Occupational Safety and Health/Disaster Prevention
Occupational Safety and Health
Goals and Achievements of Major Initiatives
Ensure occupational safety and health.
|Goals for fiscal year 2020||Reduce frequency of occupational accidents resulting in workdays lost.
DIC Group in Japan: 1.80
Greater China: 1.20
Asia–Pacific region: 2.00
Americas and Europe: 8.00
(Global DIC Group: 4.51)
|Achievements in fiscal year 2020||Reductions achieved:
DIC Group in Japan: 2.51
Greater China: 2.29
Asia–Pacific region: 1.13
Americas and Europe: 5.63
(Global DIC Group: 3.56)
|Goals for fiscal year 2021||Reduce frequency of occupational accidents resulting in workdays lost.
DIC Group in Japan: 1.80
Greater China: 1.00
Asia–Pacific region: 1.50
Americas and Europe: 8.00
(Global DIC Group: 4.35)
|Goals for fiscal year 2020||
|Achievements in fiscal year 2020||
|Goals for fiscal year 2021||
- Evaluations are based on self-evaluations of current progress.
Key: ★★★ = Excellent; ★★ = Satisfactory; ★ = Still needs work
Policies and Organization
Viewing the prioritization of operational safety as a core management tenet, the DIC Group works tirelessly to prevent accidents and disasters and to boost the level of ESH initiatives.
The DIC Group recognizes operational safety both as fundamental to its businesses and the core component of Responsible Care. The Company thus promotes active occupational safety and health, security and disaster prevention measures to foster a “Safety First” philosophy Groupwide and on the part of every employee.
Because its operations span diverse fields, the DIC Group has numerous processes that use hazardous and toxic materials and rotating devices, including ones that do not involve chemical reactions. Any accident involving such materials or devices has the potential to significantly impact society in general and damage the health of Group and partner company employees and local residents. With the aim of preventing such accidents, the DIC Group has earned the International Organization for Standardization’s Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) certification and, based on the results of stringent risk assessments, places a high priority on reducing risks in the workplace by enhancing awareness of Principles of Safe Conduct and training highly perceptive safety personnel. The Group also strives to enhance safety through efforts to reinforce its safety infrastructure and create a safety-oriented corporate culture.
Framework for Promotion
Under the supervision of the Sustainability Committee chair (president and CEO), the Responsible Care Department and the Safety and Environment groups of Group companies, plants and research laboratories collaborate to promote a variety of initiatives. The Responsible Care Department holds meetings regularly with site Safety and Environment groups to exchange information, as well as to confirm the status of priority issues and achieve targets and manage the progress of related efforts. To ensure the continuous improvement of occupational safety and health overseas, the Responsible Care Department and regional headquarters work together to conduct Group company–specific risk assessments, analyze occupational accidents and promote remedial measures.
Believing that it is important for management to take the lead in promoting the idea of “Safety First,” managing executive officer Naoyoshi Furuta prepares a monthly memo for distribution to each individual employee as part of a campaign dubbed “Learning from the Past and Implementing Practical Solutions.” Each memo presents a recent actual occupational accident or introduces occupational accidents that are likely to occur at specific times—e.g., heat stroke in summer or static electricity– related accidents in winter—and based thereupon suggests possible countermeasures. This memo is also read out once a month at a morning assembly at each site to promote awareness among employees and encourage a common understanding.
Principal Initiatives in Fiscal Year 2020
Status of Occupational Accidents
The DIC Group sets targets for occupational accidents and promotes a variety of initiatives around the world with the aim of eliminating such accidents. Of particular note, the Group sets domestic and overseas targets for total recordable incident rate (TRIR), calculated as the number of casualties (i.e., persons injured or killed) due to occupational accidents --both those resulting in workdays lost and those not resulting in workdays lost --per million work hours. In fiscal year 2020, the Group's domestic TRIR was 2.51, down 14% from the previous fiscal year and exceeding its target of 1.80 for the period. The TRIR for the global DIC Group was 3.56, down 7% and significantly better than its 4.51 target. The number of casualties due to occupational accidents resulting in workdays lost at Group sites outside Japan was 70. None of the occupational accidents reported by DIC Group sites worldwide in fiscal year 2020 involved fatalities.
