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Note 7: HSE management processes

Management systems

Operational excellence at our sites is supported by risk-based management systems that follow the Responsible Care® and Coatings Care® principles. Our HSE management standards are set up and updated in accordance with international standards such as ISO-14001, RC-14001, OHSAS-18001. Validation of our process safety management standards with PAS 55 (public standard for process safety) will take place in 2013. Many sites and businesses have additional external certification for their management systems, which are subject to audit by our internal audit group and external audits from certification authorities.

External certification








in % of production





















Common Platform

A Common Platform of HSE programs has been launched in order to achieve company-wide consistency in all our HSE management systems. For the first time, AkzoNobel now has:

  • Transparency of performance information
  • Delivery of process safety excellence in line with current PSM practices
  • A best practice people (behavioral) safety methodology
  • A global approach to managing priority substances
  • A common HSE leadership training program

The Common Platform has given complete clarity to line managers and HSE professionals about what to focus on in order to deliver top quartile performance. Management focus and employee engagement at every level have delivered a reduction of 23 percent in the total reportable injury rate in 2012.

The common HSE systems initiative will continue to evaluate and implement effective common systems for AkzoNobel in 2013. Examples include the One Incident Reporting System.

HSE audit

The HSE audit process combines a continuous improvement tool for sites with a periodic audit managed by our internal auditing department. For most sites, the audit frequency is every five years. For sites with an intrinsic high hazard rating, this frequency is every three years.

During 2012, we carried out 56 corporate HSE audits (2011: 62) and five reassurance audits (2011: 4), which are required for sites with high risk findings. Learnings from the 2012 audits indicate that we need to continue to improve our management of occupational health, asset integrity and, to a lesser extent, security.

In 2012, the number of HSE lead auditors was increased. We run yearly regional training sessions for auditors in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia to calibrate the classification of audit findings and share good practice and new developments.

Management audits
number of audits

Management audits number of audits (bar chart)

Safety incidents

The company continues to strive for zero injuries and zero 13.4 safety incidents. We classify incidents based on severity of outcome, from local impact (Level 1) to the highest category (Level 3). The number of Level 1, 2 and 3 safety incidents totaled 23 (2011: 36). The number of Level 3 safety incidents dropped from eight in 2011 to three in 2012. However, we regret that two employees and five members of the public died as a result of these incidents. More focus has been put on the follow-up of incident investigation findings and recommendations, while both investigation process and follow-up are consistently tracked. Regional pools of experienced investigators are being set up to assist in local incident investigations and share investigation knowledge and experience.

  • One employee died after a fall from a platform while carrying out maintenance work at the Sheikupura site in Pakistan
  • One employee, a sales representative, died in a motor vehicle incident near Frankfurt, Germany
  • Five members of the public died when a site boundary wall, adjacent to where they had built makeshift shelters, collapsed during extreme rainfall in Hyderabad, India
Safety incidents
Safety incidents (bar chart)

Safety incidents (Level 3) involve any loss of life; more than five severe injuries; environmental, asset or business damage totaling more than €25 million; or extensive reputational damage.

Regulatory actions

We have defined three categories of regulatory actions, from self-reported issues (Level 1) to formal legal notifications with fines above €10,000 (Level 3).

There were three Level 3 regulatory actions in 2012.

Regulatory actions



















Regulatory Action Level 3: a formal notice of a criminal prosecution or penalty greater than €10,000.

Regulatory actions Level 3









Security management

Security of people, assets and information are pivotal factors to the success of our business and therefore remain an integral part of our HSE management system. Ongoing security assessments help our sites to identify risk and put in place advanced security protection.

HSE capability development

The HSE function has adopted the competency framework of the Integrated Supply Chain. The framework incorporates all HSE competencies required by HSE professionals and line managers with critical HSE functions. The profiles of key roles have been defined, including required competencies and proficiency levels.

An HSE Faculty was established in 2012 as part of the AkzoNobel Academy, providing core training and development programs for line managers, HSE and PS&RA professionals. The curriculum for line managers with critical HSE functions has been based on the competency framework, with special emphasis on training line managers in HSE leadership, asset integrity and hazard study. HSE professionals are included in the line management training, while product safety specialists have been trained in substance risk assessment. In depth modules will be developed during 2013 to meet the specialist needs of both groups.

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