Basic Stance on Industrial Safety and Disaster Prevention Management
The foremost mission of industrial safety and disaster prevention management is to prevent unforeseen industrial accidents, including fires, explosions, and the leakage of hazardous substances. At the same time, every effort must be made to minimize damage in the event of a natural disaster such as a major earthquake. Through these means, the Company is committed to securing the safety and peace of mind of employees and local communities. With this in mind, Sumitomo Chemical takes voluntary steps to put in place a safety management structure, undertakes stringent risk assessments of manufacturing plants and R&D projects, and works tirelessly to strengthen safety measures based on its evaluation of risks.
Fiscal 2017 Industrial Accidents
The Sumitomo Chemical Group achieved the target of “no severe industrial accidents”* in fiscal 2017.
However, there were three industrial accidents, which are minor accidents whose scale does not reach that of a severe industrial accident, in fiscal 2017. We will work to enhance safety management and quickly share the causes of the industrial accidents and the lessons learned across the entire Sumitomo Chemical Group.
- “Severe industrial accidents” refers to any of the following workplace incidents:
- Accidents that cause injuries to local residents requiring outpatient/hospital treatment
- Accidents that result in lost-workday injuries to workers on the site
- Accidents that result in equipment and facility damage exceeding ¥10 million
Sumitomo Chemical has a variety of industrial safety educational programs that reflect the operational roles of employees throughout the Company. The programs are aimed at bolstering the ability of employees to acquire knowledge and skills in order to ensure process safety. In addition, we provide safety education to Group companies in Japan suited to each company’s needs.
Examples of Safety Education
In-house Safety Management System Education
Fostering a deep understanding of the basic rules of safety management
|Disaster Prevention Theory||Group training||
Promoting the acquisition of basic knowledge regarding safety and disaster prevention for
|Fire and Explosion Training||
Group training and
Promoting the acquisition of knowledge to prevent accidents and perceive hidden dangers
Company-wide Safety Education
Training that covers the latest topics each fiscal year
Based on the Corporate Policy on Safety, the Environment and Product Quality, Sumitomo Chemical performs safety and environmental risk assessments at each stage from new chemical process R&D through the commercialization process to plant design, construction, operation, maintenance, and even demolition. The items and procedures essential to risk assessment are specifically outlined in the Development and Commercialization Regulations, the Chemical Safety Management Regulations, the Safety Management Guidelines, and other similar documents that provide the standards for the Company.
Process Risk Management (Three Routes)
- Evaluation of New Processes
The Process Safety Review Meeting (levels 1 to 5) convenes at every step, from R&D through to industrial-scale production. These meetings are held to review process safety assessment results and the lineup of chemical substances handled by the Company as well as to determine whether safety countermeasures are appropriate. This mechanism ensures that processes do not proceed to the next step unless adequate safety has been confirmed.
- Management of Changes
When certain changes are made to, for example, improve plant facilities or modify operating conditions, the Company conducts all necessary safety assessments before such changes are made to ensure process safety levels are maintained after each change has been completed. As this system is utilized within the Company, it is well-known among Group companies and ensures risk management throughout the organization.
- Regular Review of Existing Processes
Even when there is no change in the process, Sumitomo Chemical conducts regular reviews to catch up with the latest information on industrial safety technologies and to check whether there will be a significant impact from the long-term use of a plant.
Furthermore, Sumitomo Chemical does not just identify potential risks in regular operations, it also shines a light on irregular operations, such as emergency shutdowns of plant operations and subsequent restarts. Since 2012, we have been working to strengthen our capabilities to comprehensively identify process risks. These efforts are not focused on achieving short-term goals. We incorporate lessons learned through our activities and achievements into the “Safety Management Guidelines” (revised in March 2017) to strengthen our capabilities of process safety assessment.