Looking ahead, the Group will continue working to analyze the causes of occupational accidents resulting in workdays lost and to reflect its findings in concrete improvements with the goal of preventing such accidents in the future.
Efforts to Foster a Safety-Conscious Corporate Culture
In line with the its “Safety First” philosophy, the DIC Group works to foster a safety-conscious corporate culture. In fiscal year 2011, personnel in charge of safety at plants belonging to DIC and subsidiary DIC Graphics created Safe Corporate Climate Cultivation working groups. In addition to meeting regularly to discuss and exchange proposals regarding safety policies and measures, these working groups advise the Sustainability Committee and other bodies and promote a variety of key initiatives.
Basic Initiatives Aimed at Preventing Occupational Accidents
Aggregating and Publishing Occupational Safety and Health Data as a Monthly Report
The DIC Group conducts its diverse businesses in accordance with a wide range of national and regional legal systems, working conditions and practices. The risk of accidents and disasters varies from one industry to another because of differences in the facilities, machinery and raw materials used. For the entire Group to work as one to improve occupational safety and health, it is therefore crucial to establish appropriate benchmarks for each region.
DIC promotes the sharing of statistical data on accidents, disasters and reporting procedures for each region, as well as the gathering and sharing of statistical information related to occupational safety. This approach makes it possible to objectively compare and evaluate the operational safety of individual Group companies, establish precise targets for individual countries and regions, and formulate improvement programs.
In fiscal year 2015, the DIC Group established a system for aggregating monthly occupational safety and health data for individual Group companies in Greater China and the Asia–Pacific region and publishing it as a monthly report. This made it easier to more swiftly identify and compare working hours, the number of accidents resulting in workdays lost, occupational accident frequency rate and other monthly data for these regions, thereby further enhancing Groupwide management and regional performances. In fiscal year 2019, the Group introduced the DECS, a system for recording and storing this data in the cloud to facilitate centralized management.
Conducting Risk Assessments
By understanding potential risks in production processes, facilities and devices, and the hazards of chemical substances, the DIC Group systematically prepares initiatives to prevent accidents and occupational injuries. In Japan, the Group has formulated guidelines for conducting risk assessments when deploying new or modified equipment or changing production processes to identify and evaluate the impact on employees and the community from design through to operation.
With the aim of reducing risks associated with chemical substances in Japan, since fiscal year 2015 the DIC Group has created a framework to facilitate the methodical implementation of risk assessments in line with the policy set forth by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Of particular note, in fiscal year 2016 the Group formulated proprietary assessment guidelines, including for assessment procedures, and is considering measures to evaluate hazards and toxicity and lower risks associated with chemicals set forth in Japan’s Poisonous and Deleterious Substances Control Act, such as modifying and improving practices for handling such substances. Individual sites have created risk assessment frameworks and developed three-year plans to govern initiatives. The progress of these risk assessments is confirmed through ESH audits.
DIC’s Yokkaichi Plant Receives Award as Excellent Safety Site from the Mie Federation of Labor Standards Associations
In October 2019, DIC’s Yokkaichi Plant, located in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture, received an award as a site with an excellent occupational safety performance from the Mie Federation of Labor Standards Associations. High marks were given to the plant’s more than 15 consecutive years of accident- and disaster-free operations (5,562 days as of September 30, 2019) and its extensive record of occupational safety and health initiatives, which include conducting occupational safety and health patrols and implementing safety education and assessing risks associated with facilities and chemical substances based on an annual educational plan. Going forward, the Yokkaichi Plant will continue to promote purposeful occupational safety and health initiatives with the aim of serving as a model for the DIC Group, as well as the chemicals industry as a whole.
