Health & Well-being
Occupational health and industrial hygiene
Occupational health and industrial hygiene activities aim to prevent health issues caused by prolonged or repeated exposure to potential health hazards, such as chemical, noise or biological hazards, or ergonomic risk.
In 2022, in addition to reporting on the number of occupational health incidents, we also started reporting the incident rate with a corresponding target level. Our target is to reduce the occupational health incident rate to <0.07 by 2024. In 2022, we recorded an incident rate of 0.09, corresponding to 25 total cases. Workplace health hazards had more of an impact on the number of health incidents in 2022 than in previous years due to changes in our portfolio via acquisitions and divestments.
Over the past few years, most of the recorded cases have been related to ergonomic risk factors. To address this, we are implementing a dedicated program that tackles both the behavioral and the technological aspects of ergonomics. A pilot in 2022 proved successful and the program will be rolled out globally.
Besides ergonomics, we continued to minimize potential exposures to health hazards by focusing on standardization and best practices. The internal Health Risk Assessment tool was updated in 2022 to reflect advances in risk assessment practices and is being rolled out globally. Likewise, the internal standard on noise has been updated, setting new requirements for the prevention of occupational hearing loss via more stringent measuring conditions and protection requirements. Through the DSM Responsible Care Program, we aim to ensure regional access to global data and industrial hygiene professionals, build leadership awareness of occupational health issues, and enhance the related reporting infrastructure.
Employee health and well-being
As a Health, Nutrition & Bioscience company, we continuously invest in the health and well-being of our workforce. Our strategy equips and empowers our employees to take care of their health and well-being in a sustainable way.
On a global level, we focused on two key areas in 2022: creating optimal hybrid working conditions and promoting approaches and tools to improve employees’ mental and physical health. As part of our continued adoption of hybrid working practices, for instance, we invested in ensuring good ergonomic conditions for our colleagues at our sites and at home. As well as providing appropriate equipment, we also focused on education and training. Meanwhile, we implemented a program to improve nutrition for our workforce at our sites and launched an education initiative for employees worldwide, which included changes to menus at some of our on-site canteens.
Besides this, we completed the year-long pilot of our Vitality program – part of #BoostYourImmunity – in the Netherlands in 2022. With COVID-19 having emphasized the importance of immunity and vitality for everyone, we conducted a joint pilot together with Zilveren Kruis (our health insurer in the Netherlands) and Just2Bfit, for our employees. The pilot aimed to improve their immunity and vitality through healthy lifestyles, nutritional training and dietary supplements. Furthermore, it examined the effects of sustainable, healthy behavioral changes on general well-being and motivation, blood vitamin levels, and absence rates.
Over 12 months, a group of volunteers from our locations in the Netherlands received weekly healthy lifestyle training on exercise, mindset, nutrition and recovery, completed regular online questionnaires on lifestyle and immunity, took periodic blood tests, received daily nutritional supplements, and took part in online and telephone monitoring. External analysis confirmed that the Vitality program motivated employees to follow a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, the results suggested that the dietary supplements increased participants’ vitamin D levels by an average of 41% between the start and the end of the pilot. The beneficial effect on absence rates that was found in the pilot group is still being investigated. As part of our culture of health at work, we will roll out this Vitality program worldwide and will continue to research its effects.
Local actions give targeted support
As well as global initiatives, we put in place a wide range of regional health and well-being programs to support our people. In China, for instance, we remained focused on supporting DSM employees through COVID-19 lockdowns, thanks to initiatives including grocery package deliveries and engaging online activities. Employees in India attended expert-led health talks on post-COVID nutrition, women’s health and more, and across the Asia-Pacific region, a mobile app helped colleagues expand their life skills and realize personal and professional goals through quizzes, guided exercises, articles, and direct expert advice. In North and Latin America, we engaged in activities to improve the physical, emotional and financial well-being of our people and their families through workshops, talk sessions and guided exercises.
In many DSM locations in Europe, we supported employees in balancing their mental and physical well-being. In Switzerland, we held a series of mental health seminars, while colleagues in the UK benefited from free fruit supplies and a free flu vaccination. In France, a ‘Let’s have a healthy summer’ campaign was organized, and dozens of employees took part in a blood drive to help the wider community. Around the world, DSM’s Employee Assistance Program continued, providing a 24/7 emotional and psychological support service for employees and their family members, and in October 2022, webinars on ‘Maximizing Your Resilience’ offered all DSM employees the chance to build this important trait.
Since the onset of war in Ukraine in February 2022, we also maintained a strong focus on supporting the health and safety of our seven DSM colleagues in Ukraine, their families, and our colleagues who have loved ones in the region. Our local leadership has been aided by our Global Response Team in its efforts, which include relocation support. In neighboring Poland, our humanitarian actions include support for the families of our Ukrainian colleagues; the offer of Polish language lessons, psychological support, and medical services; and assistance for family members looking for new employment. Beyond supporting our DSM colleagues, we also implemented a dedicated employee donation scheme with our partners at the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food-based assistance to the people in Ukraine and refugees in neighboring countries.
Employee survey results show the value of these initiatives: employee support was the second most frequently mentioned response to the question of what factors contribute most positively to people’s experience at DSM. The mental and physical care provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, the support offered during times of bereavement, and the warm welcome given to new joiners were among the highlights mentioned by respondents.