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At Unica we operate according to the credo: we work safely or not at all! Safety is a high priority within all our activities. To ensure that this message is shared in easy to understand language, we have developed 10 safety rules of conduct, which are regularly highlighted and are an integral part of our national introduction programme.

One internationally recognised tool with a clear focus on safety awareness is the Safety Culture Ladder (SCL), also known as the safety performance ladder. In 2023, we achieved certification for step 3, demonstrating the importance we attach to safety rules and confirming that Unica takes responsibility for encouraging safe working practice. The next step in permanently reinforcing our culture of safety is to further embed safety awareness across the board within the organisation. For those companies that are eligible for step 4 of the ladder, due to the risks involved in the work they undertake, we plan to work towards achieving this certification over the next few years. Step 4 represents a level at which safety is shown to have a high priority and is an area for continuous improvement.

Almost 1,000 reports were made in 2023 via our Veilig Unica (Safe Unica) App for reporting unsafe situations or safety incidents, an increase of more than 70% as compared with 2022. The growing use of the app as a reporting tool is a positive signal, with the footnote that more attention must be paid to reporting in the appropriate category.

The accident frequency index achieved a score of 3.1 as compared with 4.4 in 2022. Once again, this is below the sector average and means that in 2023, fewer accidents occurred resulting in more than 1 day’s lost time, as compared with 2022. We will continue to work on promoting safety awareness within the organisation, and will expand our efforts for example by rolling out new training courses on our online learning platform Studica.

In 2024, the Governance Code for Safety in Construction (GCVB) will celebrate its 10th anniversary. In 2014, Unica was the only technical service provider among the 14 initiators behind this sectoral code, the aim of which is to structurally improve the level of safety in the construction sector. Since its inception, the code has attracted more than 1,150 signatories, who support the accompanying rules of conduct and safety protocols. As a long-term member of the core group, Unica has remained fully involved with this initiative. John Quist, CEO of Unica, is involved in the strategy for improving the culture of safety in the design, construction and engineering sector. At the end of 2023, the GCVB joined forces with the Aannemersfederatie Nederland (AFNL - Federation of Dutch Contractors), the ABU and NBBU, with the aim of improving the work safety of temporary personnel. This involved the establishment of the Covenant on safe working in the construction industry with and by temporary personnel, which includes efforts to improve safety training and the supervision of temporary personnel and self-employed workers.

Safety has both a physical and a social component. Over the coming years, social safety will remain one of our policy spearheads. Everyone must feel safe and in situations when that is not the case, everyone must be willing and able to report abuses. Our Spreek je uit! (Speak out!) programme, which has been embedded in our policy since 2022, is available to all employees and includes possibilities for the anonymous and external reporting of incidents. Training is available for managers during which social safety issues are discussed, while the policy is an important subject in our regular internal communication.

A third safety-related domain that enjoys prominent attention within Unica is cybersecurity. In respect of this issue, our aim is to safeguard the continuity of our organisation and to take responsibility for protecting the information in our systems. We operate a dynamic security policy that continuously evolves and adapts to the risks, market conditions and changes to technology and legislation and regulations. This policy is backed up by technical measures to counter digital threats such as ransomware, DDoS attacks and phishing, but also in respect of cybersecurity, awareness among all employees is essential. Via our online learning platform and advanced simulation programmes, we constantly train our employees to recognise cybersecurity risks.