Workplace safety and hygiene

The effort to prevent workplace accidents is integrated in our comprehensive OHSMS* program that combines conventional safety initiatives—such as tidiness/orderliness/cleanliness (3S), reporting of near-accidents and potential hazards, hazard prediction analysis, safety patrols, and case studies—with risk assessments and a prevention-oriented plan-do-check-act (PDCA) system.

Integration of workplace safety initiatives
Integration of workplace safety initiatives

Approach to workplace safety

Identification of potential hazards

Schematic image for prevention of workplace accidents
Schematic image for prevention of workplace accidents

Effective prevention of workplace accidents requires the identification of all potential hazards in a workplace. In addition to conventional safety initiatives, it is important to consider safety from the perspective of the problems which conceivably arise in a wide variety of situations—as a result of both potentially unsafe physical conditions (hazardous working environment due to equipment, materials, noise, etc.) and potentially unsafe actions of personnel.

Risk assessment

Priority for mitigating the potential workplace hazards identified is assigned based on a scoring system that combines the severity of the impact of problems which could occur and the frequency with which such problems would be likely to occur.

Mitigation of the highest risks

Measures to achieve inherent safety by eliminating unsafe conditions (by eliminating dangerous procedures, automation, eliminating sources of problems, changeover to safe materials, etc.) and the application of safeguards are extremely effective in the effort to avoid risks. We focus on achieving inherent safety and applying safeguards (isolation and stoppage) to avoid risks associated with the use of machinery and equipment to prevent the “caught in/between machinery” category of accident, which can easily result in severe injury.

Inherent safety and safeguards

Formulation of safety measures
Formulation of safety measures

Measures to achieve inherent safety and the application of safeguards to avoid risks are generally considered to provide the greatest level of safety, as shown in the following table. We incorporate such measures in the construction of new or replacement facilities, upon safety reviews of existing facilities, and to prevent the recurrence of accidents.

Systems for safe operation

Operations for which the elimination of risks through equipment modification is impractical are classified as operations requiring special control. In such cases, risks are reduced through compliance with safe operating standards*. In addition to double-checking that proper procedures are followed, a range of creative measures are employed to ensure that safe operating standards are observed from day to day.

Occurrence of workplace injuries

Of the 15 lost-workday injuries that occurred during fiscal 2015, none were in the “caught in/between machinery” category, which we had strived to eliminate. Although it is significant that this was achieved for the second consecutive year considering that 15% of lost-workday injuries were in this category from fiscal 2005 to 2014, we continue to reduce the risk of accidents in the “caught in/between machinery” category by eliminating sources of danger and enhancing safeguards.

In fiscal 2012, we began an ongoing program of comprehensive plant inspections that incorporates fresh perspectives from outside experts and from our personnel of different sites and different core operating companies. We also formulated a set of guidelines on machinery safety in accordance with ISO12100* and in fiscal 2014 began machinery risk assessments by designers in the case of building new equipment or modifying existing equipment, with deliberation among related parties as part of the equipment inspection.

The 3 categories of fall on the same level, fall from height, and traffic accident accounted for 73% of all lost-workday injuries in fiscal 2015. To prevent these common accidents that could occur even in non-factory workplaces such as sales offices or headquarters, we are promoting safety activities in all workplaces and renewing our emphasis on a culture of safety.

Incidence of workplace injury by event category (FY 2015 in Japan)
Incidence of workplace injury by event category (FY 2015 in Japan)
Incidence of workplace injury by event category (FY 2005–2014 in Japan)
Incidence of workplace injury by event category (FY 2005–2014 in Japan)
Frequency rate1
Frequency rate1
Severity rate2
Severity rate2

Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS)

In fiscal 2002, we began applying OHSMS in accordance with OHSAS 18001* standards. In fiscal 2009, OHSMS was implemented at 90% of all plants and laboratories.

Maintaining workplace hygiene

Workplaces where potential health hazards are present are subject to regular monitoring under the Working Environment Measurement Law.

Where radioisotopes are present, radiation dose rates are maintained below regulatory limits, with measurement results reported each year to Japan’s Office for Radiation Regulations. Noise and heat exposure data are recorded and maintained for all relevant personnel to enable each individual’s exposure to be managed and minimized. We are advancing plant modification and reviewing work procedures to reduce exposure to noise and heat.