SENASA’s own Prevention Service (SPP as per the Spanish acronym) plans and implements the necessary measures to guarantee the safety and health of all people in their workplaces. Leading this service is Eva Rodríguez Mahía, Coordinator of SENASA’s Own Prevention Service, who explains how this area has been developed and all that it implies so that the daily work of each of SENASA’s professionals can be carried out in complete safety. Eva Rodríguez has a degree in Labour Sciences and has a master's degree in Occupational Risk Prevention in its three specialties: Occupational Safety, Occupational Health and Ergonomics, and Applied Psychology. Throughout her 18 years in SENASA she has been part of different units, involved since 2008 in the Prevention area and, since 2017 as Coordinator of SENASA’s Own Prevention Service.
What is Occupational Risk Prevention and what are its implications for SENASA?
SENASA has its Own Prevention Service from which the necessary measures are developed to ensure the safety and health of employees, thus eliminating or reducing occupational accidents and/or illnesses. The pillar of prevention in any organization lays in the Prevention Plan, a basic tool for which occupational risk prevention is integrated into de company’s general management system. SENASA puts the focus on people first, being this the First Strategic Line of the company’s Strategic Plan 2021-2023, which reflects the importance of people, their health and safety in the organization.
There is a basic regulation that obliges companies to include prevention in their management. The 31/1995 on Occupational Risk Prevention Act is the basis for all preventive activities applied to any field of work, together with the RD39/1997, which approves the regulation of prevention services. This is the basic legislation, but there are countless regulations that affect multiple aspects of prevention. This makes necessary for the SPP to carry out an exhaustive analysis of each situation that arises to give an appropriate response.
The SPP evaluates all SENASA’s work positions, regardless of their location, and groups them according to the risk to which they are exposed when performing their work activities to take the necessary measures to eliminate or reduce those risks. Due to the activities of the company, we have a wide variety of job positions: from office personnel to landside or airside inspectors, instructor, pilots, or aircraft maintenance technicians in hangars, among others.
Eliminating occupational hazards can be very difficult depending on the professional activity involved, but to minimize them, personnel are provided with information, training, and the collective and individual protective equipment necessary for the proper performance of their work. An office position does not carry the same risk as a position requiring work at heights. For professionals working on assignment at the client’s facilities, SENASA performs the coordination of business activities to ensure that all workers carry out their activities in compliance with safety measures, in coordination with the client’s Prevention Services.
Prevention is not only about people, but it also applies to facilities and the environment. The characteristics of a hangar are very different from an office and the whole environment in which the work is carried out must be considered. Everything is highly regulated to prevent any harm to people, or damage to buildings and facilities. The SPP oversees supervising the correct implementation of these regulations, intervening even when improvements, works, or other actions are carried out in the facilities to eliminate or reduce the risk of accidents.
As a training and examiner centre of reference in the aeronautical sector, many students pass through SENASA’s classrooms, who are mainly informed about how to act in case of emergency. Prevention also involves suppliers and other external personnel that develop their activities in our centres and SENASA ensures that all these companies comply with the regulations on prevention.
Whose responsibility is involved in prevention?
Everyone in the organization has liabilities, rights, and responsibilities in prevention. One of the duties of the organization is to provide information and training to the personnel. On their part, the employees have the obligation to complete the health and safety training that is provided by the company. There are three training courses that are mandatory for the personnel of SENASA: display screen training, road safety training, and home teleworking risk training. This is also complemented with the specific training required by each job position.
From the SPP we facilitate the equipment of protection necessary to develop the occupational activity as safely as possible: reflective vests, security shoes, gloves, earplugs, among others. Workers are responsible for its correct use. During the pandemic, we have also provided masks and disinfectants gels.
SENASA has prevention delegates who collaborate with the SPP. Together they form the Health and Safety Committee to ensure that all parties comply with their obligations in terms of prevention. At SENASA headquarters in Madrid there are three prevention delegates, and another one in the Salamanca. Likewise, the Occupational Risk Prevention Management System integrates Presidency and Management Comittee.
On our internal communication portal, any member of the staff can consult the documents and protocols related to prevention.
How does the SPP respond when an accident occurs?
In SENASA we count with an Emergency Plan that is activated when an accident or incident occurs. The Intervention Chief assesses the emergency to see if it is possible to extinguish it with the company’s own resources or if it is necessary to call in external resources, and then an investigation is carried out to analyse what happened and why, and to implement measures to prevent it from happening again.
SENASA prepares and trains its teams in emergency, alarm, and evacuation, first intervention and first aid. According to the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy of Spain, there were more than one million occupational accidents in Spain in 2021. The majority of all the accidents that occur in SENASA happen in itinere, this means, they occur in the way between home and work, or vice versa. Thus, a mandatory Road Safety Training has been implemented as a preventive measure. At SENASA, we have achieved a very low accident rate, thanks to the awareness-raising efforts and measures implemented by the SPP and the collaboration of the staff.
How has SENASAS’s prevention function evolved?
Prevention has always been present in SENASA through an external prevention service that oversaw the four specialties. When the number of employees exceeded 500, the company established its own Prevention Service, which took on two specialties: occupational health and ergonomics. The External Prevention Service, currently managed by Quirón Salud, oversees occupational safety and health surveillance.
Both services work together, thus speeding up the implementation of procedures, protocols, or any measure to be carried out, which undoubtedly contributes to reducing occupational accidents and occupational illnesses.
How has the COVID pandemic been experienced by SENASA?
COVID has been very hard on society, people, and businesses. At the beginning, almost every SENASA employee had to go home to work, even though there were some exceptions because of training or maintenance activities. SENASA always thinks first about people, their health, and their safety above everything, which is why we did not only implement those measures that were mandatory by the Government but were increased to offer a wider security for everyone.
From the SPP’s point of view, the COVID pandemic meant integrating new health regulations that were constantly changing, developing new protocols, and even increasing prevention measures to prevent outbreaks. All this was done with a continuous communication and making updated documents available to everyone. SENASA’s own masks, hydroalcoholic gel, diagnostic test for travel, adapting workspaces, building signage and work shifts, among other many other measures, were provided. The teams made great efforts to adapt to the situation and people were provided with resources to be able to work from home. The company spared no expenses in this regard.
The most difficult issue was to find the balance between health protection and continuing develop our activity, without sacrificing our services’ quality. Looking back, we can now say that we succeeded and that all the effort was worth it.
Now that the COVID pandemic is almost over, what challenges do we face in terms of prevention?
SENASA has adopted teleworking two days per week, which facilitates conciliation, that is closely linked to prevention. From the SPP, to evaluate the risk of working from home is such a challenge, because we cannot visit each place to evaluate the workspace situation. This is all new and the regulations on accidents when working from home, and their application in a day-to-day business, have not yet been developed.
Therefore, all SENASA employees must compulsorily perform their self-assessment of teleworking. The SPP helps with auxiliary objects that improve ergonomics and offers recommendations to make working conditions from home the most appropriate.
Now that we are returning to a certain degree of normality, we are resuming activities such as medical check-ups, and we have also launched a specific psychosocial risk assessment, which has had a satisfactory response rate.
We have also implemented the program “Your Health”, a series of online workshops to promote healthy lifestyle habits among the workforces. This program is made of different sessions about nutrition, ergonomics, and cardiovascular health, among others, and it is renewed throughout the year to offer a continuous program. It is an initiative that we would like to continue expanding and improving, because these types of actions are programs that improve our future quality of life.