Plant, Transport and Product Safety

An important goal at WACKER is to operate plants and processes in a manner that poses no risk to people or the environment. To this end, we have installed a groupwide safety management system that addresses both workplace and plant safety.

Plant Safety

The first stage in ensuring the safety of our plants is to systematically identify risks and assess them. This includes analyzing not only how well we control the energy present in a process (e. g. pressure, heat), but also what effect a single error might have on a chain of events that could culminate in the escape of a substance or an accident. After completing this comprehensive analysis, we specify safety measures to prevent undesired events.

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Our safety management system focuses on prevention. Even so, safety-critical incidents cannot always be prevented. Across the Group, we promptly enter any incident relevant to safety, health or the environment in the IT system we use for sustainability reporting (SPIRIT). The reports are evaluated and measures tracked. Incident reports that offer cross-division or cross-site learning effects are processed and forwarded to any company units with a similar risk potential.

Safety Training and Inspections

WACKER attaches particular importance to providing its safety experts with ongoing training. We hold regular training sessions, for example, on plant safety and explosion-damage protection. In 2018, we audited our sites at Charleston, Adrian, Eddyville and Calvert City in the USA. WACKER awards recognition to facilities that operate for sustained periods of time without a reportable accident.

Safe Transport of Hazardous Materials

WACKER ensures that its products are stored and transported safely, especially where hazardous goods are involved. In 2018, we had around 12,000 hazardous-goods trucks inspected in the shipping areas at our sites and warehouses in Germany (2017: over 11,000). We turn away any that are defective. Failure rates have been extremely low for years now. The rate for 2018 was about 2.0 percent for hazardous goods shipments from Burghausen, our largest site in Germany (2017: 1.4 percent).

As elsewhere, we rely on well-trained personnel for transport safety. In the reporting year, 1,300 employees in Germany alone attended classroom-training sessions on the shipment of hazardous goods, while more than 900 completed online courses on securing freight.

We regularly discuss the issue of transport safety with our logistics providers in Germany, for example during our annual Supplier Day. If deficiencies are found, we agree improvements and then follow up on their implementation. WACKER uses in-house criteria and internationally recognized systems to select logistics providers and assess their performance. Via contractually defined specifications (such as a requirements profile for providers of road transport logistics), WACKER ensures that both its contractors and their subcontractors meet the company’s stringent safety requirements. As part of the annual audit plan, selected hazardous-goods shippers are audited for compliance with these requirements and, if necessary, improvement measures are agreed.

For products with a high hazard potential, we use packaging and tanks of the highest quality.

When monitoring the distribution of our products, we also record any transport incidents not involving hazardous goods, as well as those that have no negative impact on people or the environment. Such incidents are an important factor in the annual assessment of our logistics providers. In the year under review, we recorded a total of three transport incidents that did not involve hazardous goods.

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Transport Accidents1








Number of Accidents








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Product Safety

WACKER provides information on the safe use of its products. It continually works to prevent or reduce the use in products of any substances harmful to human health and the environment. WACKER sells its products in compliance with the chemical legislation applicable in the country of destination.

As a guide for our product developers, we maintain a list of about 650 substances that WACKER products may no longer contain. In addition to prohibited and restricted chemicals (such as materials listed in Annexes XIV and XVII to the REACH Regulation), the list also includes substances that many companies find undesirable. As far as possible, we avoid substances on the European Chemicals Agency’s List of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC).

The REACH Regulation, which came into force in 2007, governs the registration, evaluation, authorization and restriction of chemicals within the European Union. REACH involves the collection of extensive data and imposes stringent requirements on the manufacturers, importers and users of chemical products. All substances on the European market that are used or imported in annual quantities exceeding one metric ton must be registered and evaluated. The scope of evaluation work is largely determined by the quantity produced or imported and the expected risks. Particularly high-risk substances are subject to regulatory approval. As part of REACH, WACKER had submitted 480 registration dossiers, including any revisions, to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) by the end of 2018. In the course of its regular evaluation activities, ECHA required additional information for many of the dossiers, all of which we provided on time in 2018.

WACKER’s close contact with its suppliers extends to matters relating to substances not yet registered under REACH. We systematically requested definitive statements from our suppliers about registration status and the further availability of raw materials, especially in view of the expiration of the final registration phase for phase-in substances (>1 metric ton / year) on May 31, 2018.

To promote the safe use of chemicals, the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) developed its Global Product Strategy (GPS), which is a guideline on how to assess chemical properties and provide product safety information. In Europe, most GPS requirements are satisfied by REACH and by the CLP Regulation (Classification, Labeling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures). By the end of 2018, we had published 75 Safety Summaries on the ICCA chemicals website for the substances we have registered under REACH.

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