At Northvolt, ensuring the health and safety of our employees is a vital element of our work – this is especially challenging at Northvolt Ett, where the intersection of production, commissioning and construction creates a complicated environment for the Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) team.
As Fire Safety Manager at Northvolt Ett in Skellefteå, Sweden, Filip Hedlund is at the frontlines of our health and safety work. We got the chance to catch up with Filip, as he shared some insights on his day-to-day tasks and the unique challenges of working with HSE at Northvolt Ett.
You joined Northvolt over two years ago, what was your first impression when you joined?
When I first joined Northvolt Ett, it was like stepping into a construction whirlwind. The organization was relatively small, and HSE was still evolving. It was a dynamic environment that presented both challenges and opportunities – and it still is!
Could you describe what a typical day looks like for you as a Fire Safety manager at Northvolt Ett?
Absolutely, although no day here is quite the same. We start our mornings with pulse meetings where we review any potential incidents and newly reported risks. It's crucial to get a holistic view of our safety landscape so that we can best determine where our support is most valuable.
After that, tasks are distributed, and we dive into various projects. These can range from managing emergency preparedness to strengthening our emergency response team. We also work on training programs for our manufacturing and maintenance staff, essentially preparing them to act in case of emergency in various scenarios.
We also support the construction and manufacturing teams in fire safety related topics in the day-to-day work. There are always lots of changes and new developments on site, and it keeps us on our toes.
“There are always lots of new developments on site – it keeps us on our toes.”
Right now, our work is more hands-on than what we intend it to be in the future. We see the HSE team as a support function, here to teach all of our colleagues how to be responsible for their own safety.
What is so appealing about working with HSE for you, especially in the context of Northvolt Ett?
HSE is all about understanding human behavior and ensuring the safety and well-being of everyone involved in our projects and operations. What's particularly appealing about working here is the diversity. We interact with people from different backgrounds and nationalities daily. The multicultural aspect adds a unique layer to our work because we have to consider cultural nuances in our safety practices. Additionally, the company's commitment to safety and its rapid growth makes this an exciting place to be. It's about pioneering and improving safety practices in an ever-evolving environment.
How would you describe our approach to HSE at Northvolt Ett?
At Northvolt Ett, we believe in "owning your own safety." We encourage all employees to take responsibility for their safety and the safety of their colleagues. While we have an HSE team that guides and supports, the ultimate goal is to equip everyone with the knowledge and tools to make safe choices. Our approach is holistic, with a focus on risk assessment, preventive measures, and continuous improvement. At Northvolt, we never compromise with safety or quality.
“At Northvolt, we never compromise with safety or quality.”
What are the biggest challenges you face in HSE, especially given the rapid growth and transformation of Northvolt Ett?
One of the most significant challenges we face is time pressure. Our projects move at a fast pace, and there's often a sense of urgency. Ensuring that all safety protocols are adhered to while maintaining project timelines can be demanding. Communication is also vital. People may perceive safety measures as obstacles, so it's crucial to explain the reasons behind them and foster understanding. Additionally, as we grow, maintaining a cohesive safety culture across diverse teams and departments is a challenge, but it’s vital.
Finally, what's something you've accomplished as part of your time at Northvolt that you're really proud of?
One of the achievements I'm most proud of during my time at Northvolt is how I’ve learned to adapt and finding solutions in my work. I've grown as a person, especially in handling unexpected situations and managing change effectively. Learning to prioritize tasks has been a vital skill I've developed during my time here, as it's crucial to keep up in Northvolt's fast-paced environment.
Want to learn more about Health and Safety at Northvolt? Click here!