Safety Report

Safety Activities

Process Safety and Disaster Prevention, Occupational Safety, and Logistics Safety

The Kuraray Group is promoting creating safe workplaces that are free of occupational incidents, process accidents, and disasters by raising the safety awareness of our employees and operating a safety management system for preventing occupational incidents and process accidents through early discovery of the risks for them. In preparation for accidents or disasters, we make efforts to minimize damage and to prevent the recurrences accidents or disasters, such as emergency drills, sharing information of accidents or lessons.

Guiding Principle on Ensuring Safety

“Safety is the Cornerstone of Everything We Do”

Action Courses on Ensuring Safety (FY 2017)

  • Ensure “Safety First, Production (Construction and R&D) Second”
  • Take 5 seconds before You Act, and Do “CHECK” in order to eliminate Unsafe Situation (action, behavior, condition)
  • Act with sense of ownership and responsibility for all employees, aiming to achieve zero accidents and disasters.

Safety Management

倉敷事業所現場検証 写真 Verification of Sites for Safety Activity at Kurashiki Plant

In accordance with Corporate's Safety Activity Management Regulations, the Kuraray Group develops a safety plans every fiscal year and operates them to ensure occupational safety, process safety, and disaster prevention. To be more specific, each year, at the Safety Promotion Committee attended by the President and executives in charge, we makes an overall assessment and discussion of safety activity performances of previous year and decides activity policy for the coming fiscal year, and we disseminate decided activity policy to all Group companies. In line with this policy, the Group companies are conducting safety activities that reflect the specific action plans of each plant and department. A group of safety representatives from the headquarters, including the executives in charge, visit every plant twice a year to conduct Internal Safety Audits on their safety activity plans, progress management, and the results.

Targets and Performance in Safety Priority Activities

Evaluation: Ο Accomplished, Δ Nearly accomplished, Χ Not accomplished

Item FY2016 FY 2017
Priority Activities
Target Performance Evaluation
Process Safety and Disaster Prevention, Occupational Safety Enhancement of process safety manegement level
  • Implementation of risk assessment of unusual jobs
  • Enhancement of safety awareness of individual persons
  • Implementation of risk assessment of unusual Jobs
  • Implementation of inherently safe countermeasures for serious risks, or minimizing damage
  • Capability of detecting abnormal signs and dealing with abnormal situations
  • Constructing the base for globalization of safety activity management
Transfer of Operational Skills and Techniques from experienced persons to inexperienced persons (Know-Why activities) and sustainable continuation
  • Transfer of operational skills and techniques utilizing career development program (CDP) incorporating "know-why" activities
  • Installation of new system that integrate education and training
Grasping of risks and countermeasures against risks
  • Implementation of risk assessment aiming at improvement the comprehensiveness
  • Implementation of inherently safe countermeasures for serious risks
Enhancement of Safety Awareness of Individual Persons
  • KY (Kiken Yochi - hazardous prediction) before starting operation
  • Pointing & call activities ・ Educating and compliance with rules
  • Activity of taking a pause before acting
Globalization of safety activity management
  • Activating intercommunication with overseas affiliates
  • Construct the database "Global Safety Info"
  • Globalization of occupational incidents evaluation system
Numerical Target and Performance
2015 2016 2017
Actual Target Actual Target Criteria for evaluation
Process Safety Number of Accidents Japan 3 0 4 zero 1 ≧
1 0 1 none
Occupational Safety Number of Lost Time Incidents Japan 6 0 2 zero AB rank 2 ≧
17 0 13 none
Frequency Rate of All Occupational
Japan 1.32 0.8 ≧ 0.81 0.8 ≧
7.26 4.0 ≧ 6.10 none

In 2017, the Kuraray Group in Japan will set a new evaluation criterion for safety performance aside from its objective goals. The Group will aim to improve its safety level to below half of the average performance in the past five years. Additionally, evaluation will be made based on the number of occupational incidents that are evaluated as Rank AB in the labor accident evaluation ranking, instead of evaluation based on the number of days off taken due to an occupational incident. This evaluation ranking for occupational incidents is an indicator unique to Kuraray and rates the levels of seriousness of occupational incidents in accordance with the levels of potential disorders and with the levels of faults that caused such accidents. The rank AB is for severe accidents. On the other hand, in 2017, the Kuraray affiliates outside of Japan will set evaluation criteria of their own, instead of setting uniform evaluation criteria for the overseas Kuraray units.
The frequency rate of all occupational incidents is the number of all occupational incidents per million working hours. All occupational incidents are defined as incidents requiring at least minor medical attention, based on the definition of a recordable incident by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) of the US.

