Health and safety

Safety, as one of our core values, is embedded into everything we do. We care about the safety of our colleagues and everyone we work with. It’s our vision to achieve zero injuries and harm through operational excellence.

Management programs in the areas of people safety and health, process safety and security help us live up to the highest standards in our activities and at our sites. Our commitment to running our operations safely is underpinned by our Life-Saving Rules and Golden Principle to stop work if conditions or behavior are unsafe.

Because we care about the safety of our colleagues and everyone we deal with, we’re all empowered to stop work for safety reasons – it’s the Golden Principle underpinning our Life-Saving Rules.

People safety and health

In 2022, we accelerated our life-critical procedures and Health, Safety, Environment & Security () roadmap program. We identified areas that need improvement in our own operations and put them on the roadmap with targeted plans and governance. We also continued to invest in functional excellence and the development of our capability in root cause analysis.

Our lift truck/pedestrian segregation program was successfully launched, taking a risk-based approach to prioritize the highest risk areas. We also continued with Behavior Based Safety (), focusing on increased quality through more coached observations.

We relaunched industrial hygiene and ergonomic programs and continued to actively manage occupational illness-related absenteeism. A stricter implementation of our two-wheeler driving policy though our 2022 safe driving program also reduced the number of two-wheelers used for business purposes and ensured drivers are qualified. Wellness Checkpoint continues to support the evaluation of psycho-social risk factors. Our approach to industrial hygiene and occupational health is backed up by a company-wide, digitally-supported compliance assurance process.

We launched our Mental Well-being campaign in 2022 – which resulted in more than 2,500 people participating in global training and awareness sessions – and offered more support programs in local languages.

In 2022, the total reportable rate () for employees and temporary workers was again low at 0.24 (2021: 0.21), versus an ambition level of 0.20. In total, 66% of our manufacturing sites have been reportable injury-free for over a year, remaining stable from 2021. The for employees and temporary workers remained low at 0.13 (2021: 0.11) and the severity of injuries remained low. The most common causes of reportable injuries remain slips, trips and falls. The most frequent injuries are fractures, cuts/lacerations and sprain/strains.

Unfortunately, a colleague in Popesti, Romania, sustained a life-changing injury, a partial amputation of their left index finger. A full investigation has been carried out and the learnings shared globally. There were no further life-changing injuries or fatalities in 2022. During 2022, the number of contractor accidents was 10 (2021: 6).

Total reportable injury rate

employees including temporary workers (per 200,000 hours)

Suppliers in sustainability program (bar chart)

The total reportable injury rate (TRR) is the number of injuries resulting in a medical treatment case, restricted work case, lost time case or fatality, per 200,000 hours worked. In line with OSHA guidelines, temporary workers are reported with employees, since day-to-day management is by AkzoNobel. For TRR contractors, please see our Performance summary.

Lost time injury rate

employees including temporary workers (per 200,000 hours)

The lost time injury rate (LTlR) is the number of injuries resulting in a lost time injury per 200,000 hours worked. Temporary workers are reported together with employees, since day-to-day management is by AkzoNobel. For lost time injury rate contractors, please see our Performance summary.

COVID-19 management has remained a focus throughout 2022. Most global areas are now returning to normality, with ongoing symptom checks and suitable quarantines thereafter. All AkzoNobel locations follow the guidance from local authorities.

Parts of Asia, China in particular, have been subject to further lockdowns during the year. Careful local management has ensured employees have been suitably protected and operations maintained. Special care was given to overall well-being during these periods.

Safety Day 2022

Solar Panels in China (photo)

During 2022, our Ansan site in South Korea celebrated 3,000 injury-free days on World Day for Safety and Health at Work. Pictured here is the site celebrating Safety Day 2022.

Our annual Safety Day is the moment for us to celebrate safety and reflect on how we’re doing. This year’s theme was “Learning today makes us safer tomorrow”, building on our human performance principles of “Be Human – Be Safe”. By sharing our successes and near misses, we’re collectively learning and improving.

Process safety

We systematically assess, manage and communicate the operational risks of injuries or harm that may result from the work we do.

In 2022, we continued our dedicated Process Safety Management (PSM) improvement project, designed to strengthen our processes and achieve leading standards in process safety.

To ensure our people, sites and environments stay as safe as possible, we introduced our Process Safety Fundamentals training plan for front-line workers. In 2022, more than 10,000 people were trained to identify and manage hazards and the program roll-out will continue in 2023.

During 2022, we also continued the deployment of our Basis of Safety standards, with a focus on resins, aluminum bonding and high-speed dispersers. The standards define company expectations for these higher-risk activities. Various engineering standards have been adopted: for grounding and bonding; flexible hose management; and maintenance of solvent storage tanks. Our locations have now completed gap assessments and equipment modifications are under way.

With 53 losses of primary containment (LoPCs) this year, we have improved since last year (2021: 72). The causes identified by our incident investigations mainly attributed the number of spills to operational discipline (69%) and asset integrity (28%). In total, 75% of our manufacturing locations did not have any LoPCs (up from 69% in 2021), demonstrating our vision of zero spills is achievable. However, 12% of our locations caused 72% of the spills in 2022. We continue to focus on those locations, ensuring improvement plans act on the underlying root causes.

Process safety events




Loss of primary containment – Level 1



Loss of primary containment – Level 2



A loss of primary containment is an unplanned release of material product, raw material or energy to the environment. They are divided into categories, dependent on severity, from small, on-site spills up to Level 1.


Our security program protects people, information, assets and critical business processes, both on and off-site. During 2022, zero Level 3 (most severe events) incidents occurred, fewer than the previous year (2021: 4). Theft and vandalism at our stores continued to represent the highest incident sub-type, which is similar to wider society.

HSE&S management foundation

Our company-wide HSE&S manage­ment system is globally certified against ISO 14001 and ISO 45001 standards. The management system consists of policies, procedures, templates and best practices to promote learning across the organization.

HSE&S audits are performed in three-year (for high hazard sites) to five-year (other sites) cycles. During 2022, we conducted 33 audits in total, 51% of them remotely and 6% in a hybrid format.

Compliance assurance is a key HSE&S priority because it ensures our license to operate and business continuity in a fast-changing regulatory environment. Our company-wide compliance assurance process is proactive and digitally supported by tools from a leading third-party supplier.

Pão de Açúcar cable car in Rio de Janeiro (photo)

Sustainable technology and responsible architecture blend beautifully in this visually stunning museum in Uruguay. Inspired by the shape of an ark, the futuristic Atchugarry Museum of Contemporary Art (MACA) is surrounded by 40 hectares of greenery. Our Cetol woodcare brand supplied more than 1,000 liters of products for both the interior and exterior, which help to protect the striking structure. The new museum is regarded as a prime example of how wood can be used for architectural purposes and not just for decorative applications.


Health, safety, environment and security.


Behavior-based safety. A global program run at all AkzoNobel locations.

Total reportable rate of injuries (TRR)

The number of injuries per 200,000 hours worked. Full definitions are in the Sustainability statements.

Lost time injury rate (LTIR)

The number of lost time injuries per 200,000 hours worked. Full definitions are in the Sustainability statements.