Health and Safety performance

Occupational safety

The human factor remains an essential element in safety management. In 2006, we set an ambitious safety performance target for 2010 aimed at reducing the total reportable rate (TRR) for injuries to 2.0 per one million hours worked. Quarterly reports on business safety improvement programs and agreed targets are reviewed by the relevant member of the Board of Management.

Since 2009, we have reported the safety performance of employees together with our supervised contractors. The TRR for this group has improved to 3.7 injuries per million hours worked (2008: 4.6 for employees only). The rate for independent contractors is 2.8 per million hours (2008: 5.2 for all contactors).

There has been a steady reduction in TRR since 2005, with good progress towards the 2010 milestone rate of 2.0, as well as more consistency of performance across the businesses. In total, 70 percent of our units are performing at or better than the milestone, representing nearly half of the hours worked by our employees. The Lost Time Injury (LTI) rate, indicating the more serious cases, stands at 1.5 (2008: 1.9) for employees and supervised contractors against the 2010 milestone of 0.5.

Our ambition for 2015 is to be in the top quartile of our peer group in TRR performance. We have broadened the definition and set the milestone at 2.0 for employees and supervised contractors.

Behavior-based safety improvement processes – which involve employees and focus on reducing unsafe situations and unsafe behaviors – are in place at more than 50 percent of our sites worldwide. These are being supplemented by the leadership training described elsewhere in this section.

Employees and supervised contractors total reportable rate of injuries
Injury rate
Employees & supervised contractors total reportable injuries / injury rate (bar chart)
Data for 2005 to 2008 for employees only. The total reportable rate is the number of injuries, including fatalities, resulting in a lost time case, restricted work or requiring medical treatment by a competent medical practitioner per 1,000,000 hours worked.
Independent contractors total reportable rate of injuries
Injury rate
Independent contractors total reportable injuries / injury rate (bar chart)
Data for 2008 includes supervised and independent contractors. The total reportable rate is the number of injuries, including fatalities, resulting in a lost time case, restricted work or requiring medical treatment by a competent medical practitioner per 1,000,000 hours worked.

Refer to reporting principles for details on comparability of data

Safe driving

In 2009 we began monitoring vehicle incidents. There were 457 incidents during the year, 31 involving injury.

In addition to existing on-road safe or defensive driving training, we have run successful pilots of an e-learning program for employees in the US, which were extended worldwide for the Car Refinishes business. In 2010, we will develop a company-wide approach for training those who drive on company business, with the expectation of extending the opportunity for an e-learning package to all employees and their families.

Employee health

As well as ensuring a safe working environment, we also focus on employee health and managing illness absence. Businesses implemented a health management standard during the year. The Total Illness Absence Rate has remained stable at 2.0 percent (2008: 2.2 percent). We will keep monitoring this indicator for the whole company, aiming to stay at a level around 2 percent, but will not set new long-term targets.

The Occupational Illness Rate for employees and supervised contractors stands at 0.4 illnesses per million hours (2008: 0.3). From 2008, our reporting criteria were expanded in line with the CEFIC occupational illness categories. The results indicate that 57 percent of the illnesses are caused by physical agents (noise and back/limb disorders) and 39 percent by chemical agents causing skin diseases and other effects. This data has allowed sites to focus their efforts on eliminating the causes, supported with guidance and assistance from the corporate health group.

Following a number of pilots, our Wellness Check Point program has been identified as the company’s occupational health tool of choice, with more than 3,000 employees currently using the system. This is a health initiative which allows employees and their families to prepare their own personal health risk assessments and health improvement plans. The aggregated, anonymous results will be used to shape local and business health management programs.

During early 2009, we were able to activate our Pandemic Preparedness Planning in response to the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Measures were rolled out per business and per country, focused on hygiene aspects and business continuity planning. We also issued a generic pandemic guidance note which will be applicable for other types of health threats to our employees.

Process safety

Drawing on the learning from the process safety audits carried out after the Baker Report, and best practices from the former ICI, we updated our process safety/asset integrity standard and management practices. A newly-formed global process safety network has developed additional guidance, training materials and a specialist audit protocol. Leading indicators to monitor implementation and support continuous improvement have also been identified. We are using “Loss of Containment” as the indicator for asset integrity management – four categories indicate the severity of the loss, from a small on-site spill to a major emission of toxic/hazardous materials (Level 4).

There was one serious loss of containment (Level 4) during 2009. In July, an ignition and 500 kg chlorine escape in Ibbenbüren (Germany) resulted in minor injuries to three operators. The incident was the result of a short power dip in the main power grid caused by a lightning strike. An emergency back-up system was in place but could not respond effectively.

In 2009, we introduced an improved hazard assessment methodology covering the full lifecycle of our assets – conceptual design, process design, project execution, project start-up and continued safe operations. Training for hazard study leaders and teams and other process safety specialists has already started, which means they are ready to support businesses in their management of process safety/asset integrity.

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