Process Safety and Disaster Prevention

At the Kuraray Group, we consider it a major responsibility to prevent the occurrence of explosions, fires, leakage of hazardous materials, and other accidents that could have an immense impact on society, as well as to curtail the damage in the event of any occurrence to the minimum level. For this purpose, we have undertaken activities such as risk assessment related to process safety and disaster prevention, earthquake countermeasures for buildings and plants, and conditioning of the safety management system for facilities in all plants.

We are promoting safety self-activities by implementing them as planned: ① Risk assessment, ② Utilization of accident information and ③ Transfer of technical background (Know-Why activity) in accordance with the “Activity Plan for Industrial Safety” compiled by the Japan Petrochemical Industry Association.

We are undertaking risk assessment of unusual situations such as total power blackout and emergency stop and clarifying the criteria for discriminating abnormal situations in order to activate and enhance effectiveness of risk assessment activities.

Additionally, CDP*1 activity and KMMS*2 are continuously undertaken to promote the transfer of operational skills and techniques from experienced persons to inexperienced persons incorporating the Know-Why activities.

In Fiscal 2016, unfortunately, one minor fire accident and three accidents involving leakage of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gas from air conditioning equipment occurred inside of Japan. And one minor fire accident occurred outside of Japan. All these accidents had no impacts on the external environment or on human health and safety.

In Fiscal 2017 and thereafter, we will continue to undertake the safety self-activities to prevent accidents.

  • *1 CDP: A system to evaluate levels of knowledge, skills, techniques, technologies, and action characteristics needed for first-line operators in workplaces to visualize them and to compile an assessment chart for mapping of capabilities of all personnel, to set targets for individual persons, and to provide training based on it.
  • *2 KMMS: A facility management system based on the PDCA cycle (P: Plan making for maintenance, D: Do maintenance work, C: Check and evaluate activity results and reassess maintenance plan, and A: Act to review maintenance plan) by evaluating the importance of each piece of equipment in a unit of production activity and by setting an equipment management system in accordance with risks associated with each equipment. By undertaking activities under this system, operators participate in cause analyses of equipment problems and in reviewing countermeasures and equipment management norms, for furtherance of human resource development and transfer of techniques and technologies from experienced persons to inexperienced persons.

Preparedness against earthquakes and tsunamis

In 2017, Japan is observing the 22nd anniversary of the Great Hanshin and Awaji Earthquake, 6th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and first anniversary of the Kumamoto Earthquake. Japan is an earthquake-prone country and preparedness against earthquakes and tsunami is a social responsibility of enterprises in Japan. Kuraray is implementing various measures to minimize potential damage caused by earthquakes and tsunamis including the Nankai Trough Earthquake, which is expected to cause large-scale damage in the future, and to ensure early recovery from damage inflicted by earthquakes and tsunamis.

Preparedness against Earthquakes
  • Emergency evacuation using an emergency earthquake alert, emergency plant shutdowns based on an earthquake flash and emergency shutting off of piping
  • An anti-earthquake diagnosis of buildings, plants, facilities, and structures will be conducted. Earthquake-proof reinforcement, rebuilding with earthquakeproof facilities and structures, and installation of evacuation shelters and other facilities will be undertaken as necessary
  • Prevention of dispersion of chemicals, furnishings and equipment inside buildings and fixing of them to prevent them from falling over
  • Lecture meetings for disaster prevention, emergency drills, evacuation drills and emergency lifesaving training

Experience in earthquakeproof techniques (Kuraray plastic Ibuki)