Education and Training
Promoting E-Learning–Based Training for Employees
To enhance its ESH and disaster prevention capabilities, the DIC Group recognizes the importance of ensuring that all of its employees gain a broad understanding of chemical substances, production processes, and pertinent laws and regulations. In fiscal year 2016, the Group introduced an e-learning program on a trial basis. Having verified the appropriateness of educational materials from the program from the perspective of Responsible Care Department specialists, site ESH officers and production departments. The program, which is structured around laws and regulations pertinent to the operation of production facilities, including the Fire Service Act, the Air Pollution Control Law and the High Pressure Gas Safety Act, was introduced formally for DIC Group companies in Japan in fiscal year 2017, with 137 employees registering to take part. Participants can take up to 16 classes and must score above 80 points to earn certification. A total of 276 employees took part in fiscal year 2018, while in fiscal year 2019 participants numbered 265.
Training Skilled Safety Personnel
To foster skilled safety personnel, the DIC Group provides regular safety education and training on how to handle chemical substances using online resources such as the Principles of Safe Conduct guidebook and the Group’s Occupational Accident Case Studies database, as well as its Environment and Safety Guidelines for the R&D Department and safety data sheets (SDSs). Principles of Safe Conduct has been translated into several languages for use by overseas Group companies and is used widely in Greater China and the Asia–Pacific region. The fifth edition of the guidebook, which is updated every 10 years, was published in fiscal year 2018. An animated version based on the fifth edition was also launched in the same year, the Chinese- and English-language versions of which are currently being used as an educational tool.
The DIC Group also focuses on Kiken Yochi Training (KYT) (“hazard prediction training”) and hands-on safety training on a global basis. In addition to expanding use of KYT, a constructive technique to further increase safety awareness, to all Group companies in Japan, the Group is accelerating deployment in Greater China and the Asia–Pacific region.
Hands-On Safety Training
The DIC Group’s full-fledged hands-on safety training program began in 2012 with the introduction of a mobile initiative using equipment transported from site to site. Since fiscal year 2013, the Group has installed permanent training equipment in Japan (six sites), the PRC (three sites), Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Thailand. Over the past few years, these and other initiatives have helped to almost halve the occupational accident frequency rate* at DIC Group sites in Japan. The Group’s hands-on safety training simulates common production floor accidents—including those involving entanglement in rotating devices, falls from high places and incised wounds caused by cutting equipment—based on actual previous examples with the aim of reducing employees’ willingness to accept risks and fostering their ability to recognize danger. In doing so, the Group seeks to transform the mindset of employees by encouraging them to think and act on their own to protect themselves and each other from latent risks.
- The frequency rate expresses the frequency of accidents resulting in workdays lost, calculated as the number of deaths or injuries per million work hours.
Policies and Organization
Any fire, explosion or leak of hazardous substances from a chemicals plant could have a tremendous impact on local residents and the rest of the community and damage the health of employees, including those of partner companies. In addition to establishing a security management system to prevent such accidents, the DIC Group operates and maintains its facilities in line with pertinent laws and regulations. The Group regularly conducts emergency drills and has earthquake and other response measures in place.
To ensure the safety of production equipment, the DIC Group undertakes risk assessments at every stage, from development through to disposal. In 2013, the Group also formulated the DIC Process Risk Management (PRM) Guidelines*, which consist of four assessment techniques and implementation timetables for each and is used to facilitate risk assessments at individual sites. Since identifying priority risks in fiscal year 2016 to aid in effective BCP, the DIC Group has taken steps to reinforce emergency response drills and other initiatives.
- The guidelines outline timetables and implementation frameworks for assessing the handling of chemical substances, production processes, production formulas, machinery and work practices with the aim of comprehensively identifying and steadily reducing risks associated with production and R&D processes.
Framework for Promotion
Under the supervision of the Sustainability Committee chair (currently the president and CEO), the Responsible Care Department and the Safety and Environment groups of Group companies, plants and research laboratories collaborate to promote a variety of initiatives. The Responsible Care Department holds meetings regularly with site Safety and Environment groups to exchange information, as well as to confirm the status of priority issues and achieve targets and manage the progress of related efforts.
