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Putting safety first – meet Markku Kiiskinen

August 9, 2023
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Nevel career stories – meet Markku Kiiskinen

Markku has been with Nevel since 1999. Since September 2010 he has been based at the Lieksa power plant in eastern Finland, first as a maintenance manager and for the last seven and a half years as plant manager. He is also responsible for the plant at nearby Sotkamo. Safety is of paramount importance to Markku, so we sat down to talk about his work and how he creates a safe and healthy working environment.

Nevel’s value “everyone gets home safe” is clearly central to your work. Why is safety a core value for Nevel?

Safety is important to everybody. After all, everyone wants to get home safe and healthy at the end of the day. Nevel wants to take care of employees and contractors, to make sure laws and regulations are followed and to create a safe and healthy working environment for everyone.

How can everyone play a part in making sure a workplace is safe and healthy?

Everyone should always have safety at the top of their mind, observing what’s going on around them and bringing anything unsafe to light. We all have a common responsibility to do this. Sometimes new safety rules might be considered unnecessary or burdensome, even though they’re for everyone’s benefit. Time always proves that they are needed though. For example, I remember when we first introduced helmets some people thought they were unnecessary – and now we’d feel naked without one!

What does a normal day look like for you?

I live in the Lieksa area so that is my home base, but I usually visit Sotkamo at least once a week. The internet is also a very useful tool to stay connected. Both plants deliver district heat to the surrounding area and Lieksa is also part of a saw mill, which is the plant’s biggest customer. We start the day with a morning meeting where we go through maintenance and process works. Then comes fuel ordering and making sure we have enough. For the last year I’ve spent much of the rest of my time planning process and balancing changes.

How have you improved safety during your time at Nevel?

I have carried out risk assessments and implemented safety guidelines, managed safety activities at the plant and made sure employees and contractors complete their safety training. We also have monthly meetings with employees where we run through the last month’s safety observations so we learn from them. This has also improved safety in my personal life – now I do risk assessments when I’m doing jobs at home too!

What’s the best part about working for Nevel?

I like that I have the opportunity to take part in developing the plants I am responsible for. For example, the Lieksa process has changed in the last year and that change is ongoing. The saw mill in Lieksa now needs more power for their kilns, so we are changing things to be able to get this to them, while investing in a fluegas condenser and heat pumps and making some process changes. I really enjoy the varied work.

When you get home safely at the end of the day, how do you wind down?

We have three dogs, two Nordic Spitz dogs and a Labrador, and they need a lot of exercise. I also like cycling – I covered more than 3,000 km on my bike last year. Aside from that, in the autumn I like to hunt. Obviously there are lots of safety precautions with a hobby like that! I sometimes go alone with my dogs to shoot birds, or as part of a group to shoot moose or bear. We make sure we’re in sensible locations away from the road and wear high-visibility red jackets and hats, staying alert and vigilant in the hunting area so we know where everyone is located. We also hold safety meetings before we start – something that’s very familiar from my work at the plants!


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