Chemical Industry Federation of Finland: Occupational safety in chemical industry companies improved significantly

28-Apr-2010 - Finland

The activities taken in chemical industry companies to improve occupational safety and the competencies of employees are bearing fruit, according to the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland. In the evaluation of environmental impacts, companies have increasingly focused on the management of the entire product chain. In this work the different footprints are an important tool.

In 2009, the member companies of the Responsible Care programme had 9.6 lost time injuries per million working hours accumulated. This means a 21-per cent reduction compared to the number recorded for 2008. The volume of lost working hours per all working hours accumulated was 942. This is 10 per cent less than in 2008.

The positive downward development in lost time injuries is no co-incidence. It is the result of the chemical industry companies' substantial voluntary investments in occupational safety and training of personnel. Based on the follow-up launched in 1988, lost time injuries have decreased by almost 80 per cent. Each year all employees in the chemical industry companies take part in environmental, health and safety training. The total number of training events held was almost 2,000.

One of the most popular tools in the development of safety was the Occupational Safety Card. In 2005 about 30 per cent of the companies committed to Responsible Care used the card. In 2009 the share of companies using it was almost 80 per cent.

Chemical industry companies have taken the various footprint models in permanent use. In monitoring environmental impacts, the footprints are an important tool. The operating model of the Responsible Care programme is well-suited to the mastering of footprints, linking them to goal-driven environmental, health and safety work. In the companies of the field, the most important thing is the reduction of production-related emissions as well as the efficient use of materials and energy.

Chemistry plays a key role in evaluating the footprints and reducing their size purposefully. Chemistry already offers various crucial solutions in, for example, the utilisation of biomass and waste. When it comes to creating new solutions, chemistry is a key ingredient, as well.

The water discharges and air emissions of the companies committed to the Responsible Care programme have been monitored since 1988. During this period the acidifying air emissions in proportion to production have diminished by over 80 per cent. Emissions of volatile organic compounds have gone down by over 70 per cent. Water discharges causing eutrophication have diminished by 50 per cent. Also, water discharges of potentially eco-toxic substances are down by about 70 per cent.

The progress of environmental, health and safety work is monitored and reported annually as part of the chemical industry's international Responsible Care programme. In Finland, 107 companies representing the different fields of the chemical industry have committed to the Responsible Care. These companies employ almost 21,000 people. The report including the 2009 figures was published on April 26, 2010. The statistics cover over 80 per cent of the chemical industry production in Finland.

Other news from the department business & finance

Most read news

More news from our other portals

Is artificial intelligence revolutionising chemistry?