Polyolefins (PO) and Hydrocarbons & Energy (HC)
Fertilizers, Melamine and Technical Nitrogen Products (TEN)
Polyolefins (PO) and Hydrocarbons & Energy (HC)
Fertilizers, Melamine and Technical Nitrogen Products (TEN)
Chemical operations involve highly flammable, toxic and hazardous substances that could pose a significant risk to Borealis’ employees and neighbours, if not handled correctly. Health and safety is therefore one of the key focus areas in the Borealis Sustainability Strategy and the number one priority for the Group. In addition, process and occupational health and safety incidents have a direct link to lost working time and damage to valuable assets, both of which could affect the Group’s ability to supply its customers, and its profitability and performance. Borealis therefore lives by the slogan “If we can’t do it safely, we don’t do it at all!” Everyone at Borealis is expected to stop working, or not to start working in the first place, if the situation is unsafe.
Borealis follows the slogan “If we can’t do it safely, we don’t do it at all.” This rule is embedded in Borealis’ Group HSE management system and infringement by line management leads to consequences for them. Every Borealis employee can report work-related hazards and has access to the Group’s incident reporting tool, Synergi, where they can report near misses. These are reviewed and the number of near misses followed up is a performance indicator.
At a Group level, the HSE managers’ network defines the HSE strategy, establishes improvement actions and shares lessons learned. The network includes local HSE managers and Group HSE.
HSE is part of the Responsible Care Committee at Executive Board level, with regular status updates and reviews of performance, and twice-yearly deep dives into HSE trend focus areas and definitions of additional actions.
The Corporate Co-operation Council (CCC) is a forum for exchanging information between the works councils at the various Borealis locations and top management and an important platform for dialogue between management and employee and workers representatives. The CCC holds four meetings and one conference each year. Health & Safety aspects are a key topic on the agenda in every meeting.
At location level, the local leadership and Health & Safety team meet each month to discuss health and safety performance. Every location also has an HSE Forum, where employee representatives are consulted and informed about the HSE management system. The HSE Forum also promotes worker participation in occupational health and safety. A number of informal platforms and meetings ensure that all employees of operational sites are represented. These forums are organised at a location level and their frequency is the choice of each location. The Group assesses the implementation of these forums during the Group HSSE Blue Audit. These are performed every five years and include an assessment on how HSE information is cascaded in the organisation. In the last ten years, no nonconformities have been identified.
Health & Safety meetings are scheduled regularly to share lessons learned, report potential hazards and hazardous situations, and discuss improvement areas and best practices, with attendees including all health and safety specialists at the locations and Group health and safety experts.
Borealis is committed to eliminating hazards and reducing occupational health and safety risks, and continuously improves through systematic learning. The most significant health and safety impacts on employees are caused when working at heights and/or with energised equipment. The Group proactively prevents accidents by developing risk management tools, implementing controls, undertaking awareness campaigns and health and safety training, and conducting regular audits for both employees and contractors. Group HSE defines the key intervention areas and developments over the next five years, related to occupational health and safety, process safety, environment and energy. These focus areas are in line with top management objectives and are consolidated into the Group’s goal zero journeys, resulting in concrete actions for the year to come. Subject matter experts in the Group HSE team develop standards and the required processes to ensure they are consistently applied. HSE conducts regular deep dives on performance and shares these with the Executive Board and other top management teams, to define corrective actions and prioritisation.
The Group has an HSE management system, which is designed to reduce the possibility of incidents in the workplace by ensuring that hazards are systematically eliminated or controlled. It is developed on a voluntary basis at Group level and legal compliance is assured by the locations. The system covers occupational health and safety, process safety, environment and energy, as well as some aspects of security to fulfil legal requirements. It applies to all businesses where Borealis owns more than 50% or where the Group has operating responsibility. For Polyolefins (PO) and Hydrocarbons & Energy (HC), the Group has an ISO 45001 matrix certification, with the Antwerp (Belgium) location achieving ISO 45001 certification during 2022.
Borealis uses risk assessments to identify hazards, assess the risk and take necessary measures to reduce it. These risk assessments are done before any work is carried out on a project or changes are made to an installation. Everyone must report hazards and hazardous situations and can do this via the Group’s incident management software, Synergi.
Major meetings and conferences in Borealis commonly start with awareness raising and sharing lessons learnt on health and safety, which is a mandatory topic for discussion at many meetings. All levels of management at Borealis, from front-line leaders to Executive Board members, carry out regular engagement walks. These ensure dialogue occurs between management, employees and contractors. The walks are designed to spot safety risks and encourage positive changes in daily work routines.
In addition to safety training for all employees and contractors, all visitors to Borealis’ locations must pass safety training before they gain access to the site. Some Borealis sites also organise an annual meeting with their neighbours, where safety performance and initiatives are discussed. Borealis also coordinates emergency planning with the emergency services.
