Health and Safety

Health and Safety

The KOBELCO Group operates under the basic philosophy that safety and health are fundamental to operation and management and take precedence over all business activities. Under this principle, we naturally comply with relevant laws and regulations and carry out various safety and health activities to create a vibrant workplace where employees can work safely and with peace of mind.

Based on our company-wide Safety and Health Management Policy, each business location formulates its own safety and health management policy, safety and health targets, and safety and health action plans, and promotes improvements throughout the PDCA cycle. In addition, we work together with contractors and other important external stakeholders involved in the Group’s business to ensure and apply thorough safety and health management.

As a result, we have been able to reduce the number of occupational accidents and maintain a low frequency of accidents resulting in absence from work. We recognize that protecting the lives and health of employees is the utmost priority in fulfilling our corporate social responsibilities. Our Environment and Safety Department plays a central role in checking and auditing the actual situation on-site based on occupational health and safety management systems (OSHMS) for all business locations, Group companies, and affiliated partner companies. The purpose is to identify weaknesses and provide support that cuts across the organization from the perspectives of personnel, facilities, and management in an effort to improve the level of safety and health. However, we have not yet obtained external certifications such as OSHMS 18001 or ISO 45001.

Basic Policy

Targets for Accident Reduction (April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022)

  • Fatal accidents or accidents leading to serious injury (involving three or more people at the same time): Zero
  • Frequency of accidents resulting in absence from work: 0.10 or less

Thorough Measures against Accident Risks

We regularly conduct risk assessments of existing projects and projects for new business plans, regarding potential accident risks in operations and facilities, and work to reduce those risks and achieve inherent safety.

Supervision by the Board of Directors (Executive Council)

Our Company's Board of Directors (Executive Council) discusses the state of progress of accident prevention measures, including management of safety and health risks. The Company deliberates and supervises the implementation status of horizontal initiatives and the progress of initiatives listed in the Safety and Health Management Policy, led by Fusaki Koshiishi, Executive Vice President and Representative Director of the Company overseeing companywide health and safety.

Central Safety and Health Committee

In the Central Safety and Health Committee, the officer in charge of safety and health chairs the committee and reviews with labor union representatives the state of progress of accident prevention measures, including management of safety and health risks, the implementation status of horizontal initiatives, and the progress of initiatives listed in the Safety and Health Management Policy.

The Safety and Health Management Policy, which is deliberated and determined by the Central Safety & Health Committee, has been rolled out to all our business locations. At each business location, management, the labor union (full-time officials), and representatives of each workplace (not full-time officials) also participate in Safety and Health Committees that discuss the details of their policies and the progress of the various activities, while striving to ensure a safer and more comfortable working environment through dialogue between labor & management.

Achievements and progress against targets

Our health and safety targets are zero fatal accidents and a frequency of accidents resulting in absence from work of 0.10 or less. Our safety results for FY 2020 (April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2021) were: eight accidents resulting in absence from work for Kobe Steel employees(*1) and eight for contractor employees (contract employees)(*2), of which the number of fatal accidents was zero for Kobe Steel and zero for contractors. The frequency of accidents resulting in absence from work was 0.28, and we were able to achieve zero fatal accidents, but we have not yet eliminated accidents.

[Targets] Fiscal 2021 (April 1, 2021 - March 31, 2022)

fatal accident 0 matter
Frequency of accidents resulting in absence from work 0.10

[Results] Number of accidents resulting in absence from work and their frequency in the past 3 years

() are the number of fatal injuries

Fiscal Year Kobe Steel Employees Employees of Cooperative Companies rate of accidents resulting in absence from work
FY 2020 8 matter (0 matter) 8 matter (0 matter) 0.28
FY 2019 7 matter (0 matter) 3 matter (0 matter) 0.25
FY 2018 7 matter (0 matter) 14 matter (0 matter) 0.34
FY 2017 8 matter (1 matter) 7 matter (1 matter) 0.30
FY 2016 1 matter (0 matter) 13 matter (1 matter) 0.28

[Progress] (April 1, 2021 - July 31, 2021)

Fiscal Year Kobe Steel Employees Employees of Cooperative Companies rate of accidents resulting in absence from work
FY 2021 1 matter (0 matter) 2 matter (0 matter) 0.16

Issues behind these results include partial gaps in basic management and activities (variation from workplace to workplace) and raising each individual’s level of safety management, such as awareness of rule compliance and hazard prediction ability.

