Results for Fiscal 2019

Safety activities notwithstanding, in fiscal 2019 seven employees suffered accidents and lost time. Most of the accidents resulted from inadequate safety checks and risk awareness. We need to improve employee sensitivity to danger with training in safe basic operation on a comprehensive basis.

FY15    FY16    FY17    FY18    FY19
 Number of people involved in fatal accidents  Tosoh 0 0 0 0 0
 Affliated company employees 0 0 0 0 1
 Number of people involved in industrial accidents
 (accidents requiring time off work)
 Tosoh 4 2 1 4 2
 Affliated company employees 5 4 6 5 5
 Industrial accident incidence rate  Tosoh average 0.73 0.30 0.17 0.65 0.31
 JCIA average 0.33 0.29 0.35 0.36 0.31
 Industrial accident severity rate  Tosoh average 0.02 0.02 0.01 0.02 0.00
 JCIA average 0.12 0.01 0.01 0.04 0.03

Action Plan for Industrial Safety

Tosoh is a member of the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association (JPCA). In July 2013, the JPCA established its Action Plan for Industrial Safety as a set of guidelines for its members. Tosoh is implementing initiatives to ensure safety in its operations based on these guidelines.

Industrial Safety and Health

The Tosoh Group engages in safety activities to eliminate unsafe conditions and behaviors that could lead to occupational accidents based on six concepts: ensuring safe basic operation on a comprehensive basis, promoting safe skill succession, conducting risk assessments for unusual or changing circumstances, pursuing safety initiatives to eradicate repeat accidents, ensuring logistics safety, and strengthening construction system.

Initiatives to Ensure Safety

President’s Control Room Visits

Every year since fiscal 2013, Tosoh’s president has visited workplaces at the Nanyo and Yokkaichi Complexes to share ideas on safety with employees. The president’s visits increase employee motivation through the president’s direct dialogue with workplace employees and lead to the sharing of issues between management and employees. Over the past seven years, the president has visited 221 control rooms and offices and interacted with over 5,000 employees.

5S and Hazard Prediction Training Activities

All Tosoh complexes and research facilities follow concerted 5S activities.1 Maintaining our complexes in an organized, orderly, and clean state makes it easier to notice changes in the conditions of our plants and equipment.

To heighten safety internally and externally, the Yokkaichi Complex holds mutual exchange meetings on 5S activities, including with other companies, in which it refers to case studies. Such meetings have the Polyurethane Research Laboratory conducting 5S patrols using external trainers.

The Tosoh Group, meanwhile, uses external trainers for hazard prediction training courses2. In fiscal 2019, we held courses at the Tokyo Research Center and the Polyurethane Research Laboratory. All employees at our Nanyo and Yokkaichi Complexes have completed their courses and are working to make hazard prediction training a common practice through follow-ups by external trainers.

Our Nanyo Complex employees announce their workplace hazard prediction achievements at meetings during which awards are presented.

1 The 5S activities for maintaining and improving workplace environments are sorting, setting in order, shining, standardizing, and sustaining.
2 Hazard prediction training is where small groups of participants discuss risk factors hidden in their workplaces and the problems they may cause. Participants learn to recognize hazard points and learn actions to be taken.

5S Patrols by the RC Committee Chairman

Promoting safety among employees calls for management to acknowledge excellent workplace examples of safety and to indicate areas needing improvement. The Responsible Care (RC) Committee chairman, who also heads the Environment, Safety & Quality Control Division, conducts 5S patrols to this end.

In fiscal 2019, the RC Committee chairman commended several workplaces that the chairman had patrolled for the excellence of their 5S activities, including two workplaces each at the Nanyo and Yokkaichi Complexes and one workplace each at the Tokyo Research Center and the Polyurethane Research Laboratory, and presented commendations on the spot. Initiatives such as this motivate employees regarding 5S activities.

Risk Assessments for Unusual or Changing Circumstances

To eliminate or reduce risks from unusual or changing circumstances, our Nanyo and Yokkaichi Complexes conduct what-if studies.3

The Nanyo Complex completed over 75% of its planned what-if studies in fiscal 2019. The Yokkaichi Complex completed more than 80% of its planned studies and is implementing measures to reduce any issues identified as high risk.

Both complexes intend to complete their what-if studies in fiscal 2020 and to work systematically to reduce their risks.

Tosoh undertook 50 risk assessments at its Tokyo Research Center in fiscal 2019. It also did a risk assessment of basic experiment procedures at the Polyurethane Research Laboratory.

3 A what-if study follows a methodology for identifying the sources of equipment- and operations-related risks that considers safety measures to combat those risks by repeatedly asking questions beginning with “What if…?”

Upgrading Education and Training

To achieve safe, stable, and efficient plant operation, we cooperate with various divisions to provide education in diverse forms that reflects the opinions of the workplace.

