Occupational Health & Safety
We continue to pursue excellence in occupational health and safety to better protect our employees, contractors, neighbors and the environment from hazards.
Our employees are our most valuable asset, and it is our responsibility as an employer to provide a safe work environment and promote wellness across the workforce. This focus on health and safety has been deeply ingrained at Cabot throughout our history and serves as a central theme in our culture. Our goal is for all employees to return home in the same condition as when they arrived at work.
As part of our Drive to Zero initiative, we have set a long-term goal of having no injuries at our facilities worldwide. Recognizing that it may take many years to achieve this ambitious goal, we also established a nearer-term target of being represented in the top 10% of our peer chemical companies for safety performance. To help meet these goals, we provide training to all employees on safety procedures that meets or exceeds all applicable government regulations and internal standards.
We are proud that over 60% of our manufacturing locations worked injury-free in 2019. However, an increase in total recordable incident rate (TRIR) has caused us to renew our efforts to ensure a strong safety culture throughout the organization, with a particular focus on the small number of sites that have experienced the majority of injuries in recent years. We will not be satisfied until we achieve the goal of our Drive to Zero initiative — no injuries at any of our facilities worldwide. This drive requires that we continually look for opportunities to further improve and strengthen our safety management system.
We have remained consistent in the occurrence rates of total recordable incidents and lost time. We did not experience any employee or contractor fatalities in the listed years.
We conduct a thorough evaluation of every incident, including "high potential near misses," to understand the root cause of such incidents and assess how we may implement measures to avoid similar safety risks in the future across our global operations. Throughout the years, these incident learnings and our strong safety culture have kept us an industry leader in safety performance and we will always focus on continuous improvement to achieve our goal of zero incidents.
2019 was an important year for our Process Safety Management (PSM) program, as we continued to implement changes to our approach as a result of thecomprehensive program review conducted in 2018. Our priorities included developing and implementing improved systems for categorizing process safety events and providing additional education to our global PSM team. In 2019, we experienced one Tier 1 event and 14 Tier 2 events. The Tier 1 event involved a spill that was contained on site. The two main types of Tier 2 events were small, localized fires and losses of containment captured in our secondary containment systems, both types having minimal environmental impact. One of the Tier 2 events did result in an injury to a contractor that required medical treatment but did not result in any lost work time.
Learning from the best — Cabot’s Chairman’s Award recipients
In 2019, our carbon black site in Shimonoseki, Japan, joined five other Cabot locations as recipients of our Chairman’s Award.
This recognition is given to those manufacturing and research and development sites that have consistently demonstrated excellence in all areas of SH&E performance. The Shimonoseki, team attributes their success to a culture where employees and contractors communicate closely to identify and solve issues. Working together and helping each other are the norm, and all are encouraged and expected to ask questions.
Safety Program Improvements
We have implemented several changes to help make our safety programs more efficient and robust.
Including refreshed educational campaigns to prevent hand and finger injuries and to reduce hazards, as well as using a more comprehensive contractor safety qualification process to help ensure we are selecting partners whose SH&E values are in line with our own. We also implemented a global system for collecting and maintaining safety data sheets for the materials used at our locations, and continued progress on a comprehensive review of our corporate SH&E standards.