Our Health Is Our Wealth

From sitting and standing to lifting items and bending over, there are many things we do at work on a daily basis without ever really stopping to think whether we are doing them correctly. That’s why Linde MH’s experts in occupational health and safety and environmental protection are on hand to keep an eye on employees’ well-being. This is incredibly important, because very few people notice in time that their poor posture is damaging their back, for example. In 2022/23, Linde UK launched an ergonomics training course on lifting and carrying designed by a world champion in weightlifting. Other countries are now also following suit. The course includes short video clips as well as exercises and practical guidance. Bernard van der Westhuizen, who is responsible for health and occupational safety in Sales & Service at Linde MH, is delighted with the course: “The program is a great success. As well as providing effective training, it has also motivated everyone to pay attention to adopting a good posture.”


Design to Service

Van der Westhuizen believes that the course is particularly beneficial for service technicians: “They work alone, often under conditions that are determined by customers and not by us. That’s why it’s important that they have a strong grasp of occupational health and safety as well as their own capabilities and limitations.”

The job of a service technician at Linde MH is as exciting as it is diverse. Whether they’re working in the sunshine in a Spanish port, in sub-zero temperatures in huge freezer rooms, or simply in bad weather in the yard of a small or medium-sized company, service technicians manage their own workload, need to be aware of what they can handle, and have to cope with a wide variety of environments. With all this in mind, the “design-to-service” principle takes on a deeper meaning and requires service technicians’ ergonomic needs to be taken into account when designing a truck. “This takes time, but it’s worth it when you consider how much sick days cost and how much we lack skilled workers,” explains Hans-Georg Connor, Director of Health, Safety & Environment.

His long-standing experience has taught him that, in addition to ergonomic design principles, paying attention to employees and showing them appreciation go a long way towards increasing safety awareness. This has led the company to develop various initiatives aimed at ensuring managers take the time to visit their employees’ places of work in person and also keep engaging in conversations about ergonomics and health. In Switzerland, for example, managers now regularly accompany service technicians during site visits to gain better insights into the actual situations in which they work. Hans-Georg Connor welcomes this and understands that talking to employees in person always pays off: “Just go up to them and ask them how they are,” he advises. “This is really effective, motivates employees to make improvements to how they work, and shows that you appreciate them.” At the end of the day, people who feel noticed take better care of themselves.

That’s why the team around van der Westhuizen and Connor are delighted that Linde MH has now employed a health manager to give a face to the important topic of health. This further emphasizes just how much value the company places on health, while making Linde MH attractive to potential new employees.

Workplace Social Counseling Service

Taking care of its employees’ psychosocial well-being is also part of Linde MH’s proactive approach to maintaining a healthy workforce. A psychosocial counseling service run by the integration services (ifd) of the Workers’ Welfare Association (Arbeiterwohlfahrt) is available free of charge to employees at the company’s headquarters as well as in several Linde plants. The service provides support with dealing with crises and can put employees in contact with experts, counselors, and advisory services. Employees can access it anonymously and confidentially. Linde MH covers the counseling costs.