Employees are key stakeholders of the Toray Group. Needless to say, ensuring their safety is the prerequisite to their capacity to make the most of their potential. Officers and employees work together to implement persistent safety initiatives with the goal of zero accidents, out of respect for humanity and the sanctity of life.
To raise the awareness, every year, the Toray Group creates a group-wide safety slogan. In fiscal 2015, the Group urged employees worldwide to always think carefully before acting in conducting their work, through the unique keyword of “Anzen Koh-Doh” (“thoughtful safety action”). The Toray Group is working hard to ensure that the message reaches all of its employees including those at group companies outside of Japan.
Due to the potential impact of an accident not only within the company but on surrounding communities, the Group places the highest priority on accident prevention.
2015 Safety Slogan
We Should Achieve “Zero Accidents“. Each of us does “Anzen Koh-Doh“!
~ “Seriousness“ “Motivation“ “Awareness“ ~
Every year, company presidents, directors, and worksite and plant managers from Toray and its group companies around the world meet at the Toray Group Safety Meeting. At the meeting, presentations on safety action policies and main activities, lectures by external experts, and activity reports from worksites are offered to raise awareness of safety. The Group’s employees are all united under the leadership of top management in working on safety activities with the aim of achieving zero accidents.
Furthermore, the Safety Summit, safety lectures by Toray’s directors, and other events are held on a national and regional basis, and at each group company and plant of the Group. These efforts promote a common awareness of the Toray Group safety slogan, policies, and main activities, enabling centralized management of safety activities across the Group.
- 2015 Toray Group Safety Meeting in Toray Human Resources Development Center
- Toray Group Safety Summit in Malaysia
Toray Group Safety Record
In 2015, a group company outside Japan recorded an injury to an employee due to a malfunction with rotary machinery. Toray also recorded a fire that caused an equipment malfunction in a building. To prevent such accidents from occurring again, the Toray Group is implementing a comprehensive inspection of risks due to the malfunction of rotary machinery at all plants, and is reviewing the procedures for managing accident prevention for equipment.
The Group investigates the root cause of accidents and implements measures to prevent recurrence with the continued goal of achieving zero accidents, making safety its highest priority.
Toray has collected data on all occupational accidents since 1980, and for the Toray Group since 1990. Information on past accidents is used by all group companies as valuable data for implementing preventative measures. Both the number of occupational accidents and frequency of occupational accidents resulting in lost work time have declined, compared with when the data was first collected.
Unit manager meeting to share result of worksite discussion on safety (Toray’s Okazaki Plant)
Meanwhile, the frequency rate for occupational accidents resulting in lost work time for the Toray Group overall in 2015 was flat compared to the previous fiscal year, at 0.14. Although this is a positive result compared with that of Japan’s manufacturing industry (1.06), the target of 0.05 or lower was not achieved. Therefore, the Toray Group will seek to scrutinize the essential causes of individual accidents to comprehensively prevent the occurrence of similar accidents, while also encouraging employees to think carefully before taking action and holding active discussions on safety at each worksite. The Group will pursue a wide variety of activities to improve safety levels further, aiming to achieve the goal of zero accidents.
Number of Occupational Accidents: Toray Group (Lost work time and non-lost work time)
Occupational Accident Frequency Rate5: Toray Group
- 5 Occupational accident frequency rate: The number of fatalities and injuries at worksites per one million cumulative working hours
Enhancing Safety and Accident-Prevention Training
As part of their safety and accident prevention training, Toray Group companies and plants provide workshops and hands-on simulations to sensitize employees to dangers and hazards. Safety devices are used to simulate dangers such as getting caught up in rollers, electrocution, and residual pressure. The Group also implements forklift training led by skilled forklift operators. In the area of accident prevention, the Group conducts simulation training to teach employees about the risk of fires and explosions, and provides training on the fundamentals of accident prevention.
Additionally, the Group publishes articles on safety and accident prevention in its in-house newsletter, People. In 2015, the newsletter published a feature that examined the basics of fires and explosions, responding to an increase in these kinds of accidents at chemical plants in Japan.
- Demonstrating the danger of fires and explosions at Toray Advanced Film Co., Ltd.
- Forklift training conducted at Toray Amtecs Inc. by a trainer from Toyo Jitsugyo Co., Ltd.
VOICEMessage from a Trainer for Plant Operators
General Affairs Department, Tokai Plant, Toray Industries, Inc.
