- Safety, Accident Prevention, and Environmental Preservation
- Occupational Safety and Accident Prevention Activities
CSR Activity Report (CSR Guideline Activity Reports) - Safety, Accident Prevention, and Environmental Preservation
Occupational Safety and Accident Prevention Activities
Toray Group pursues its own safety activities using occupational health and safety management systems (such as OHSAS 18001 and ISO 45001). In addition, officers and other employees audit all group companies and plants every year and evaluate and seek improvements in the status of their management of safety and health, accident prevention and environment from a standardized perspective. In addition, best practices are shared at sites throughout the Group to enhance the entire Group’s performance. Employees are key stakeholders of 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, Toray Group creates a group-wide safety slogan. In 2020, the aim was for each and every employee of Toray Group to give top priority to safety, pursue the goal of zero accidents, raise safety awareness before work, and commit to the basics of avoiding the dangers in work about to be performed.
Due to the potentially serious impact of an accident not only within the company but on surrounding communities, the Group acts with strong determination to prevent accidents such as fires and explosions, making accident prevention a top priority. Toray Group sets up safety and health committees and works to ensure the safety and health of its employees through united efforts of labor and management, based on occupational health and safety laws in the countries in which it operations. These efforts help to ensure a pleasant working environment.
2020 Safety Slogan
Safety is Our First Priority. We Pursue Zero Accidents.
—Raise Awareness and Commit to the Basics
Every year, company presidents and plant managers from Toray Industries and its group companies around the world meet at the Toray Group Safety Meeting. At the meeting, safety action policies and main activities are shared to set a common course, activities at worksites are reported, and safety awards are given to raise awareness of safety. In 2020, the meeting was held online with Toray plants and its group companies in Japan, with the Tokyo Head Office serving as the main venue, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Furthermore, the Safety Summit, on-site safety lecture by Toray Industries 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.
Toray Group Safety Record
Number of major accidents
- ■Reporting scope
- Toray Group
- ■Target in 2020 (calendar year)
Result in 2020
Number of fire and explosion accidents
- ■Reporting scope
- Toray Group
- ■Target in 2020 (calendar year)
Result in 2020
- 1 This accident was counted as a major accident in accordance with the internal definition of Toray Industries, Inc. This was the one accident counted as a major accident.
Achieve world’s best standard for safety management
(not exceeding 0.05 frequency rate for occupational accidents resulting in lost work time)
- ■Reporting scope
- Toray Group
- ■Target in 2020 (calendar year)
- No more than 0.05
Result in 2020
Toray Industries has collected data on all occupational accidents since 1980, and for Toray Group since 1990. 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.
The frequency rate for occupational accidents resulting in lost work time for Toray Group overall in 2020 was 0.39. Although this is a positive result compared with that of Japan’s manufacturing industry (1.21), it fell far short of the target of 0.05 or lower. One reason for this is that group companies had many accidents resulting in lost work time. Accordingly, the Group is working to strengthen safety management at those group companies with support and guidance from Toray’s main plant in Japan.
Toray Group will continue to identify the root cause of each accident to prevent reoccurrence, and avoid similar accidents based on the lessons learned in these accidents. Additionally, the Group will raise employee awareness of the need to practice safety first at all times.
Toray Group believes that safety activities depend upon a repetition of simple things. It is important to commit to the basics of safety and for everyone, without exception, to practice the basics at all times. The first step is to work on the comprehensive implementation of the 5S’s—seiri (sort), seiton (set in order), seiso (shine), seiketsu (standardize) and shitsuke (sustain). Through these activities, all employees learn to adopt seiketsu and shitsuke. Seiketsu fosters employees' motivation to keep the workplace standardized and clean, and shitsuke raises employees’ awareness to adhere to the rules. They also take the time to reconsider movement pathways to make work safer. Managers repeatedly go around worksites, praising good behavior in an effort to raise workplace morale.
Next, the Group works to eliminate accidents in routine activities. Managers strive to maintain a sense of alertness in the workplace by continually reminding people to act with safety first, considering what the consequences (accidents) could be under any and all circumstances. In addition, if an occupational accidents does occur, an accident report is sent out to the entire Toray Group. In an effort to eliminate similar accidents, the unit heads and unit chiefs of each workplace take a leading role in discussing the report with workplace team members, imagining the cause of the accident as a specific danger in their own workplace, in order to raise everyone’s safety awareness and ensure commitment to the basics.