Principal Initiatives in Fiscal Year 2020
Status of Facility Accidents
On August 3, 2019, DIC reported an accident at the Saitama Plant involving a major fire in which a hazardous materials warehouse burned to the ground. Regrettably, this accident–the cause of which remains under investigation–caused a major disruption to the local community. There was also one accident involving a fire at a DIC Group site in Malaysia on September 9. Fortunately, no casualties resulted from either of these accidents, To prevent recurrence, the Group is currently reviewing its disaster prevention equipment and safety management systems.
Process Safety Management
Since fiscal year 2019, DIC has calculated process safety accidents at DIC Group sites in Japan in accordance with ICCA guidelines. The Group reported four process safety accidents in fiscal year 2020. The process safety accident frequency rate—the number of such accidents per 200,000 work hours—was 0.073.
Facility Safety Assessment
DIC Group production facilities have an array of application-specific equipment, ranging from units where chemical reactions are conducted to machine presses and other processing equipment. When modifying processes or upgrading/replacing equipment, the Group assesses safety at every stage, from process design and construction through to operation, maintenance and final disposal, in line with risk assessment guidelines for reaction formulas, processes and equipment, to ensure higher safety levels for new processes and facilities. In fiscal year 2015, DIC revised risk assessment guidelines for machinery and equipment and prepared educational materials to prevent electrostatic accidents.
Accident and Disaster Analysis and Timely Information
DIC collects and compiles information on internal and external accidents, disasters and problems into its Occupational Accident Case Studies and Accident Case Studies databases. After identifying the causes of accidents or problems, establishing points to be checked and formulating countermeasures, the Company incorporates database information into safety education for DIC and DIC Group companies in Japan and overseas.
Assessment by the Safety Competency Enhancement Center
A company’s safety competency can be defined as its ability to maintain safety levels at its various sites. In fiscal year 2013, DIC introduced an assessment system* as a means of objectively evaluating and enhancing its safety competency. This system was developed by the Japan Society of Safety Engineering (JSSE) and engineers in the chemicals industry as a common benchmark and is currently used by companies in Japan that are members of the Safety Competency Enhancement Center.
To advance use of its assessment system, in fiscal year 2015 the Safety Competency Enhancement Center formulated a version for processing sites and a prioritized version that streamlines evaluations. In fiscal year 2016, the center reviewed and revamped criteria for assessing safety infrastructure, as a result of which application of the system has expanded to include non-chemicals industry companies. Safety Competency Enhancement Center inspections were conducted at the Yokkaichi and Saitama plants in fiscal year 2017, the Komaki and Sakai plants in fiscal year 2018 and the Chiba and Tatebayashi plants in fiscal year 2019, with each facility using assessment results to implement further improvements. In December 2019, DIC asked the center to provide the Company’s president and CEO with an overall report on the results of the six inspections conducted to date, facilitating the sharing of information regarding safety and disaster prevention across the management team.
- The assessment system encompasses questions about safety infrastructure (technical considerations) and culture of safety (operation and management of organizational culture).
Initiatives to Prevent Electrostatic Accidents
Recognizing that static electricity is a key cause of fires for chemical companies, the DIC Group has organized static electricity safety sessions guided by an expert in this field at sites in Japan since fiscal year 2017. In fiscal year 2019, the Group expanded this initiative to include the overseas DIC Group. In March 2019, sessions were held at multiple sites in Indonesia, led by the same instructor that has a solid track record of leading sessions in Japan.
Overseas sessions in fiscal year 2019 were divided into three parts: An inspection of site electrostatic accident prevention measures, a lecture on static electricity and confirmation of areas identified during the inspection as requiring remedial measures. In addition to an academic component, these sessions included a demonstration of static electricity, which enabled participants to experience the relationship between the strength of an electric spark that can be felt by humans and the minimum energy required for ignition. The demonstration also included a targeted explanation about grounding and specific grounding procedures that are effective in preventing electrostatic accidents. The combination of academic study and on-site demonstration focused on measures to prevent electric sparks enabled participants to gain valuable knowledge about static electricity beyond what is possible with video-based training.