Using Our Training Plant to Improve the Skills of Chemical Plant Operators and Enhance Accident Prevention
The chemical industry in Japan experienced numerous explosions at chemical plants from 2011 to 2012. To apply the lessons learned from these accidents, Toray’s Tokai Plant established a training plant in March 2014 in order to improve the skills of chemical plant operators and enhance accident prevention. The training plant currently provides basic training for younger operators, ranging from new employees to those with up to six years of experience. The training covers the following aspects:
- Handling of tools and pumps, and operation of distribution panels;
- Preparation of flow charts, and overview and operation of instrumentation and distributed control systems; and
- Starting, steady state operation, and stopping of chemical plant.
The training for younger employees comprises classroom training and practical training on the production floor, and covers plant operations as well as basic principles and operating procedures. Employees earn certifications after testing their understanding. As an instructor myself, I am continually working to find ways to maximize the understanding of our employees and their acquisition of the training content.
To enhance accident prevention, we established the following curriculum goals that have been implemented since fiscal 2015:
- Improve the ability to solve virtual problems;
- Improve the understanding of alarm and interlock settings; and
- Assess hazards using hazard and operability study (HAZOP) techniques.
Moving forward, we are planning to further expand the training curriculum and provide training for employees from other Toray plants and business partners.
Practical training (left) and training for distributed control systems
Implementing Safety Management Together with Subcontractors
Mutual safety inspection at Ishikawa Shokusan Inc.
The Toray Group recognizes its duty to ensure the safety of the many subcontractors working at its sites. For example, representatives from subcontractors are invited to participate in monthly meetings of Toray’s Safety and Health Committee. Safety meetings are also held regularly as a means to ensure that subcontractors are fully aware of Toray Group’s policies, plans, and measures related to safety. In addition, Toray encourages its subcontractors to actively participate in general safety activities, such as by submitting ideas for safety posters and entering slogan contests.
In fiscal 2015, presidents of 10 Toray affiliates that provide ancillary services for plant operations cooperated to conduct mutual safety inspections of their facilities. The inspections served to verify the progress of safety initiatives, by monitoring hazardous work including forklift and packaging operations. Personnel advised each other on areas needing improvement and monitored the progress of improvements.
Preparing for Accidents through Fire-Prevention Drills
Tsunami evacuation drill at Toray’s Ehime Plant
All companies and plants in the Toray Group are making efforts to improve their accident-prevention capabilities by carrying out fire-fighting drills specifically intended for fires and explosions. The drills involved spraying water as well as simulated rescue of injured persons and response to a chemical leak.
Group plants that are next to the sea conduct evacuation drills in the event of a tsunami triggered by a large-scale earthquake.
Initiatives for Improving Fire-Prevention Capabilities
In recent years, a spate of fires and explosions has occurred at major chemical companies in Japan. Since July 2012, the Toray Group has been implementing the second phase of its Fire Prevention Project to step up its fire-prevention capabilities.
In fiscal 2015, the Group continued to focus on recheck of ductwork and promotion of countermeasures, and deployment and penetration of the four key measures identified by an expert committee the previous year across the Group. Plants in which fire related incidents occurred investigated the underlying cause based on onsite audits conducted by the expert committee, and then developed countermeasures.
Four Key Measures Identified by Expert Committee and Activity Results
|Key measures||Details/objectives||Results of 2015 activities|
|Utilize fire-prevention checklist||Enhance and effectively utilize fire-prevention checklist||
|Enhance employee training||Review and issue fire-prevention textbook; prepare and implement company-wide fire-prevention training system||
|Enhance management of manufacturing process change||Standardize manufacturing conditions, work and equipment change procedures||
|Strengthen work security||Standardize hot work rules and procedures||
Distribution Safety Initiatives
Toray is working to ensure safe distribution in its operations. In an effort to manage safety when transporting hazardous substances, Toray concludes security agreements with certain customers, raw material manufacturers, and shipping companies to designate their specific safety responsibilities and roles with regards to safety.
Health Effects and Response to Asbestos
The Toray Group has manufactured and imported building materials containing asbestos in the past. In addition, certain buildings and facilities were constructed using such materials and thermal insulation containing asbestos.
Starting in 2005, when asbestos-related health hazards became a social concern in Japan, Toray took action to address the issue of its own asbestos-containing facilities. The health program offers medical examinations to current and former employees who handled even small amounts of asbestos and wish to undergo an examination. The Toray Group is working in good faith with individuals diagnosed with asbestos-related health issues by assisting with their applications for workers’ compensation and providing an ongoing program of medical examinations. The Group has not been contacted about health issues by residents living near affected plants.
The health effects on former and current the Toray Group employees as of March 31, 2016 are described below.
- Certified occupational accidents arising from handling asbestos (Toray Group): 78 (58)
- Certified health victims based on Japan’s Act on Asbestos Health Damage Relief (Toray Group): 8 (8)
- Medical examination recipients involving asbestos (Toray Group): 3,959
- Note: Figures in parentheses refer to fatalities.