Workplace and plant safety is a key priority at WACKER. It forms the basis for disturbance-free production. Systematic work safety at WACKER includes the regular evaluation of hazards and work-area monitoring. A comprehensive health-protection program serves to maintain and promote our employees’ performance levels.
We conduct extensive safety and risk analyses from the design stage through to commissioning to ensure our plants’ safety. This takes place according to a two-stage system. In stage one, experts model possible damage events, such as an explosion or chemical leakage. Subsequently, potential causes are determined and preventive measures developed. This danger-scope analysis is followed by stage two, in which we particularly examine critical plant components for potential error sources. Resultant risks are then evaluated according to their effect, the probability of persons in the danger zone, estimated probability of occurrence and possibilities of timely emergency response. We then assess the quality of each protective measure proposed for the risk class in question. WACKER places particular importance on the basic and advanced training of its safety experts worldwide. We regularly conduct seminars on plant safety, explosion protection and occupational health and safety.
WACKER continued and extended its “Fresh Impetus for Work Safety” initiative. Launched in 2007, this initiative serves to prevent workplace accidents. Executives in Germany received workplace-related safety training last year. With the help of poster campaigns, videos, articles in employee media and interactive stage productions, employees were informed about safe workplace behavior to further reduce our already low accident figures.
Groupwide, there were 3.7 workplace accidents in 2008 (2007: 3.8) per 1 million hours worked. For comparison: the insurance association of the German chemical industry (BG Chemie) lists an average of 9.4 accidents per 1 million hours worked in 2007.
Number of Accidents per Hour Worked Continues to Fall
In fall 2008, setup work commenced on the SAFE storm research project at the Burghausen site. SAFE serves to provide earlier forecasts for storms, given their greater frequency and intensity due to climate change, and to initiate emergency-response measures. Environmental sensors are used and are interlinked with existing weather stations and warning systems. WACKER’s Burghausen site is the sole industrial site participating in this project, which is sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Research.
In collaboration with logistics providers, WACKER makes sure that hazardous-goods vehicles are checked prior to loading and those with deficiencies rejected. Deficiencies are systematically tracked and recorded. We use this as a basis for agreements on transport-safety improvement measures. Every two years, WACKER audits hazardous goods shippers. Aside from the legally-stipulated monitoring of hazardous-goods transport, WACKER also tracks the safe transport of non-hazardous goods.
WACKER’s safety standards are above the minimum required for hazardous-goods transportation. Thus, we ship chlorosilanes to customers not by truck, but via rail, and in containers of the highest safety classification.
To evaluate shippers, WACKER uses the Safety and Quality Assessment System (SQAS) of the European chemical association (CEFIC). The goal is to have independent experts evaluate logistics providers uniformly. Criteria include shipping employees’ training, vehicle equipment and accident response. The results are available to all SQAS service-group members.