In FY 2021, we will further strengthen basic management and activities (rebuilding the standard culture and providing thorough stipulation and education) and carrying out initiatives for full participation and individual guidance (safety activities in which all employees take the initiative, and raising safety awareness through individual guidance), leading to the creation of a PDCA system that will spiral up results.

  • (*1) Kobe Steel employees・・・All employees employed by Kobe Steel (includes employees on loan, temporary employees, and part-time employees)

    (*2) Employees of cooperative companies:
    Employees under contract agreement with Kobe Steel (including temporary employees)
    (Total number of persons in FY20: 14,693 / Total number of persons in FY19: 15,328 / Total number of persons in FY18: 14,324)

Response to Disaster Accidents (Initiatives to Prevent Similar Accidents)

In addition to investigating the causes of injuries and fatal accidents and taking corrective measures for such accidents that have occurred in the Kobe Steel group and its affiliated partner companies, we also make reports to and have discussions with related departments and labor unions at Safety and Health Committee and other meetings.

Specifically, we work to prevent recurrences by investigating the causes of accidents based on four factors (the 4Ms: Man (human factors), Machine (machine factors), Media (environmental factors), and Management (management factors)), identifying issues, and considering and implementing measures in light of three perspectives (administrative, technical, and educational).

In addition to compiling the causes and countermeasures into an Accident Investigation Report, we also make efforts to prevent similar accidents by reflecting them in company-wide Safety Rules and applying them to other business sites and group companies. In the event of an industrial accident, we promptly disclose information to the public in accordance with the Accident Reporting Guidelines of the Japan Iron and Steel Federation.

Initiatives to Prevent Overwork

With a view to preventing overwork and to reforming work styles, we inform the supervisors of employees who have been working past 7:00 p.m. of the status of their overtime work in an effort to grasp of the workload of subordinates and curb long working hours. We also regularly share the status of overtime work with the labor union and share the status of departments and employees under a heavy burden.

In addition, for employees whose monthly overtime work has exceeded 45 hours, we check their health status by questionnaire (health survey sheet) and have those who wish it interviewed by an industrial physician. For employees with more than 80 hours of overtime work per month, we require an interview with an industrial physician, whose findings are provided as feedback to the employees’ supervisors to ensure thorough efforts to prevent overwork and manage employee health.

Employees with more than 80 hours of overtime work per month

Training on health and safety

Training on health and safety is continuously provided at the Head Office and other business locations. In fiscal 2020, all 694 employees targeted for training took part. In addition, as part of the health and safety training organized by the Head Office, we provide first to fifth year training for new employees, and training for newly appointed supervisors (chief operators, general foremen, and assistant managers). The breakdown of the number of trainees in each course is as follows.

  • Number of trainees in FY 2020
    [Results: New Employees (Years 1-5) ... 629 / Newly appointed supervisors ...65]

Independent verification of health and safety data

At Kobe Steel, a periodic stress check is conducted by Peace Mind Co., Ltd. Based on the data from the stress check, the mental health status of employees is verified and monitored by an external specialist organization. The results of these inspections are followed up on individuals and workplaces to improve employee health and safety.

Initiatives to Address Global Health Issues

Currently, many countries around the world are facing serious situations due to fatal health problems such as HIV (AIDS), tuberculosis, and malaria, affecting local residents and others. The Kobe Steel Group is committed to actively addressing such global health issues.

Our employees posted outside Japan receive health management and support according to their respective regions, including health checkups (before assignment, during assignment, and after return) and immunizations based on local conditions. We regularly exchange information with local contact staff and send industrial physicians to visit our overseas locations to provide medical tour services. In this way, we strive to manage the health of employees posted overseas by proving medical support and understanding the local medical environment.

As we expand our business in Thailand, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, and other countries around the world, we are working to address global health issues such as HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria by distributing overseas health management handbooks containing information on immunizations and overseas life (understanding of diseases, precautions on daily life, etc.) to employees and their families who are newly posted overseas to ensure they know how to deal with these health threats appropriately.

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