More inclusion in focus

October 2, 2002, 13:45 CEST

Today, 2 October, chief executive Olav Fjell spoke about Statoil’s challenges and experiences regarding a more inclusive workplace at a meeting with the Norwegian prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik.

Two hundred key personnel from Norwegian businesses participated in the meeting, where Mr Fjell was one of three business leaders who commented on their company’s experiences.

The authorities and companies in the business sector entered into an agreement on creating a more inclusive workplace one year ago.

Over 230,000 workers are employed in companies participating in the agreement. These companies commit themselves to following up people on sick leave and adapting the work situation for older people and disabled employees. The objective is to reduce sickness absence by at least 20 per cent in four years.

“An inclusive workplace is just as big a challenge for managers. They are the ones who have to readjust and take an active role with their employees, by discussing job satisfaction, working environment and sickness absence,” said Mr Fjell.

In 2001, sickness absence in the parent company was 3.4 per cent, while sickness absence in Norway was about 9 per cent.

“However, sickness absence varies considerably between the various business areas and professional groups, so there are still challenges to tackle,” added Mr Fjell.

In recent years there has been an increase in sickness absence. Statoil’s efforts within local care work have been important in the work of reversing this trend.

The group was already in progress with a local care project in the catering sector before the authorities joined in. According to medical director Signy Midtbø Riisnes, those who are excluded from work are the ones most susceptible to illness.

The local care project in catering won the chief executive’s prize for health, safety and the environment in 1999.