Since the 1995 Hanshin Awaji Earthquake, Kobe Steel has engaged in recovery and reconstruction work while strengthening company-wide measures dealing with earthquakes and other natural disasters. We have drawn up management guidelines on disaster prevention for the whole company, with a focus on preventing accidents and minimizing damage and injury in the event of a disaster. Despite these efforts, we have not found it possible to completely eliminate fires from occurring. We will continue our disaster-prevention activities on a Group-wide basis in the years to come.
* Information in this section reflects public relations materials on disaster prevention published by the Working Group on Corporate Evaluation and Operational Continuity of the Central Disaster Prevention Council.
The Kobe Steel Group draws up a Company-Wide Disaster Prevention Management Policy every year that deals with earthquakes and other natural disasters. We are constantly working to increase our disaster prevention readiness by following policy guidelines are that accommodate the specific circumstances of each individual workplace.
The Kobe Steel Group strives to be adequately prepared for typhoons, earthquakes and other natural disasters, and to eliminate fires, explosions, and leaks.
Respect for human life
Continuity of corporate activities Cooperation with the local community
Organization Chart for Company-Wide Disaster Prevention Management
Group Disaster Prevention Meeting
The Kobe Steel Group holds an annual Group Disaster Prevention Meeting that is attended by representatives from Kobe Steel's works, plants and offices and Group companies. The purpose of the meeting is for companies in the Group to use this opportunity to share information on disaster prevention.In 2006, the Group Disaster Prevention Meeting was held on November 11 and was attended by 115 representatives from 60 Group companies. Reports were made on specific activities related to disaster prevention at locations and Group companies. A special address was given by Professor Haruo Hayashi, director of Kyoto University's Disaster Prevention Research Institute and a leading figure in disaster prevention research.
Kobe Steel 2006 Group Disaster Prevention Meeting
Disaster Management in Times of Emergency
In the event of a large-scale earthquake or other natural disaster or accident, a Disaster Countermeasures Center will be set up to conduct relief and restoration activities.
In addition, the Kobe Steel Group Intranet will be used to share emergency information and news about employee safety disseminated from the Group companies affected.
Organization Chart for Disaster Management Headquarters
The General Manager of the Disaster Management Headquarters is the President of Kobe Steel. The President appoints the Deputy General Manager of the Disaster Management Headquarters.
Compliance with the Law on the Prevention of Disasters in Petroleum Industrial Complexes and Other Petroleum Facilities
On July 20, 2006, the Extraordinary Disaster Management Office of the Fire and Disaster Management Agency and the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency requested Kobe Steel to prepare a report on its inadequate procedures, under the Law on the Prevention of Disasters in Petroleum Industrial Complexes and Other Petroleum Facilities, which were discovered in July 2006 at our Kakogawa Works and Kobe Works,.
In response, we submitted a report at the end of July concerning the basic compliance conditions related to our hazardous materials facilities, high-pressure gas facilities, and filed a new notification of change.
We have taken this lapse very seriously and have redoubled our efforts to maintain strict compliance with all disaster-prevention laws to help ensure that no further infractions occur.
Disaster Prevention Measures at Plants, Works and Offices
Despite our best efforts to prevent accidents, we were unable to prevent fires from breaking out in FY2006. We have already investigated the causes and are taking appropriate countermeasures. We will continue our efforts to prevent recurrences and the outbreak of similar accidents in the future.
Main Accidents in FY2006
Time and Location
A fire started in the underground pit of a large, free-forging press. High-temperature scale generated during the forging process fell into the pit through a crack and ignited some grease.
In-house Power Generation Plant, Boiler No. 6*2
Because SOx emissions from Boiler No. 6 had exceeded the limits prescribed by the Air Pollution Control Law, the boiler had been shut down. During trial operations as part of preparations to bring the boiler back online, heavy oil that had accumulated at the bottom of the boiler seeped through cracks and penetrated the insulation material, which ignited. The cause was as follows: the growth of deposits caused by uneven sand flow had interfered with the performance of the heavy-oil burner.
Scale from forging equipment used to manufacture crankshafts and other products fell through an opening into the pit and started a fire. Various equipment was burned, including electrical cables used for operational equipment.
Because fires had broken out repeatedly at Takasago Works, a comprehensive inspection was conducted to prevent recurrence. As part of our ongoing efforts, we have removed all unnecessary materials and have totally revamped our management of fire sources, among other things.
We instituted educational programs for boiler operators and incorporated the following as standard operational procedure: all residue is to be removed before the boiler is started, and the flow of flowing materials is now monitored. After these steps, test operation was resumed. In addition to previous inspection items, we now implement a thorough check that extends from the fuel supply phase through to the exhaust gas phase. The boiler was restarted on January 7, 2007.
Earthquake Training Drills at Takasago Works
On January 18, 2007, comprehensive earthquake training drills were conducted at Takasago Works, in conjunction with the "All-Company Earthquake Preparedness Day" held on January 17. Intended to help employees quickly and correctly collect information concerning injuries and damage, the drills drew the participation of 1,260 people, including those from cooperating companies.
Scenes from the comprehensive earthquake training drills
Security Measures for In-House Power Plants at Company Steelworks
Various problems have arisen regarding Kobe Steel's in-house power plants, including repeated incidents of steam leakage; incidents that were not properly reported to the relevant governmental agencies, and failure to meet technical standards specified by the Electricity Enterprises Law. In response, we have formulated and implemented various measures to ensure the safety and security of our power generating facilities.
Measures to Strengthen Security Management Systems and System Functionality Four measures have been adopted at Kakogawa Works and five at Takasago Works, including the creation of a new administrative organization that specializes in maintaining facility safety.
Measures to Introduce Regulations and Standards Thirty-nine regulations and standards were formulated at Kakogawa Works and eight at Takasago Works. In FY2006, we completed the review and organization of all regulations and standards, and put them into effect.
Measures Related to Facilities and Technology A total of 24 measures were formulated at Kakogawa and Takasago Works. Implementation of 14 of these was completed in FY2006, including the creation of a system to monitor the thickness of boiler tube walls. Steady progress is being made in completing the implementation of the remaining 10 measures, which include such projects as renovating Boilers 1-6 at Kakogawa Works.
We submit periodic progress reports to the Chubu Kinki Safety and Inspection Department of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry concerning our implementation status.
Walk-to-Work Training Exercise in the Kobe Area
It's been 12 years since the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake. Each year, the number of employees who experienced hardship getting to work because of inoperative transportation facilities has declined, while the number of employees who have had no experience with the earthquake increases. With this in mind, we held a special Walk-to-Work Training Exercise on February 3, 2007 for employees who work in the vicinity of Kobe Steel's headquarters, including employees at Group companies. Approximately 200 people participated.
The exercise was based on the assumption that a disaster had knocked out the usual means of transport in a given area of the city. Participants who lived inside the designated area had to walk to work from their homes to Kobe Steel headquarters; those who lived outside the area had to take their usual transport to the nearest operative station and walk from there. The maximum distance walked by participants was 13 kilometers. Participants walked in groups, as couples, and even brought their children along. They had to use maps to find the best route and avoid dangerous areas. They also confirmed the locations of convenience stores that were designated as assistance stations for people returning to their homes in case of emergency. Many comments were received concerning the usefulness of the drill, including one person who said, "As a first experience it was quite exhausting, but I'm glad we were able to check the locations of toilets and confirm which places were dangerous."
Participants in the Walk-to-Work Training Exercise arrive at their goal.