Reflecting the core principle of “Making safety our first priority,” the Sumitomo Chemical Group has formulated five fundamental and personal safety principles that each employee is expected to follow as well as guidelines based on the core principle. All Group employees and all involved parties, including partner companies, are thus united in promoting safety activities with the goal of eliminating all accidents. Furthermore, the Group undertakes stringent process risk assessments of the entire life cycle (development, manufacture, distribution, use, disposal), and takes appropriate safety measures based on its evaluation of risks. The aim of these efforts is to prevent unforeseen industrial accidents, including fires, explosions, and the leakage of hazardous substances, and to minimize damage in the event of a natural disaster such as a major earthquake.
Sumitomo Chemical has acquired OSHMS*1 certification at its worksites. In addition, the Company implements PDCA cycles that support a host of measures on the path to realizing improvements based on risk assessments. These safety-related measures and their results are reviewed at the end of each fiscal year by the Responsible Care Committee, which is headed by the President. The reviews ensure a continuous connection to future fiscal years’ cycles, thereby strengthening safety and health activities that prevent accidents.
- By introducing and deploying ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 45001 and JISHA (Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association) OSHMS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) Standards equivalent to OHSAS 18001, the Company conducts sound corporate management and risk management from the perspective of occupational safety and health.
Core Principle: Making Safety Our First Priority
Raison D’être for the Core Principle
- Line management is fundamental to Safety and Health.
- Each person is responsible for Safety and Health.
- Sumitomo Chemical is united with partner companies on Safety and Health.
Five Fundamental and Personal Safety Principles that Each Employee is Expected to Follow.
- I will give safety and health the top priority in every aspect of business.
- I will identify and resolve safety and health issues at the source.
- I will comply with rules and instructions.
- I will act with safety in mind 24 hours a day, not just during working hours.
- I will cooperate with all involved parties, including partner companies, to ensure safety and health.
The President serves as the chief coordinator and the executive officer in charge of Responsible Care serves as the coordinator of the Safety Group of the Responsible Care Department. This group is responsible for matters related to safety, health, industrial safety, and disaster prevention of the Company as a whole and supports the safety, health, industrial safety, and disaster prevention activities of Group companies. To assess the safety, health, and industrial safety management status and to consider measures for improvement, the safety, health, industrial safety, and disaster prevention departments of each worksite and Group company regularly meet and exchange information. In these and other ways, relevant departments work together to steadily enhance the level of safety, health, industrial safety, and disaster prevention activities.
In addition, Safety and Health Committees*2 (called the Safety & Health Committee at some worksites) comprising labor and management representatives are convened every month at each worksite of Sumitomo Chemical and Group companies in Japan. The committees investigate and deliberate matters related to safety and health risks to all employees at worksites and promote specific measures in unison with labor and management. The minutes of the meetings of these committees are shared with all employees within the worksites.
Group companies overseas also share policies and initiatives related to safety, health, industrial safety, and disaster prevention through the Global Meeting and other meetings.
- Worksites with 50 or more employees
Goals and Results
Occupational Safety and Health
The Sumitomo Chemical Group*3 targets a frequency rate of lost-workday injuries*4 of under 0.1, but its rate was 0.50 in fiscal 2022, or a total of 44 injuries, failing to meet the target. Moreover, while the Group has set a goal of zero severe accidents,*5 a contractor at a Sumitomo Chemical facility recorded one fatal accident in fiscal 2022, the same number of severe accidents as the previous fiscal year, failing to meet the target. On a non-consolidated basis, Sumitomo Chemical recorded a frequency rate of 0.12 (lost-workday injuries:2) and a severity rate of 0.005 in fiscal 2022, while contractors and other affiliate companies recorded a frequency rate of 0.63 (lost-workday injuries: 6) and a severity rate of 0.80.
Frequency Rate of Lost-workday Injuries
Lost-workday Injuries (Sumitomo Chemical Group*3)
|Number of lost-workday injuries||35||27||40*6||26||44|
Regarding the fatal accident at the Ehime Works in November 2021, all management executives and employees have gravely accepted the seriousness of this accident, identified problems, and thoroughly debated preventive countermeasures. We have implemented the following initiatives.