Sumitomo Chemical drew up a basic plan on earthquake countermeasures in 2004 taking the initiative to improve the earthquake resistance features of equipment and structures that were especially susceptible to the risk of damage. Furthermore, in accordance with recent directives by government authorities to improve the seismic adequacy of existing facilities, we made a plan to obtain required earthquake-resistant features of critical high-pressure gas equipment and are carrying out reinforcements and reconstruction in line with the plan. Before carrying out this work, we took measures to reduce risk and ensure safety, such as reducing the volume of gas held in equipment in order to decrease its weight and meet the earthquake resistance criteria.
Initiatives for Ensuring Safety in Logistics Operations
The Sumitomo Chemical Logistics Partnership Council was formed by Sumitomo Chemical and the logistics subcontractors (84 companies at 114 locations) for Sumitomo Chemical Group companies in Japan. The Council maintains committees for Works in each area as well as for logistical centers (transport and storage) and marine transport-related operations nationwide. The Council is expanding the Logistics Department’s Responsible Care activities. With regard to the transport of hazardous substances in tanker trucks and other vehicles, the Council annually holds a nationwide competition for tanker truck drivers as well as nationwide training workshops for instructing drivers on the basics of unloading trucks and on what to do when problems arise. In fiscal 2017, we were able to achieve zero lost-workday injuries for the second year in a row. Going forward, we will continue taking various measures to improve the situation toward our goal of zero accidents.
Lost-workday Injuries in Logistics (in Japan)
Number of cases
Note: Lost-workday accidents caused by logistics subcontractors on the premises of Sumitomo Chemical workplaces and lost-workday accidents caused by major logistics subcontractors outside the premises of Sumitomo Chemical workplaces.
Industrial Safety Action Plan
Industry organizations came together with the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association and drew up an industrial safety action plan in July 2013 in a bid to step up efforts aimed at promoting industrial safety. Here we introduce the Company’s initiatives based on the action plan.
- Commitment by Top Management to Industrial Safety
- Sumitomo Chemical has identified efforts to ensure full and strict compliance and maintain safe and stable operations as one of the Group’s priority management issues under its Corporate Business Plan.
- The president issues a safety week message to all employees and Group companies in Japan and overseas to coincide with National Safety Week, which begins on July 1 each year.
- We have held the President’s Awards for workplace safety on a continuous basis since fiscal 2012.
- Setting Industrial Safety Targets
- Each year, Sumitomo Chemical sets targets for a variety of key parameters, including the elimination of all accidents resulting in lost workdays as well as all severe industrial accidents. The Company engages in a broad spectrum of activities aimed at achieving these targets.
- Drawing Up an Action Plan to Secure Industrial Safety
- Sumitomo Chemical pursues activities aimed at thoroughly identifying industrial safety risks that encompass regular and irregular operations.
- Checking and Evaluating Progress toward Achieving Targets and Implementing Measures
- The Responsible Care Committee (“Organization of Responsible Care Activities”) reviews progress toward the achievement of targets and the implementation of measures. Findings under this review are reflected in the plan for the next fiscal year.
- Initiatives Aimed at Promoting Voluntary Safety Activities
- The Sumitomo Chemical Group established the ground rules related to safety and strives to foster a culture of safety.
- Sumitomo Chemical designates one day each month as a “safety day” in an effort to continuously focus the attention of the entire Group on the importance of industrial safety.
- Academic experts conduct seminars and undertake an evaluation of safety assurance capabilities by the Process Safety Competency Center of Japan Society for Safety Engineering.
Based on the core principle of “Making safety our first priority,” all of the Sumitomo Chemical Group’s employees will continue working hard to proactively and effectively carry out safety activities. In addition, Sumitomo Chemical will enhance measures to improve existing risk assessment methods and provide guidance and support to Group companies regarding risk assessment methods. We will continue working to further raise the level of safety management and promote greater awareness across the Group of the following matters: “managers of each level check the real situation to see whether instructions and countermeasures are firmly in place,” “strengthen workers’ thorough checking capability,” “when on a team, being aware of each other’s unsafe actions,” and “building up basic knowledge and experience and honing skills.”