Over a three-year period, 1,827 employees have taken hazard prediction training courses and follow-up courses run by external trainers. We are always seeking to upgrade our employee education and training to help employees acquire ever-greater knowledge and skills regarding safe and stable operation through various practical education formats. This includes using risk experience equipment.4  It also involves simulator- and experience-based learning equipment.5

Number of participants in key safety education courses (Tosoh Corporation) FY17    FY18    FY19
Hazard prediction training course 300 893    634
Risk experience equipment training 219 317    332
Simulator and experience-based equipment training - 512    327

Risk experience equipment enables users to experience firsthand falling and being caught or entangled and exposed to liquids, static electricity, and other dangers in the workplace.
5 Simulator- and experience-based learning equipment allows users to experience the principles and characteristics of distillation towers and basic operating equipment in chemical plants. Employees learn how to start and stop tower operation and to respond to abnormalities. We’ve offered this training format since fiscal year 2018.

Disaster Preparedness Training

Tosoh conducts disaster preparedness training at each of its complexes, research facilities, and branch offices and at its headquarters. We prepare for contingencies by regularly conducting comprehensive joint disaster drills with local governments. Each of our complexes also conducts oil fence deployment and sandbag placement drills to prevent oil spills into the ocean.

We conduct various ongoing types of training in collaboration with residents and relevant government agencies.

Earthquake and Tsunami Countermeasures

Tosoh is increasing the earthquake resistance of its main facilities and is aiming to complete this work by fiscal year 2021. 

Our seismic reinforcement of our high-pressure gas storage tanks has been completed as scheduled on three foundations and one tank at the Nanyo Complex and on five foundations and five tanks at the Yokkaichi Complex. 

We are also seismically reinforcing such vital areas of our buildings as employee-occupied control rooms and offices, which also serve as evacuation centers in the event of an earthquake or tsunami. At the Nanyo Complex, we are rebuilding the main building, the facility management building, and the research facilities and earthquake proofing other critical structures, with completion scheduled for fiscal 2021. We’ve already, meanwhile, completed seismic reinforcements at our Yokkaichi Complex, Tokyo Research Center, and Polyurethane Research Laboratory.

The Nanyo Complex houses the company’s permanent disaster preparedness center. Its range of disaster readiness information equipment has been improved and expanded, and its initial response and information-gathering capabilities in times of emergency have been significantly improved by, for example, the addition of equipment for enabling exchanges of information with disaster sites via live chat. We have also successfully constructed a faster communication system for relaying instructions.

To protect lives in an emergency, we have established an emergency communication system and evacuation routes and secured disaster readiness supplies and equipment.

Renewals of High-Pressure Gas Certification

The Nanyo Complex renewed its certification as a high-pressure gas safety certification agency in December 2017 and acquired certification as a high-pressure gas safety inspection agency. 

The Yokkaichi Complex renewed its certification as a high-pressure gas safety certification agency in November 2016 and underwent an intermediate on-site inspection in October 2018.

Tosoh Group Initiatives

Tosoh has established the Tosoh Group Safety and Environment Net to share information on legislative revisions and on accidents to enhance group-wide safety, disaster readiness, and employee health. We hold Safety and Environment Net conferences where personnel responsible for safety and health management at group companies exchange information. In fiscal 2019, we held two conferences involving a combined 70 participants from 58 companies. We also had external trainers conduct hazard prediction training, industrial health and safety education, and environmental education courses coincident with these conferences that had a total of 125 participants.

Representatives from Tosoh headquarters, moreover, visit group companies and hold Safety and Environment Net meetings to confirm workplace conditions and exchange opinions. As of fiscal 2019, we are offering enhanced guidance at these meetings through, for instance, on-site input from third-party experts that grants group company personnel insight from different perspectives.

Risk Communication Activities

Tosoh is enhancing its internal and external communication, reporting, and public relations (PR) systems for implementation in the event of an accident. This effort involves holding disaster readiness drills at our business locations with local governments and residents’ associations.

We have also improved our PR system based on the public information handbook for coping with disasters at petrochemical complexes issued by Shunan City, where the Nanyo Complex is located. We have, in turn, produced a pamphlet summarizing responses and precautions for each of our products in case of emergency and distributed it to local government agencies and residents. In addition, we are enhancing our emergency PR system by installing broadcasting equipment for use by residents.

Accident Case Study Research

We believe that preventing the repeat of disasters and other problems requires determining their causes in accordance with fundamental rules and principles and devising and implementing solutions that tackle their root causes and not mere temporary measures.

Tosoh delves deep into the essence of a problem by asking repeatedly why the problem occurred and by comparing and analyzing in detail other accidents. We also share information and utilize accident case studies for educational and training purposes through the operation of our group-wide accident and disaster information database, which centrally manages accident information.

Promoting IoT Use

To ensure plant safety, we are advancing our use of IoT:

- Introduced shared monitoring system (for shared use by complexes and other business locations)
- Introduced operational support system
- Introduced abnormalities detection system
- Updated to electronic daily operational handover log
- Introduced telecommunications tablets for on-site use
- Introduced instrumentation diagnostic system (smart valves)

Preventing Accidents from Being Forgotten

To remind us of the November 13, 2011, explosion and fire at our No. 2 Vinyl Chloride Monomer Plant, we’ve erected a safety monument at the Nanyo Complex and are displaying documents relating to the accident. We’ve designated November 13 as Safety Day and on the day invite safety experts to speak. We also host safety activity conferences at the Nanyo and Yokkaichi Complexes.

