H&L Services has specialized in loading and unloading general cargo from containers or trucks on site for almost twenty years. Patrick Tjolle has been part of the team for fifteen years, in various positions. Today he is responsible for office management, but his experience allows him to respond very quickly to operations and he knows all about safe loading and unloading.
“I’ve seen a lot in my career – including in my previous life, when I worked in booth construction and events – and what always came back to me: things that were on the edge in terms of safety and prevention, or way over it. Yes, sometimes you have to do things against a time limit, but it doesn’t benefit anyone to do that unsafely, because often the consequences are irreversible. I also see it in various ways: forklifts just scrambling because the hired interimmers aren’t adequately trained, loose packaging, and so on. Such behavior will not be tolerated at H&L Services. Safety is far too important, especially in an ever-changing warehouse environment.”
What are you doing to ensure safety?
“We have an app from hr with all the information, both in terms of wages and vacation requests and around safety. Not only does everyone know via the app who specifically comes here to load or unload, it is also a communication tool. If a near-accident has happened, I immediately send a message to all to report it via the app, so that an actual accident can be avoided in the future. That’s how you create awareness, and for that reason we have very, very few accidents here.”
You also invest heavily in training.
“At the request of the employees themselves moreover! We provide internal and external training courses every year. Everyone here gets a BT certificate (operator of an electric pallet truck, ed.) within a year. But we also have the really motivated employees follow advanced training courses, which sometimes just serve as a refresher.
“What we also do is stop work if something almost happened, and explain for ten minutes what was going on and how it can be avoided in the future. That kind of thing is fed back very quickly by the team leaders, who immediately call employees to account for reckless or careless behavior, making safety a real constant. It has to be, because safety is something you never get done with. Even the most experienced employees can know of a fatal accident, and often it is in avoidable circumstances. By the way, our people are also coached to address that in a constructive way, so that employees do not feel attacked when they are called on their behavior.”