In terms of fire and explosion accidents, a small-scale explosion and fire occurred at one group company outside Japan, and the fire was extinguished with a fire extinguisher. This accident did not affect equipment or any area outside of plant premises, but three people suffered minor burns due to the fire and one person twisted and broke his ankle when he jumped from a height of 50 cm when startled by the sound of the explosion. It is presumed that the incident was caused by sparks emitted when a battery-driven electric screwdriver was used nearby to where flammable gas had collected on the floor. The Group has reconsidered what equipment can be used within zones where there is a risk of fire or explosion, in order to prevent a recurrence. This incident was counted as a major accident in accordance with the internal definition of Toray Industries, Inc. This was the one accident counted as a major accident for the year.
In an effort to eliminate similar fire-related accidents, the Group has a system to enable Group companies to rapidly share critical information on fire-related accidents. The Group uses knowledge gained from previous accidents to adopt effective fire prevention strategies and implement unified accident prevention management standards.
- 2 Data for Japan includes non-regular employees (part-time employees, contract employees, casual part-timers, and dispatched workers). Data from outside of Japan does not include temporary staff.
- 3 Occupational accident frequency rate: The number of fatalities and injuries at worksites per one million cumulative working hours.
Identifying Danger (Hazards), Evaluating Risk, and Accident Surveys
1. Identifying danger (hazards) and evaluating risk
Toray Group has a system whereby employees report any potential risks in the workplace to managers and the managers provide feedback on countermeasures and improvements. Before starting work, hazard prediction information, near miss reports, and safety proposals are shared with employees to confirm and mitigate risks.
Company inspectors also carry out audits to review the system for preventing occupational accidents and the status of the implementation of countermeasures. If there are any problems, the inspectors give instructions for improvements.
2. Accident investigation
In the event of an occupational accident, the emergency response review meeting and the countermeasure meeting are convened to clarify the chain of events leading up to the accident, identify the cause, and decide on and execute countermeasures. In addition, information about the accident is shared throughout the Group and measures taken to prevent a reoccurrence.
3. Prioritized risk reduction activities
The Group analyzed the factors involved in occupational accidents at Group companies in 2020, which indicated that floors, passageways or mounting/installation hardware were the leading cause of accidents at 17%, followed by sharp-edged objects at 14%. Many of the accidents relating to floors, passageways or mounting/installation hardware involved falls during everyday movement, which is seen as a risk to everyone who works at Toray Group worksites. To mitigate this risk, the Group has comprehensively implemented 3S and 5S at its worksites, to secure passageways and working space. The Group is also working to raise the safety awareness of all employees to ensure they practice safety first.
Accidents involving sharp-edged objects and rotating equipment can lead to significant injury and are considered major risk factors. All work involving rotating equipment and sharp-edged objects is subject to an annual risk assessment and classified based on the degree of risk, so that safety measures can be implemented according to the risk level. The Group implements risk management using plan-do-check-action (PDCA) cycles to reduce risks.
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 simulators enable workers to experience the dangers of electrocution, residual pressure, and getting caught in rollers. Virtual reality (VR) technology is also used to realistically simulate accidents at worksites. 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 on familiar topics regarding safety and accident prevention in its in-house magazine, People, in an effort to spread understanding of the fundamentals of accident prevention.
- Simulation training at Mishima Plant (Toray Industries, Inc.)
- Simulation training at Nagoya Plant (Toray Industries, Inc.)
- Demonstrating the danger of fires and explosions at Gifu Plant (Toray Industries, Inc.)
Implementing Safety Management Together with Subcontractors
On-site monitoring of actual work (Meinan Service Inc.)
Toray Industries implements uniform safety activities for its own work as well as subcontracted work that is subcontracted to on-site Toray affiliates4 and Group companies. Monthly occupational health and safety committees and regular safety and liaison meetings are used to discuss the implementation status of safety activities and enhance communication with subcontractors, to ensure that all parties are aligned in the implementation of safety activities. Employees conduct on-site monitoring of operations in practice such as those involving forklifts and sharp-edged objects, and use the results to generate recommendations for necessary improvements that enhance safety and ease of work. Subcontractors also submit their requests for work and equipment improvements, to increase physical safety.
- 4 Toray affiliates: Toray Industries’ subsidiaries that provide ancillary services for plant operations
Safety Management Implemented by Subcontractors
Safety meeting at Tokai Plant (Toray Industries, Inc.)
Toray Group recognizes its duty to ensure the safety of the many subcontractors working at its sites. As colleagues working in the same workplace, subcontractors are made aware of, and expected to comply with, Toray Group rules. Representative employees from subcontractors also participate in monthly meetings of occupational health and safety committees. Regular safety and liaison meetings are conducted to gain input from subcontractors, and are used to communicate the Group's policies and measures. In addition, the Group educates subcontractors who work on a short-term basis about Toray Group rules before work commences and manages safety thoroughly. At plants, Toray and subcontractors work together on safety initiatives, including safety posters, slogan contests and safety suggestions.
