Promoting health and ensuring safety

Decathlon considers that personal health and safety constitutes a priority in terms of its responsibilities.

Decathlon’s mission is particularly focused on well-being, in keeping with its aim of encouraging everyone to enjoy sport.

As frontline ambassadors for this message, team mates are particularly receptive and the company does all it can to motivate them in this way.


of team mates claim to play their sport regularly

At Decathlon SportsLab, we hope to bring our “body and mind” user approach to all our teams worldwide, by sharing with our team mates good practices that we have observed by watching people play sport.

Alexandre Abad, SportsLab Leader at Decathlon.
Alexandre Abad, Directeur R&D.
Promoting employee well-being at work. Alexandre Abad, SportsLab Leader, at Decathlon’s R&D centre, a research and development centre dedicated to studying the behaviour and workings of the human body in a specific environment
  • A few months ago, Decathlon’s SportsLab launched a project designed to promote employee well-being at work. How did this project come about?

    Both quality of life and well-being at work are part of Decathlon's DNA. At Decathlon SportsLab, we hope to bring our “body and mind” user approach to all our teams worldwide, by sharing with our team mates good practices that we have observed by watching people play sport. Playing sport, adopting the correct posture, instilling good eating habits and promoting healthy relationships among colleagues are all vital if we are to reinforce the fundamental principles underpinning our company. We are also investigating modern and accessible ways of instigating well-being, and began sharing these with team mates on our Villeneuve d'Ascq Campus at the end of 2015.

  • Which issues are you focusing on to improve employees' quality of life at work?

    We’ve decided to stick to issues that are important to those we're trying to help: breathing and cardiac coherence, work postures, meditation and well-being music. These are subjects that come with scientifically-proven warnings, which makes them extremely important issues for us.
    We remain open to other subjects, obviously, which is a basic prerequisite for any business, especially one pioneering innovation.
    Our goal is that, regardless of their role and geographical location, team mates can access tutorials or information designed to help them incorporate good practices into their everyday lives, and at their own pace.

  • How do you reach out to employees and inspire them to change their habits?

    Right from the start of this project, we’ve been creating a community on Decathlon's social network, as well as an internal blog. This enables us to promote the issue, and allow team mates who have already adopted good practices to, in turn, pass on what they know within their own teams. We have also organised sessions at Alive that enable people to discover relaxing music, explore mindfulness and achieve cardiac coherence.
    These techniques – which touch on areas of personal development - will only be effective if those trying them are actually committed to making them work. A patient and non-intrusive approach is required. The purpose must be properly explained and conventions explored in practical ways. The project will expand and grow organically, this being a long-term initiative.

numero bleu (2)
Decathlon France launched DECATHLON’s “blue number”

Launched on 1 December 2015, a telephone number known as the “numéro bleu” (blue number) aims to provide support for team mates in difficulty (guaranteeing full anonymity if the team mate so wishes), who can call it to request help with their day to day lives.
Any team mate, colleague or manager in need of help, support or advice to resolve either a difficult personal (health, accommodation, finance, etc.) or a professional (workplace stress, harassment, post traumatic event management, etc.) situation can use this telephone number.
On the other end of the line is a network of external professional social workers covering the whole of France, and trained to listen and advise team mates, and even visit them at their workplace if necessary.

Various tools (management, training, prevention, risk management, etc.) exist in order to ensure everyone’s personal safety, and this issue has been the subject of increasing attention for the teams working in the workshops, warehouses and Decathlon-owned factories, where working conditions pose greater risks.
Each country gives its new team mates full workplace safety training when they join (thanks to an e-learning platform and a series of other tools adapted by each specific country and sector).

Good practices to prevent accidents at work

  • AML, Decathlon’s French cycle manufacturing workshop, has introduced the concept of short warm-ups and stretches before commencing work.
  • Also at AML, workstations are rotated three to five times a day, to prevent repetitive strain injuries and preserve our team mates’ health.
  • In some stores, cycle stocks have been moved off the shelves in order to better promote them. In 2015, a study was carried out with a firm of ergonomics experts, to develop an effective system properly suited to team mates’ working conditions.
  • A safety officer supervises each store and warehouse daily, and takes decisions on safety issues, such as secure building entries and exits, evacuation, customer and team mate assistance in the event of an incident, etc. Team mates in this role receive prior training (evacuation, first aid, first responders, etc.) studying both the theory and the required practical skills.


    of all Decathlon team mates feel safe in their workplace

    Explosion in Tianjin, an example of crisis management.

    On 12 August 2015, a chemical warehouse in Tianjin (a port city in northern China) exploded, releasing a cloud of toxic smoke.
    A Decathlon store lies 2.5km from the explosion site, and within the affected area. This risk was unforeseen and the company had no precedent in this regard. Local managers and safety officers coordinated their efforts to ensure firstly that all team mates were safe, supported by the teams responsible for toxicology and those in charge of customs. The store was evacuated immediately and closed for analysis (by a team from Veritas), before the damage was repaired.
    During this period, nearby stores accommodated teams from the Tianjin store; relocation assistance was also organised for those requiring it.
    Normal service was resumed at the store a few weeks later, in an environment that was as good as new and completely safe for the teams. This dramatic event is now used as an example to demonstrate Decathlon team’s expertise: team mates who knew how to respond and coordinate themselves in the interests of employee safety.

    In 2015, three meetings were held to share good practices among country managers responsible for risk and crisis management.