Prima Furniture

Prima was founded in 1995 in Bjelovar, Croatia. It is the biggest Croatian manufacturer of furniture with 8 factories and an extensive retail network, 57 stores in Croatia and 8 in Macedonia. Today, Prima is also the biggest company in Bjelovar-Bilogora county and it employs more than 2000 people. All furniture is made from Croatian raw materials and is exported throughout Europe. Besides kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room furniture, Prima manufactures matressess and pillows along with agricultural equipment.

After I graduated from College for occupational health & safety in Zagreb at the beginning of 2010, I was doing some occasional surveyor jobs with a friend from one construction company in Bjelovar for the rest of the year. In December I’ve got a call from the employment bureau. They have a client that is looking for an HSE Manager that would be stationed in my hometown Bjelovar but would be covering all the company’s production facilities and chain stores across Croatia. Although happy about the call, I immediately said that I have no work experience in HSE especially on such a large scale. The company employed 2000 people at the time and had 4 furniture factories, a mattress factory and a tractor and agricultural equipment factory. But the woman interrupted and said that it doesn’t matter. The previous manager quit suddenly for personal reasons and they needed someone ASAP to come and be present for the audit that was to be in 10 days. I went to a job interview and we agreed on 1 month probation to see how things will work out and how will I fit in. The things worked out good and I stayed in Prima for 1.5 years before embarking on a private venture with a longtime friend.

My responsibilities in Prima included providing health and safety training courses on necessary safety procedures for employees, assisting external risk assessment organisations in conducting periodical risk assessments, cooperating with regulatory bodies, drawing up safe operational practices to minimize risk of workplace accidents, maintaining records of incidents and inspection findings as well as preparing periodic safety statistics and submitting them to management for review. Also, I organised periodical medical check-ups for high-risk occupations and advised on fire regulations implementation and best practices in Prima warehouses and on waste management.