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Xact: Board of Management’s global safety initiative

In 2012, we pressed forward with our Xact global safety program, launched in 2011, with the support of our partner DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS). Within this initiative, we have divided the issue of safety into 22 elements covering aspects of the occupational safety culture and process and plant safety.

In a first phase, completed in spring 2012, we performed a standardized analysis at a total of 22 plants and sites. These included facilities in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands and the United States. Almost all business units were represented. The in-depth analysis included an internal evaluation of safety practices coupled with an assessment by DSS consultants. It yielded valuable findings for further improvement. In particular, we were able to identify numerous best safety practices.

A significant consequence of our analysis is that we will be stepping up the involvement of the operational management level in the ongoing review of safety standards in future, thus emphasizing their responsibility. The central body for monitoring the program and the continuous improvement of our safety standards is the LANXESS HSE Council, which includes two members of the Board of Management and three business unit heads.

In the next phase, which started in the second half of 2012, twelve international corporate sub-committees made up of some 80 experienced employees – primarily from the business units, but also from supporting group functions – have been scrutinizing and refining the global HSE standards for the LANXESS Group. They are due to complete their task by mid-2013.

Lastly, in the implementation phase, local sub-committees will have the task of adapting our improved global standards to the specific conditions at their respective locations and producing the associated documentation. They will be steered by a local HSE council. In some countries where we have larger sites or several companies, a regional HSE council will be responsible for country-specific requirements, for example concerning reporting. In addition, we will be supporting the consistent application and effectiveness of the standards with a systematic audit program. Implementation will take place in several stages. It started at our German sites in Leverkusen, Dormagen and Krefeld-Uerdingen at the end of 2012.

Recording accidents and incidents

Thanks to our global electronic Incident Reporting System (IRS), we are able to record accidents and incidents using standardized procedures. The incidents that are documented include accidents involving people, transport accidents, environmental incidents and downtime caused by, for example, bad weather or strike action. Our sites also regularly report near accidents, including unsafe conditions and actions. We communicate significant incidents worldwide via our intranet or by newsletter. Each incident is carefully analyzed to identify measures that can be taken to avoid similar accidents, disruptions or near accidents in the future.

The lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR), known as MAQ (injuries for every million hours worked) in Germany, is one of the indicators used to assess occupational safety. In 2012, the LTIFR was 3.4, compared with 2.7 in 2011. Our analyses showed that the LTIFR rose markedly over the prior year, especially outside Germany. This resulted primarily from a number of accidents at our chrome ore mine in South Africa, which has gained statistical relevance owing to the international harmonization of our reporting structures and the employee situation there. Also, our Xact global safety program has raised the profile of occupational safety. The associated increase in awareness for work-related accidents and their consequences among our employees is reflected in an improved reporting culture. We expect the LTIFR to decrease again in the coming years following the implementation of further measures.

Work-Related Injuries to LANXESS Employees Resulting in Absence from Work (LTIFR)
Chart: Work-Related Injuries to LANXESS Employees Resulting in Absence from Work (LTIFR)

Despite our intensive efforts in the area of plant, process and occupational safety, there were regrettably two fatal work-related accidents in the year under review. Both of these occurred in South Africa: one at an underground conveyor system in our chrome ore mine in Rustenburg, the other during maintenance work on our rubber chemicals production facility at Isithebe. We temporarily suspended work at the chrome ore mine. The cause of the accident was investigated thoroughly, and the safety equipment on the conveyor systems was modified accordingly. At the rubber chemicals plant, potential weaknesses were identified with the support of experts from similar plants in Germany.

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