Preparing for Accidents through Fire-Prevention Drills
All companies and plants in Toray Group are making efforts to improve their accident-prevention capabilities by carrying out fire-fighting drills specifically intended for fires and explosions. These drills include practice using water hoses, rescuing the injured, responding to a chemical leak, and giving emergency notification to authorities and local residents.
Since 2012, Group companies and plants have been conducting annual drills on setting up a company-wide emergency headquarters in response to a large-scale earthquake. The drills also involve checking on employees and monitoring facilities damage and supply chains. In 2020, the drills were conducted online, presuming telecommuting and suspension of transportation services. In addition to conducting drills for the initial response to a large-scale earthquake, Group plants in seaside locations conduct drills of the evacuations that would be needed if a tsunami were triggered by a large-scale earthquake.
- Safety confirmation team during an evacuation drill (Toray KP Films Inc.)
- Firefighting training (Toray Medical Co., Ltd.)
Initiatives for Improving Fire-Prevention Capabilities
In 2020, Toray Group continued to implement Fire Prevention Project Part II to execute the four key tasks (see below) and entrench them into worksites in order to strengthen its fire prevention. The Toray Group’s internal accident prevention experts provided support and guidance in identifying the root cause and taking countermeasures to prevent reoccurrence of those fire accidents and near misses for which the experts decided onsite audits and investigations were necessary.
The Group’s earthquake measures seek to mitigate damage, while placing utmost priority on saving the lives of employees and preventing impacts on local communities. The Toray Group Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for a Large-Scale Earthquake outlines the emergency response to an earthquake and subsequent activities to maintain and restore business operations, as well as the Group’s duties and normal readiness. In particular, for critical products, the Group develops BCPs that encompass supply chains and continually works to reduce risks.
|Tasks||Results of 2020 activities|
|Effectively use fire-prevention checklists||
|Enhance fire-prevention training||
|Enhance change management||
|Build a safety management system for hot work||
- Company-wide fire-prevention training for engineers and others (Toray Human Resources Development Center)
Distribution Safety Initiatives
Toray Industries is working to ensure safe distribution in its operations. In an effort to manage safety when transporting hazardous substances, the Company concludes security agreements with certain customers, raw material manufacturers, and shipping companies to designate their specific safety responsibilities and roles with regards to safety.
Initiatives to Reduce Health Effects of Chemical Substances on Employees
In consideration of the health risks to the Company’s employees and contract employees, Toray Group is implementing the following initiatives for the handling of chemical substances.
- Study the actual handling of chemical substances
Toray Group collects annual data on the volume of chemical substances handled by offices and plants of Group companies and volume in their possession. Furthermore, the Group clearly indicates the danger of mutagenicity for each chemical substance as stipulated in the Industrial Safety and Health Act, and discloses the risks.
- Implement chemical substance risk assessments
Toray Group implements risk assessments using working environment measurements for the chemical substances that it handles, as well as using ECETIOC’s Targeted Risk Assessment (TRA) tool and control banding. The risk assessment results are used to protect the health of employees by implementing comprehensive measures to prevent worker exposure to organic solvents and dust where it is required.
- Conduct follow-up through internal audits
Toray Group conducts an annual safety, health, accident prevention, and environmental audit, to objectively evaluate the methods for handling chemical substances and working conditions. The audit is used to identify any oversights or unattended issues and implement necessary improvements.
Toray Group endeavors to maintain and improve working conditions by conducting working environment measurements and on-site monitoring of actual work in accordance with the risk level of handled substances. It also conducts medical checkups to continually follow-up on the health status of employees. To prevent health issues among workers, the Group conducts training on the dangerousness of handled chemicals, and prepares and keeps records of the on-site monitoring of actual work.
Health Effects and Response to Asbestos
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. 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 cumulative health impacts on former and current Toray Group employees as of March 31, 2021 are as follows.
Certified occupational accidents arising from handling asbestos (Toray Group): 111 (93)
Certified health victims based on Japan's Act on Asbestos Health Damage Relief (Toray Group): 8 (8)
Medical examination recipients involving asbestos (Toray Group): 4,037
Note: Figures in parentheses refer to fatalities.
Click here for the main initiatives for CSR Guideline 3, “Safety, Accident Prevention, and Environmental Preservation” in CSR Roadmap 2022.