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The winners of the Chemical Industry Safety Awards have been selected – Focus on well-being at work

On 15 June 2023, the Chemical Industry Safety Awards were granted in three categories: CABB Oy (large companies), Yara Suomi Oy Kokkola plants (medium-sized companies) and Nalco Finland Manufacturing Oy (small companies). The winners have in common a broad and deep understanding of safety, active involvement of employees, collaboration and a focus on well-being at work. The number of accidents has decreased in all the winning companies.

Large companies: CABB Oy

In recent years, the company has implemented an investment programme that has required a great deal of attention and the recruitment of new employees. The company has hired more staff because of increased production and future retirements. This has ensured both the completion of investments and safe production.

A high level of safety has been achieved through a number of measures and development programmes.

Development programmes include:

– Leak prevention
– Electronic work permits
– Root cause analysis
– Security threats
– 5S (Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardise and Sustain)
– Development of solid matter supply
– Development of occupational hygiene
– Hazard identification
– Safety discussions
– Innovative behavioural safety (IBS)

Concrete changes have been achieved through the implementation of programmes that improve safety. Visible safety ensures continued operational development and the achievement of goals.

Collaboration is reflected in all operations at CABB. This ensures that everyone is involved in contributing to and improving safety. The further development of the company’s safety culture promotes a higher level of safety.


Medium-sized companies: Yara Suomi Oy Kokkola plants

The Kokkola plants of Yara Suomi use a process safety index consisting of nine components, including the number of reported process safety incidents, investigating incidents and determining and implementing measures, as well as equipment and system inspections and risk assessments, among other aspects. The index and its components constitute a whole that is easy to communicate and integrates process safety into day-to-day work. The index also enables safety to be communicated as continuous improvement, rather than being reported as a series of failures (accidents).

The company also uses an HESQ index consisting of eight components, such as processing safety incidents, determining and implementing measures on schedule and processing audit findings, as well as the number of preventive measures and safety discussions.


Small companies: Nalco Finland Manufacturing Oy 
The company pays a great deal of attention to forward-looking safety indicators and to increasing risk awareness. These indicators include workplace hazards and incidents that had a minor impact or no impact at all, but that could have had potential for greater damage.

The company’s goal is provide its employees with at least 24 hours of safety training per person per year. In 2022, the number of hours of training provided was more than two times higher than the goal. The company considers it important to understand and take account of human behaviour. In 2022, as part of occupational healthcare, the company identified psychosocial factors for all employees, and suggestions based on these factors were reviewed with the personnel.

“All the winners of the Chemical Industry Safety Awards have a broad and deep approach to safety. Through good employment relationship skills, all employees are involved in safety work. All the winners have a clear focus on well-being at work,” says Harri Järvelin, Safety Specialist, Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

“Safety is one of the aspects that have been monitored closely in the Responsible Care programme in the chemical industry over the decades. One-day absences caused by injuries have decreased by 78% from 2000. This is a huge change for the better. In 34 of the around 100 companies participating in the Responsible Care programme, there were no injuries in 2022. Zero injuries is a realistic goal that can be achieved through long-term development and continuous improvement,” says Harri Järvelin.

The Chemical Industry Safety Awards competition is part of the Responsible Care programme. The programme is developed and the competition is organised jointly by the Chemical Industry Federation of Finland, the Industrial Union, Trade Union Pro and the Federation of Professional and Managerial Staff.

“The winning companies also have a profound understanding of the fact that the best safety work takes place through collaboration, not top-down or in silos. Good occupational safety concerns the whole company and is reflected in productivity, management, the working atmosphere and recruitment. Safety is an area where you can always learn from others. A network such as Responsible Care is an excellent place for this,” says Mika Aalto, Director General, Chemical Industry Federation of Finland.

The Chemical Industry Safety Awards encourage companies to develop their safety work and share best practices.

The awards were presented in Helsinki on 15 June 2023. The awards have been granted five times previously: in 2010, 2014, 2017, 2019 and 2021.