Borealis aims to develop its health and safety culture from a calculative level (where safety is based on having systems in place to manage hazards) via a more proactive level (where safety leadership and values drive continuous improvement), towards a generative level, where health and safety becomes “how we do business”. The Group has set itself a “Goal Zero” ambition that nobody should get hurt when working at Borealis and the aim is to have zero process safety incidents. Effective field leadership is a key enabler of this. In addition, each Borealis employee has a shared responsibility for others. “Care for my colleague” means encouraging employees to report incidents, actively participate in investigations and contribute to making Borealis safer for all.
Borealis promotes and protects its employees’ health and wellbeing in several ways. In addition to detailed chemical exposure monitoring, which is carried out in accordance with national laws, the Group offers physical examinations and subsequent check-ups, periodic screenings and evaluations. Employee health initiatives vary depending on local needs, but they typically include addressing issues such as back pain, blood pressure and weight management, as well as providing on-site flu vaccinations. Employees learn about stress prevention, find help to quit smoking and can consult a psychologist. Employees may also take part in voluntary health counselling programmes to identify and monitor health problems.
Basic medical services are provided to all employees, contractors and visitors. Advanced wellbeing services are offered to all employees through the local medical service centres but not to contractors or visitors. All information shared between patient and doctor is kept confidential, in compliance with existing national legal requirements. In addition, Borealis has developed a wellbeing concept that sets common standards across all locations, enables sharing of best practices and builds on existing activities. It takes a holistic view of wellbeing and identifies four key areas for ensuring motivated and healthy employees. These are health, job engagement, competence and work-life balance.
Borealis conducts regular workplace health surveys, which cover every location in the Group every five years. These surveys identify, evaluate and document the current standard of the working environment in both operations and offices to establish a base for further improvement and to prioritise an action plan. Their primary focus is to prevent occupational health risks, occupational illnesses and accidents. The health surveys also put a considerable focus on the psychosocial aspects of work and work-life balance.
TRI per million working hours has been a Borealis Group Scorecard KPI for many years. TRI are those that require medical treatment, restrict the work an employee can do or result in lost working days. Both Borealis’ employees and contractors are tracked. All Borealis workers, contractors and subcontractors are covered by the indicators. Suppliers of raw materials, chemicals, additives and other commodities and hauliers are excluded from the TRI statistics, unless Borealis has caused the accident. The TRI criteria were changed in 2021 to bring them into line with OMV’s HSSE incident classification and reporting, based on the standards of the International Organisation of Oil and Gas Producers.
Despite the Group’s strong focus and continuous engagement to prevent accidents, unfortunately in May 2022, a fatality occurred in the Borealis location at Grandpuits, France. A contractor fell through a roof 8 metres high and did not survive the accident. The investigations indicated significant flaws in different barriers in preparing and executing the works, leading to this dreadful accident. Several lessons were shared with all locations, resulting in concrete actions to prevent reoccurrence of a similar accident. These included the importance of risk assessment of high-risk activities and detailed proactive analysis of the work method statements, as well as clarification of accountabilities related to the work permit system.
1) Rosier is included in overall TRI rate. The TRI rate of Rosier was 3.2.
Data analysis showed that hands and fingers remain the main body parts harmed in accidents and that the most frequent incidents (HC and PO: 12 out of 60; Fertilizers, Melamine and TEN: 4 out of 18) are slips, trips and falls. The sick leave rate is another important occupational health indicator. In 2022, the sick leave rate was 4.1% for HC and PO and 5.5% for Fertilizers, Melamine and TEN, compared to 3.7% in 2021.
Analysing the incidents based on severity and reoccurrence led to the following actions in 2022:
Occupational health and safety remains the number one priority for Borealis and for 2023 the Group has identified the following primary focus areas. These are to:
1) Suppliers of raw materials, chemicals, additives and other commodities and hauliers are excluded from the TRI statistics; Ecoplast Kunststoffrecycling GmbH, mtm plastics GmbH and mtm compact GmbH are excluded from incident action completion rate. // 2) 2022 shows HC/PO and Fertilizers Melamine and TEN separately, whereas the years before data has been reported consolidated. // 3) Definitions were adjusted in 2021 to be aligned with OMV definitions. A comparison to previous years is therefore not possible.
Total Recordable Injuries (TRI): Accidents resulting in absence from work, the need to do a different type of work or any other case in which medical treatment is required. The TRI criteria have been aligned with OMV Group and have therefore become stricter from this year: this now also includes, for example, an accident which resulted in a single lost day of work without any medical treatment, or an incident which resulted in an employee requiring a single stitch. The rate is calculated as the number of accidents per million working hours. Borealis’ employees and contractors working on the Group’s premises are included in this calculation.
High-consequence work-related injuries: High-consequence work-related injuries are split between:
The definition of high-consequence work-related injury uses recovery time instead of lost time as the criterion for determining the severity of an injury. Lost time is an indicator of the loss of productivity for an organisation as a result of a work-related injury; it does not necessarily indicate the extent of harm suffered by a worker. Recovery time, in contrast, refers to the time needed for a worker to recover fully to pre-injury health status.
Sick leave rate: The sick leave rate indicates the amount of time employees were absent from work due to sickness or injury. The overall sick leave rate is calculated as a percentage of the total number of planned working days in the current year.