Emergency Response Drills
In addition to daily security patrols and periodic equipment checks, the DIC Group conducts regular emergency response drills based on BCPs, particularly at production sites in Japan and overseas.
DIC’s Sakai Plant Conducts Comprehensive Disaster Drill Using Nankai Trough Megathrust Earthquake Scenario
In September 2019, DIC’s Sakai Plant hosted a comprehensive disaster drill for the Sakai–Senboku coast*. Approximately 220 individuals participated, including employees of companies belonging to the Sakai–Senboku Coast Special Disaster Protection Area Council and the Osaka prefectural government.
The scenario developed for the drill was that a Nankai Trough megathrust earthquake with a seismic intensity of close to 5 has occurred, triggering a massive tsunami and damaging plant tanks, causing solvents to leak from tanks, penetrate the oil barrier and catch fire. Drill exercises were diverse and included measures to be taken immediately after a major tsunami advisory, confirming the safety of and suspending operations of equipment, guiding employees to safety, reporting circumstances to the fire department, rescuing injured individuals and extinguishing fires. This allowed participants to demonstrate skills acquired through everyday practice.
- The drill was organized by the Sakai–Senboku Coast Special Disaster Protection Area Council in line with the Act on the Prevention of Disaster in Petroleum Industrial Complexes and Other Petroleum Facilities.
Hands-On Safety Training
DIC continues to deploy hands-on safety training in Japan and overseas. Since fiscal year 2013, permanent training equipment has been installed at six sites in Japan and three sites in the PRC, as well as in Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Thailand. As of the end of fiscal year 2019, the cumulative number of DIC Group employees participating in hands-on safety training reached 9,000 in Japan and close to 6,000 overseas.
Initiatives in Japan
In fiscal year 2014, the DIC Group opened the Saitama Hands-On Safety Center, a facility boasting equipment that allows the simulation of an array of accidents, with the goal of fostering skilled safety personnel by incorporating hands-on safety training in new employee and rankspecific training programs. In the same year, DIC and DIC Graphics began including hands-on safety training and KYT in the training curricula for new employees. The Chiba, Sakai, Hokuriku, Saitama, Kashima and other plants have also established their own hands-on safety training equipment and curricula to further embed safety into the Group’s culture. In fiscal year 2015, the Group downsized six types of handson training equipment for lending to individual sites as part of a mobile training initiative. The Responsible Care Department places a high emphasis on fostering employee hands-on training instructors for this initiative and has established an instructors licensing system.
I participated in a program to foster employee hands-on training instructors.
Having previously taken part in hands-on training at the Kashima Plant, this year I participated in a program to foster employee hands-on training instructors that qualified me as a second-class instructor. The content of the program ranged from creating guidelines for assigned hands-on training exercises and practice in conducting training sessions. The latter in particular was a first for me.
I found the whole experience extremely valuable in that it further heightened my awareness of safety—the ultimate goal of hands-on training—and gave me an appreciation of the difficulty of the approach used in this training, which is to give participants hints that encourage them to take what they learn back to their workplaces to discuss with their colleagues and come up with answers themselves. I look forward to polishing my ability to conduct hands-on training in a manner that sharpens the ability of participants to grasp the specific objectives of individual exercises.
Safety and Environment Group, Kashima Plant, DIC Corporation Tetsuya Ishikawa
Initiatives at Overseas Group Companies
Group companies overseas are also deploying hands-on safety training. In Greater China, hands-on safety training equipment has been installed at Nantong DIC Color, DIC Graphics (Guangzhou) and Changzhou Huari New Material, in the PRC, and DIC Graphics Chia Lung Corp. in Taiwan. In the Asia–Pacific region, equipment has been installed at DIC Compounds (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd., DIC ASTRA Chemicals in Indonesia, Thailand’s Siam Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. and DIC (India) Ltd.’s plant in Noida. These companies provide hands-on safety training for employees across their respective regions, as well as education for safety instructors. In fiscal year 2019, the cumulative number of participants in hands-on safety training across the global DIC Group surpassed 15,000.