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Health and safety

We seek to promote the health of our employees and sustain their long-term performance ability, which in turn necessitates a safe workplace. We are therefore constantly working to further strengthen our health and safety culture.

The lost time injury rate (LTIR) is an important indicator used to gauge the success of our occupational safety efforts. It comprises all accidents worldwide that have resulted in at least one day of missed work per one million hours worked. We determine the Group-wide LTIR both for our employees and supervised temporary staff. Our objective is to lower the LTIR to below 1.0 by 2025.

Generally, before starting any activity, we perform a hazard assessment to identify risks and do everything possible to eliminate them before commencing the activity or commissioning a plant. If this is not feasible, we put measures in place to minimize the likelihood of risks and their potential impacts. Hazard assessments are the responsibility of our individual sites and are therefore conducted by them.

In October 2023, we launched BeHealthy, our global employee health strategy, to our workforce. It is designed to further strengthen the physical, mental, social, and workplace health of our employees. Moreover, in 2023, we introduced a key indicator for health, planned to comprise our health index on the one hand and the implementation status of the BeHealthy strategy on the other hand.

Roles and responsibilities

Our Health and Safety management system is the responsibility of Corporate Sustainability, Quality and Trade Compliance, which in turn reports to the Chair of the Executive Board. This Group function sets objectives, oversees the respective initiatives globally and conducts internal EHS audits. Local EHS managers and their teams ensure that our individual sites comply with all occupational health and safety laws and regulations. They are also responsible for local projects, campaigns, and programs.

Employees concerned about their health or safety are permitted to temporarily step back from their work until the issue has been resolved. Globally, across the Group, they are encouraged to report such concerns via our compliance hotline.

Our commitment: Standards and policies

Our Corporate EHS Policy (Corporate Environment, Health and Safety Policy) describes our fundamental approach to occupational health and safety, among other things. It is part of our EHS management system and undergoes an external ISO 45001 audit every year. As part of a Group certificate, our occupational health and safety management system was ISO 45001-certified at 66 sites at the end of 2023.

Together with the Group-wide health strategy BeHealthy, we launched the newly developed Group Employee Health Standard in October 2023. It describes the fundamental requirements that a site must fulfill as regards employee health. In addition, the standard specifies our approach to ensuring workplace safety for our employees while also promoting their health and well-being. Furthermore, we set out our Group-wide approach to health and safety management, which is aimed at preventing workplace accidents and occupational illnesses.

We expect our contractors to comply with environmental as well as health and safety requirements throughout the entire process, from starting a job to completion. This objective is reflected in our Group-wide Contractor EHS Management Standard.

Accident rates

Our employees are required to immediately report any relevant occupational accidents to Corporate Sustainability, Quality and Trade Compliance, where these accidents are assessed. If necessary, we then implement additional safety measures. This procedure is common practice across all production facilities around the world. We document the following occupational safety data across our sites worldwide:

  • The LTIR measures the accidents resulting in at least one day of missed work per one million hours worked. In comparison with the previous year, our LTIR increased slightly to 1.3 (2022: 1.2). The majority of incidents resulting in lost time were slips, trips and falls, along with contusions and lacerations from the operation of machinery and equipment. Once more, in 2023, we recorded no fatal accidents.
  • We use our EHS Incident Rate (EHS IR) to document incidents.
  • Alongside this indicator, in the United States, we also use the Occupational Illness Rate to monitor work-related illnesses and their long-term effects.

Through the LTIR, we record work-related accidents that involve at least one day of missed work. A work-related accident is an injury that results from the type of work, in the course of doing said work, and that has no internal cause. Work-related accidents are considered relevant if they occur on the premises, on business trips, during goods transport, as a result of external influences (e.g. natural disasters), or due to criminal acts involving personal injury. Commuting accidents and accidents during company sporting activities are not included. First-aid incidents are generally not included in the LTIR since these usually do not result in more than one day of missed work.

Clear rules of conduct

Group-wide, all newly appointed site EHS managers must complete an EHS onboarding training that covers the topics of occupational health and safety as well as our “BeSafe!” safety culture program. Through the “BeSafe!” program, we raise employee awareness of occupational hazards and teach them rules for safe behavior. In addition, we regularly provide occupational safety training at our sites covering both legal requirements and the specific risks.

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