Seismograph / Automatic stop in the case of an earthquake (Niigata Plant)

Rebuilding into earthquake-proof building (Saijo Plant)

Earthquake-proof reinforcement of plant building (Kashima Plant)

Emergency shut-off valve (Kashima Plant)

Preparedness against Tsunami
  • Building and maintenance of tide embankments and reinforcement of shore protection
  • Upgrading of critical equipment and facilities, prevention of inundation, prevention of outflow of hazardous materials
  • Indication of elevations (above sea level), posting of information and dissemination of evacuation sites and routes, evacuation drills and antidisaster agreements concluded with local residents
  • Stocking of emergency provisions, apparatuses and other articles to prepare for isolation for a protracted period

Guide boards showing evacuation route (Okayama)

Boards indicating elevation above sea level (Tsurumi)

Stocking of emergency provisions (Okayama)

Tide embankment (Kurashiki)

Emergency transport drill (Kurashiki)

Occupational Safety

Realizing that the safety and health of its employees are the basis of business activities, the Kuraray Group aims to create safe and accident free workplaces by striving to enhance the safety level of each of its employees and organizations through appropriate implementation of its occupational safety management system.

In Fiscal 2016, the frequency rate of lost time incidents and frequency rate of all occupational incidents of the Kuraray Group in Japan were 0.16 and 0.81, respectively, registering the best records since 2005.

On the other hand, in many of the cases that have taken place outside Japan, doctors order employees to take temporary leave from duty even if injuries are minor in severity.

Therefore, the same frequency rate of lost-time accidents applied in Japan cannot be applied to the overseas units.

For this reason, the evaluation is made based on the frequency rate of all occupational incidents severer than minor incidents, instead of lost-time incidents.

The frequency rate for Fiscal 2016 was 6.10, lower than the 7.26 registered in the previous year.

Generally, the companies in Europe and North America undertake activities focusing on preventing severe accidents and the frequency rate of occupational incidents including slight accidents there tends to be higher than in Japan.

In Fiscal 2017, the overseas Kuraray Group will be using an industrial accident evaluation ranking of Kuraray’s own on a trial basis so that the performances of the Group units outside Japan can be evaluated using the same criteria as those for inside Japan.

Global safety meetings and global deployment of a management system for safety activities are planned beginning 2018. These measures are intended to promote the sharing of information on safety activities inside and outside Japan and to improve the frequency rate of lost-time incidents of the overseas Kuraray Group.

Frequency Rate of Lost Time Incidents

Frequency Rate of Lost Time Incidents

Logistics Safety

To prevent damage to society at large caused by logistics accidents, the Kuraray Group is engaged in an ongoing promotion of activities to ensure logistics safety in the aspects of product shipment andstorage.

The Kuraray Logistic Safety Conference, which is the core organization for this activity, marked its 16th year. In Fiscal 2016, filling work of hazardous materials and structures of transport containers were verified on site at the Kashima Operations. Specific measures were shared with the companies outsourced for transport of hazardous materials to raise the awareness of them in dealing with the specific measures to prevent accidents in the transport of hazardous materials. (Nine companies outsourced for the transport of hazardous materials participated in these on-site verification examinations.)

Topics 2016

Risk Assessment of Chemical Substances

In 2012, some of the employees a nd former employees of an offset printing company in Japan, which used a c hlorinated organic solvent a s a detergent, suffered gallbladder cancer, causing a major social problem. Triggered by this accident, the Industrial Safety and Health Law has been amended. Beginning June 2016, risk assessment of chemical substances has become an obligation for business establishments handling 640 chemical substances that have a certain level of hazard or noxiousness.

Based on risk assessments, the employers are required to improve manufacturing equipment or to implement effective measures to safeguard workers against hazards or health disorders believed caused by such chemical substances.

Several chemical substances are used at worksites of the Kuraray Group. In response to this law revision, the Kuraray Group has reviewed and set new internal rules and regulations related to risk assessments of chemical substances. The Group has inspected how chemical substances are handled at its operations and plants in Japan and has verified that these chemical substances are handled appropriately in accordance with its internal rules and regulations.