- Revisions were made to the Development and Commercialization Regulations to include a method for taking intrinsic safety into account. A review meeting that confirms fundamental safety has been newly established and is being carried out.
- Using a third-party agency, we perform partnership surveys with each of our partner companies and implement necessary measures.
- Having performed a zero-based review of our safety-related activities to date, we continuously carry out these activities within the framework of our management system. In addition, to prevent a recurrence at Ehime Works, we are promoting facility countermeasures, including those to address root causes.
We reaffirm the core principle of “Making safety our first priority,” are keenly aware of our mission to protect precious life, and will continue working with all our might to ensure this kind of tragic accident never occurs again.
- The Sumitomo Chemical Group as defined for occupational safety and health:
Sumitomo Chemical (including contractors) and consolidated Group companies in Japan and overseas.
From FY2020 onward:
Sumitomo Chemical (including contractors) and consolidated subsidiaries in Japan and overseas
- Scope of frequency rate:
Employees of Sumitomo Chemical (including contractors) and consolidated subsidiaries (excluding one overseas consolidated subsidiary), including temporary employees, part-time staff, and dispatch employees.
Calculation of hours worked:
For the number of hours worked by consolidated Group subsidiary employees, the Company uses an estimate reached by multiplying the number of employees by 1,928 hours (Sumitomo Chemical’s standard number of hours worked annually).
(For the number of hours worked by Sumitomo Chemical employees (non-consolidated) and contractors, the Company uses the actual number of hours recorded.)
- Severe accidents are defined as those that result in a fatality or those that result in severe lost-workday injuries, including blindness and loss of a limb.
Industrial Safety and Disaster Prevention
The Sumitomo Chemical Group*6 achieved the target of “no severe industrial accidents”*7 in fiscal 2022.
In addition, there were ten industrial accidents, which are minor accidents whose scale does not reach that of a severe industrial accident, in fiscal 2022. We will work to enhance industrial safety management and quickly share the causes of the minor industrial accidents and the lessons learned across the entire Sumitomo Chemical Group.
Severe Industrial Accidents (Sumitomo Chemical Group*6)
|Number of severe industrial accidents||0||0||0||1||0|
- The Sumitomo Chemical Group as defined for industrial safety and disaster prevention:
Sumitomo Chemical (including contractors) and consolidated Group companies in Japan and overseas.
- “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 yen
Examples of Initiatives
<Occupational Safety and Health>
- Ensuring Thorough Compliance with the Sumitomo Chemical Group’s Basic Safety Rules (Ground Rules)
- Improving Hazard Prediction Abilities
- Sharing and Using Accident Data
- Awards for Safety
- Safety Promotion through In-house Magazine, Slogan and Poster
- Preventing Severe Accidents in Subcontracted Operations and Construction Operations
- Risk Assessment of Chemical Substances
<Industrial Safety and Disaster Prevention>
- Risk Management (Three Routes)
- Preparation for Large-Scale Natural Disasters
- Safety Education and Drills
- Industrial Safety Action Plan
- Logistics Initiatives
Although activities to enhance a culture of safety have taken root, we currently have not entirely eliminated severe accidents, including those resulting in fatalities. To bring these accidents down to zero, we measure the level of the safety culture of each workplace and constantly strive to make improvements as we strive to foster a culture where safety is a given. In addition, we promote safety and health activities based on international standards (occupational safety management systems, machinery safety, etc.) and will continue adapting as we work toward realizing a society where people can choose from a diverse range of flexible working styles.
In addition, we will further strengthen our safety infrastructure by carefully managing our facilities and construction projects, providing advanced training for safety-related personnel, and introducing sophisticated risk assessment methods and cuttingedge technologies, including IoT, to bolster our employee safety and industrial safety management technologies. We will also reinforce our responses to new threats, such as intensifying natural disasters and terrorism.