborative system that enables us to identify at-risk behaviour and by talking to each other, this vision will become a reality”, says Phillipe Bellenoue, Supply Chain Europe Director.

Juan Schrantz, Supply Chain France Colorimetry Manager, says: “Each leader must be visible and available to her or his work colleagues and must openly communicate the results of the safety initiative.”

“Focus on positive feedback and recognition, lead by example and show yourself as credible and efficient in your behaviour. Sharing information about safety at meetings engages and helps the whole team to change their behaviour”, says Alain Lavigne, Fabrication & Control Unit 2 Middle-Manager.

“People are talking about safety, and that’s a good thing”, says a workshop operator.

The roll-out of the programme has been led by the support group and two coaches, who assist the leaders with the observation and feedback processes. This in turn has helped improve leadership development.

Leaders have access to Feedback Engine®, an online database that makes it easy to share monthly progress on individual action plans, best practices, and feedback with other participants. It also improves follow-up with their line managers and the BST consultant. Since its implementation twelve months ago, Feedback Engine has identified and shared more than 2,350 leadership action points made by 37 leaders.

The observation and feedback process plays a critical role in promoting better communication about safety and exposure to risks. It encourages everyone to take safety seriously. During their safety tour, observation partners (the person being observed and a leader) watch one another at work, giving positive feedback where they see desirable behaviour and making suggestions for improvement.

On 13 June 2014, Jordi Pineda, Montataire Manufacturing Unit Manager, received the “Take Care Safety Improvement Award” for the first time. It related to his management at the Montataire site and was awarded by AkzoNobel for his progress and efforts made in terms of safety in recent years.

FELIX – A behavioural and dialogue-based approach

In September 2013, a new cultural assessment was initiated immediately following an in-field survey of more than 15% of the workforce. The cultural diagnostic and survey showed that there has been real change: the site’s safety vision is clear and is shared by employees, and the leadership visibly care more than in the past.

Given the results obtained and the commitment shown by leaders, management decided in September 2013 to get all employees involved in the process and to reinforce safe behaviour by applying the BAPP® Technology. A steering group has been set up that comprises six employees from different departments. Their shared goal is to deploy the BBS program, named FELIX, where possible.

The steering group’s first task was to review the accidents that occurred between 2011 and 2013 in order to identify critical behaviours. The 22 retained behaviours were put into a “dialogue sheet”, which help observers collect information anonymously.

Dialogue sheets (observation sheets) summarise what
has been observed and emphasise positive feedback, high-quality dialogue and listening, agreement on risk, and a commitment to change the person’s at-risk behaviour. Once processed using the RINCON® Intranet-based software, the dialogue sheets are then analysed every two weeks by the support group appointed to draw up action plans. Every two weeks, action plans are reviewed by the steering group.


After 12 months and half the workforce trained as observers, the first positive result for FELIX showed a constant reduction in the number of injuries.

The observation strategy implemented by the support group and the steering group aims to have at least 25% of employees active as observers. Each observer is committed to carrying out four observations per month.

Management’s role here is fundamental in consolidating the results and ensuring participation. The support group and the facilitator guarantee the necessary resources for observation objectives, carried out monthly for each business area.

What’s next?

Despite good results over the last two years, management at the Montataire site is well aware that they still have to be careful. Where safety is concerned, there is always an ongoing risk, which is why management has set three priorities for their safety development plan:

  1. Continue to train new observers;
  2. Plan coaching sessions for observers with full support from leadership;
  3. Analyse observation data to eliminate behavioural barriers and to communicate action plans to all site employees.

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