Occupational safety is the safety of our employees and contractors in the workplace. In our 2021 DSM Responsible Care Plan update, we strengthened our Occupational Safety Frequency Index REC target, aiming for a rate of <0.20 in 2027. This is the next step in our ambition to make our company fully incident- and injury-free.
In 2022, however, we saw a deterioration of our Safety performance, resulting in an increase of the Occupational Safety Frequency Index REC from 0.22 to 0.28. This level is above our 2021 target level of 0.24 and far from where we aim to be. The increase was mainly caused by a rise in awareness-related incidents such as slips and trips. To understand and counter the strong rise in these incidents, company-wide initiatives and discussions took place in many different leadership teams focusing on the mindset of our people. We aim to ensure that, despite so much happening both within and beyond DSM, our colleagues are fully focused on good safety practices at all times. At our recently acquired sites – where the frequency and severity of incidents played a part in our higher overall incident rate – dedicated integration programs are underway to improve safety standards and culture.
Key initiatives driving success
In 2022, we focused on improving safety at those sites with the highest number of recordable incidents in 2021, with these sites reducing their number of injuries by 40%. In addition, we rolled out several global learning activities to our colleagues in operations to help avoid reoccurring (severe) incidents. With our peer-to-peer review initiatives, we have shown we can identify possible gaps at an early stage to prevent incidents in the future. By integrating our safety and health resources globally, we also gave better support to our sites on their journey to becoming incident-free.
To keep our contractors safe, we employ the same strategies as for our own organization, with a focus on learning from past incidents and on the robust implementation of our Life-Saving Rules. The Frequency Index of All Recordable Contractor Injuries increased to 0.47 in 2022 (versus 0.41 in 2021). This trend is comparable to the total frequency index (see above).
Focusing on safety with passion and care
In line with our aspiration to become fully incident- and injury-free, we will continue to promote an engaging and disciplined safety culture by means of focused improvement programs, such as through the roll-out of a Behavior-Based Safety program (Safestart®) at our production sites and a new program focused on integrating well-being and safety.
Process safety refers to the safe operational design of our facilities. In 2022, our Process Safety Incident rate decreased from 0.23 to 0.18, putting us on track to reach our target of <0.15 in 2024.
As with occupational safety, we focused on the sites that had the highest number of process safety recordable incidents in 2021 and reduced their number with 45%. A pareto analysis was made of the root causes of loss of primary containment and for the most occurring root causes a self-assessment tool was developed to steer site improvements. Furthermore, the continuing activities around our behavior-based programs and integration improvement programs for recent acquisitions contributed to this improvement.
In addition to the above, we continued to follow up on process safety incidents to capture lessons learned that will help us avoid reoccurrences at other sites, as well as at recently acquired sites. We started a project to integrate all process safety information within a single Process Safety Management system to improve quality and consistency. We continued to monitor and manage the process safety life cycle, including promoting a ‘right-first-time’ approach and evaluating effectiveness. We also continued to strengthen the development of regional and local competences. Together with our Behavior-Based Safety programs and our Life-Saving Rules, these activities made a significant contribution to preventing incidents.