Our fiscal 2019 November 13 activities included a safety lecture at our Nanyo Complex by Honorary Professor Hisayoshi Matsuyama, of Kyushu University, on how to approach risk assessment for safety and prevention. The lecture was followed by hazard prediction training (KYT) presentations from our various manufacturing departments.

We also held lectures and other Safety Day events at our Yokkaichi Complex, Tokyo Research Center, and Polyurethane Research Laboratory. We are instilling in our employees the need for safety.

Bolstering Preventive Maintenance Efforts

Tosoh has invested approximately ¥16 billion into equipment maintenance over a five-year period from fiscal 2015 to fiscal 2019. That investment facilitates our shift from corrective maintenance to preventive maintenance and the implementation of measures to enhance maintenance efforts.

In fiscal 2019, we carried out preventive maintenance initiatives, such as enhancing our equipment inspections and changing materials, on a theme of “measures to improve airtightness.” To prevent problems with electrical equipment and instrumentation, we revised our renewal and replacement cycle for electrical equipment for which predicting service life is difficult. We also conducted an analysis of problems to identify issues and implement preventive measures.

Chemical Substance Management

Tosoh complies with domestic and foreign regulations on chemical substances and implements safe chemical substance management as required globally. Tosoh also discloses information on the chemical substances in its products to facilitate chemical management across its supply chain.

Activities to Strengthen Chemical Management

Laws and regulations relating to chemical products have been established and revised in all countries that underpin the chemical management required throughout chemical makers’ supply chains to achieve the goal adopted at the WSSD in 2002: “by 2020, that chemicals are used and produced in ways that lead to the minimization of significant adverse effects on human health and the environment."

6 The WSSD, or World Summit on Sustainable Development, was an international conference on global environmental issues held by the United Nations.

Chemical Substance Management System

Tosoh introduced a chemical substance management system in 2016 to centralize its management of chemicals and ensure its compliance with all laws and regulations. As of fiscal 2019, we are a certificate-issuing authority for some of our products, which facilitates our swift response to customer requests to know what chemical substances are in our products.

We have, moreover, completed a database of the main chemical substances that we handle.

Product Risk Management

The JCIA is promoting voluntary initiatives, such as its Global Product Strategy (GPS) and the Japan Initiative of Product Stewardship (JIPS), to enhance chemical management in the Japanese chemical industry with a view to achieving the WSSD’s 2020 goal. Tosoh has participated in these activities since the JCIA established its GPS/JIPS working group and has implemented risk management throughout the life cycle of its products.

The JCIA is focusing its efforts on GPS Safety Summaries.7

Tosoh issued 12 such documents in fiscal 2019 and has so far released 19 in total.

7 The JCIA GPS Safety Summary is a document that presents the results of risk analyses and other information on chemicals manufactured and sold by a company in a form easily understood even by the general public.

Legal Compliance

Taking a new product to market requires notices, registration, and information on the intended manufacturing quantity in accordance with regulations in each country concerned. Tosoh stays abreast of revisions to regulations internationally to ensure that its submissions are in compliance.

In Japan, we register new chemical substances under the Japan Chemical Substances Control Law (JCSCL) and the Industrial Safety and Health Act. We also give notice of planned manufacturing quantity under the JCSCL. In fiscal 2019, we kept abreast of revisions to the JCSCL.

Overseas, we have registered substances under the EU REACH regulations.8 In June 2019, we responded to South Korea’s advance declaration regarding its revised K-REACH regulations.9 That same month we also responded to revisions to the TSCA regulations in the United States.10 As a result, we incurred no violations in fiscal 2019 regarding registrations or notices for chemical substances.

8 REACH is the acronym for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), a set of European Union (EU) regulations for chemical substances meant to protect human health and the environment. 
9 K-REACH is a South Korean law on the registration and assessment of chemical substances.
10 The Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, is a US law controlling harmful substances, also with the aim of preventing risks to human health and the environment.

Education on Chemical Substance Regulations

Tosoh educates its various organizational components and its group companies on how to respond to legal regulations on chemical substances.

In fiscal 2019, Tosoh held briefings on overseas legal regulations for headquarters, Nanyo and Yokkaichi Complex, research facility, and group company personnel at its headquarters and at the Nanyo Complex. Attendees numbered 40 in total. As part of our GHS system-related education, we also prepared a manual on safety data sheets (SDS) and label creation for group personnel and posted it on our intranet.11

11 The GHS, or Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals, was established by the United Nations to harmonize the hazard classification and labeling of chemicals.

Product Safety Audits

Tosoh employees work in accordance with Japan’s Product Liability Act to ensure safety by providing accurate product information. Our Product Safety Review Committee verifies the safety of raw materials and products and deliberates on legal regulations at each phase of consideration, from R&D to sales. In fiscal 2019, the committee met 40 times.

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