About Safety

We give first priority to safety as our basic principle
Aiming for zero accidents by promoting communication that starts with “Goanzen-ni” (“safety first”)!

Meiko Saihata
General Manager, Environment & Safety Office, Responsible Care Department, Showa Denko K.K.

The Showa Denko Group engages in a range of businesses, including the semiconductor materials and petrochemicals businesses. We frequently deal with hazardous substances as well as large and heavy machinery in our business operations and there could be a serious accident if we failed to pay proper attention. In order to prevent this from happening and ensure the safety of our own and our partner companies' employees and the local communities in the areas where we operate, we are conducting and will continue to conduct activities to achieve zero accidents. In the following, Meiko Saihata, General Manager of the Environment & Safety Office, explains the activities. (The dialogue was held in a former Showa Denko conference room on May 24, 2022.)

1. Present job duties

I am in charge of environment & safety under the Chief Operations, Manufacturing and Engineering Officer (CMEO). CMEO Masami Tobito also serves as Chief Quality Officer (CQO) and supervises the Group's operations in the seven categories of environment & safety, chemicals management, quality assurance, purchasing & procurement, production technology, equipment technology, and manufacturing, the last of which encompasses all of the aforementioned categories. Among these, priority is given in particular to safety, which we regard as the basis for all our activities. Safety measures are roughly divided into those for (1) occupational safety, (2) equipment safety and (3) security and disaster control. Based on the recognition that both environmental and safety issues are a factor in accidents that can put human life at risk, I am fulfilling my duties with a sense of grave responsibility.

2. Medium- to long-term measures to be implemented for safety

Safety is an essential theme and one that is linked with the call to “Gain social credibility through responsible business management,” which is one of the three sustainability-related material issues (materiality) that the Showa Denko Group has identified for the Group to achieve its own growth and also make contributions to society. We regard safety as the basis for our business activities and deem it important to build a system to ensure safety and nurture a culture of safety to eliminate occupational accidents and equipment-related incidents. Showa Denko and Showa Denko Materials (former Hitachi Chemical) will be integrated into one to become Resonac* in January 2023. Accordingly, we need to review the safety efforts made by the two companies to create effective safety measures to be implemented by the newly integrated company based on the shared concept of safety. As one of the milestones to this end, we are upholding targets for 2025.

  • * The change of the company name is subject to approval at the extraordinary meeting of shareholders to be held by each of the companies in late September 2022.

The KPIs set for safety based on the sustainability-related material issues (materiality)

Priority measures Targets for 2025 Results in 2021
Fostering of a culture emphasizing safety Establishment of a culture emphasizing safety to eliminate occupational accidents
(measured through global employee awareness surveys and improvement seen in results)
Identification of potential risks and advancement of safety measures
Occupational accidents Zero serious occupational accidents (consolidated) 0 (Showa Denko (consolidated in Japan) + Showa Denko Materials (non-consolidated))
Lost time incident rate 0.1 or less (consolidated, equivalent to zero accidents resulting in lost work time over a 10-year period at a site with 500 employees) 0.13 (Showa Denko (consolidated in Japan) + Showa Denko Materials (non-consolidated))
Equipment-related accidents Zero serious equipment-related accidents (consolidated) 0 (Showa Denko (consolidated in Japan) + Showa Denko Materials (non-consolidated))

3. Commitment to zero occupational accidents and zero equipment-related incidents

We are upholding zero serious occupational accidents and zero serious equipment-related accidents as our KPIs for safety. We aim to eliminate both occupational and equipment-related incidents. The frequency of occupational accidents is not just a statistic. It indicates the number of real people who have suffered. We should ensure that employees of the Group and its partner companies are not hurt or injured, and should not tolerate even a single accident. Rather than just mouth slogans, we need to communicate this across the company and examine each and every past occupational accident and equipment-related incident to make appropriate responses to eliminate them. It won't be easy to achieve zero, but I believe we can get there eventually.
In line with increased production, the number of occupational accidents has also been increasing recently. The occurrence of similar accidents at multiple places also reveals that we have not examined past accidents and shared the lessons learned sufficiently across the Group. It is difficult to control human consciousness and eliminate all human error. However, we need to carry out examinations of past incidents to implement measures on a long-term basis and share the experiences between our sites. In order to prevent the reoccurrence of similar incidents, we need to identify risk factors at each of our sites in an ongoing manner.

4. Measures to nurture a culture of safety

We greet each other by saying, “Goanzen-ni” (safety first)! I hope that employees of both Showa Denko and Showa Denko Materials will use this greeting on a daily basis to increase opportunities for them to think about safety. I hear that at a certain division members also say “Goanzen-ni” to employees working outside Japan to communicate the importance of safety. I will work to make this greeting a part of our daily operation and will also share safety-related messages through the intranet and the Group magazine to provide employees with more opportunities to think about safety.
The other day, I visited a Group site for environment & safety auditing and found that the on-site workers were highly safety conscious and were conducting outstanding safety activities. What happened was that there was an occupational accident at the site in 2019 in which an employee was seriously injured. After experiencing this incident, all of the on-site manufacturing processes and equipment were examined, and as many as 1,850 problems were identified. Subsequently, improvements were made, with more than 100 million yen invested. The head of this site, the general manager of the on-site manufacturing department and the environment & safety GL undertook examinations about the identified problems and gave improvement instructions, and this made the site's commitment to safety clear to on-site workers, which in turn encouraged them to conduct safety activities. The site has been hugely transformed because its employees made proactive responses to the safety commitment made by the site, I think.
It is critical that top leaders are working for safety in a serious manner. I therefore think the top management and safety managers, including myself, assume heavy responsibilities. As a means for our top leaders to communicate their safety commitment, their “safety declarations” are being relayed via the intranet. In order to promote safety activities, the top leaders of the entire organization and each workplace need to take actions proactively and build a workplace where all members voluntarily conduct safety activities in a mutually enlightening manner. Through the safety declarations, the top leaders, specifically the CXOs and general managers of the divisions, are thus sharing their safety commitment, including what they will do for safety, with all employees.

Part of "My Safety Declaration"

5. Ideas to achieve the ultimate in safety in the future

We make investments in safety measures, which we do not regard as a cost. For the Showa Denko Group, which is a manufacturer, preventing accidents directly helps the Group earn more trust from customers and other stakeholders as a corporate partner of choice, which in turn increases the Group's corporate value. Conducting safety measures is therefore the first step for us to “Gain social credibility through responsible business management.”
The site that I mentioned earlier implemented safety measures after experiencing a serious accident and transformed itself into a highly safe site that is also outstanding in terms of DX. However, what is most important is to identify problems before accidents occur and make daily improvements to this end. Employees are in a position to make proposals on making investments for safety and top leaders are in a position to make investment decisions. We need to nurture a safety culture that helps individuals to be more sensitive to safety and work seriously for safety while respecting each other's opinions.

In order to achieve this, I would like to foster internal communication. For the promotion of safety activities within the Group in Japan and abroad, I will do everything that I can. I will devise measures to this end going forward.
We give first priority to safety as our principle. While adhering to this idea, we will build a safety culture by building necessary programs and systems one by one. We have just started to do this and hope you will look forward to seeing what the Showa Denko Group will achieve going forward.