"Occupational safety is everyone's business"
Behind the success of a company are the people who work there. Protecting the safety and health of our employees is a tradition at thyssenkrupp.
In a network of employees, many everyday heroes ensure the safety of their colleagues. Nico Schmidinger, a machine operator at thyssenkrupp Materials Services in Ulm, Germany, knows how important this work is. He lost four fingers on his right hand in a work accident in November 2020 and now appeals: "Occupational safety is everyone's business!"
"It can happen to anyone. You're working away and quickly become inattentive during routine work," remarks Nico Schmidinger as he tells us about his accident at work. The young man works at thyssenkrupp Materials Services as a machine operator in the materials trade in the processing of sheet metal. On the day of his accident, Nico discovered scratches on a roll of sheet metal. Together with a colleague, they want to repair them before the sheet metal is transported to the next station. "It's the kind of work you want to do quickly where something goes wrong," Nico says today, looking back on the situation. Together with his colleague, Nico tried to clean the machine with a rag. In the process, the rag and Nico's glove were pulled in by the machine and his fingers were crushed. Due to the severity of the injuries, four fingers of his right hand had to be amputated.
No way back
An accident that turned Nico's life upside down. Today, the young man is actively campaigning for the safety of his colleagues. He wants to create awareness for the topic of occupational safety. "Even if it's not always easy in everyday work, stay alert and always think about occupational safety," Nico Schmidinger appeals to his colleagues. "In industrial operations in particular, people work with heavy weights and large machines. If something happens here, it is usually irreversible."
"How will my life change?"
During the first few days after the accident, Nico fell into a deep hole and spent a lot of time wondering how to go on. But it quickly became clear to him that this accident would not change who he is as a person and that he wants to and can continue with his life. All his colleagues were very concerned about the accident and he received many wishes for recovery.
The machine operator was also worried about his private everyday life: "How will my social environment react? How will strangers on the street react to me and how will I deal with it?" In the time following his accident, Nico Schmidinger reflected a lot and often on what his life will be like after the accident.
Challenges in everyday life
Nico has been undergoing further training to become an industrial foreman in logistics for 8 months and will be able to return to work at the plant in Ulm this summer. He is able to keep in touch with his colleagues. Nevertheless, he is still struggling with the consequences of the accident. Especially the little things are difficult.
"What I still struggle with are the unexpected, little things that we take for granted, like writing and tying shoes," Nico tells us. "It's the kind of thing you don't think about until you can't do it anymore without problems or outside help." Nico's situation illustrates how important it is to think about your own safety and that of your colleagues while working on the job.
We are grateful for Nico's courage in speaking out about his fate and being a role model to others. If you are interested in OSH and occupational safety issues at thyssenkrupp, visit our OSH website to find out how you can get involved in improving safety at your site.
Safety Talk & Walk at thyssenkrupp Materials Services
In order to identify blind spots in occupational safety and to make work processes safer, thyssenkrupp Materials Services has made a number of changes. Particularly worthy of mention are the Safety Talk and Walks that have since been introduced. Here, work processes are run through gradually, scrutinized with a particular focus on occupational safety, and optimized.