Occupational Health and Safety

Basic Approach

In its CSR Policy, SMM states “According safety the highest priority, SMM shall provide safe, comfortable working environments and seek to eliminate occupational accidents,” and we are aiming to achieve this.

Therefore, the Vision for 2020 depicts “a company that accords safety the highest priority and provides comfortable working environments,” stipulating concrete targets.

We promote safety-related activities under a basic policy to nurture a safety culture and ensure thorough safety management through the line of command.

Moreover, providing comfortable working environments includes ascertaining levels of dust, noise, specified chemicals and organic solvents, making necessary improvements to those environments, and enhancing occupational health management.

Ensure safety

  • Make our final target zero occupational accidents overall
  • Reduce occupational accidents to three or fewer per year by 2020 and establish frameworks for achieving this target (Japan)
  • Halve the frequency rate of occupational accidents by 2020 (Worldwide)
    Reduce the frequency rate from 1.28 (CY2011) to 0.60 (CY2020)

Provide comfortable working environments

  • Provide healthy working environments
    (1) Achieve zero new cases of employees with occupational disease (requiring treatment) (Worldwide)
    (2) Achieve zero Control Class 3 workplaces (excluding locations stipulated in guidelines, etc.) and reduce Control Class 2 workplaces (Japan) (*)
  • Implement other working environment improvements
  • Changed in 2016 from “Achieve zero Control Class 3 workplaces (excluding locations stipulated in guidelines, etc.) (Japan)

Occupational Health and Safety Management Framework

The executive officer supervising the Safety & Environment Control Department is responsible for matters relating to health, safety and the environment, and coordinates health and safety management for the SMM Group. Also, each sector of our Head Office organization and each workplace will have assigned a health and safety officer in charge of functional coordination relating to health and safety issues.

The general manager of each workplace is appointed health and safety manager for that workplace, as provided for by the Japanese Industrial Safety and Health Act. Health and safety management is advanced within the organization according to instructions given by the health and safety manager of each workplace.

Constructive discussions on ways to improve health and safety in the workplace take place during meetings of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee comprising representatives from both labor and management.

  • One of the annual Occupational Health and Safety Committee meetings

  • Holding improvement case study presentations, lectures, and training intended to be implemented at each workplace

Assuring Health and Safety

Health and Safety Activities in Business Sites

Safety-related activities in CY2015 were conducted with a focus on the following measures:

  1. Priority-oriented accident risk identification
  2. Strengthening residual risk(*1) management
  3. Strengthening education for less-experienced employees(*2)
  4. Further strengthening and enhancement of group education
  5. Enhancement of safety management of contractors
  • Residual risks: Risks remaining after measures are implemented
  • Less-experienced employees: Employees with less than five years’ experience

To raise the effectiveness of measures, we implement safety activities in conjunction with education through group activities with content from the Anzen Dojo. Safety activities are also advanced by employees of the SMM Group together with contractors.

Health-related activities during 2015 were pursued under the following themes:

  1. Steady implementation and continuation of work environment improvements
  2. Protective equipment usage management and maintenance
  3. Enhancing awareness of, and communication about, the dangers and hazards of chemical substances
  4. Compliance with stricter work environment regulations relating to chemical substances
  5. Providing care as part of health management (e.g. health guidance for employees diagnosed with an illness)

Under a labor-management agreement concerning dust, visual display terminals (VDT), lead and noise, procedures for preventing illness and taking action when illnesses occur are set forth.

Chemical substance regulations have been strengthened, and refractory ceramic fibers were designated as Specified Chemical Substances in 2015. We held briefings about these fibers for engineering sections on legal compliance and informed departments involved. Going forward, we will obtain information on revisions of laws and regulations that will continue to toughen, including adding risk assessment obligations and expansion of chemicals subject to the risk assessment.

Hazard Simulation Courses (Activities at the Oji-kan Facility)

On-site hazard simulation—Chain entanglement
hazard simulation

The SMM Group’s practical training facility, the Oji-kan, commenced a range of hazard simulation courses in January 2010. By December 30, 2015, a period of roughly six years, a total of 7,000 Japan-based SMM Group employees and 3,600 contractor employees had undergone training there.

To make it possible for all employees at each of our business sites, including top management, to take part in training at the same time, the facility has been conducting on-site practical hazard simulations since July 2013. In 2015, 1,200 people took part in on-site courses. Workplaces also use the Oji-kan’s facilities for their own independent safety training courses.

Even overseas workplaces make good use of the Ojikan. Every year, around 15 employees from Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC) and THPAL in the Philippines visit the facility to take part in hazard simulation courses. The Pogo Gold Mine in Alaska, the United States also sends a number of officers each year to tour the facility and apply what they learn to safety activities at the mine.

Tours of the Oji-kan facility are also actively provided to other companies and organizations. Every year, a large number of them come to visit the facility to exchange information.

SMM Anzen Dojo

Our Safety & Environment Control Department has held the SMM Anzen Dojo (lit. safety training center) since 2013 to enhance the risk sensibility of all SMM Group employees, provide hazard simulations, and to bring up the level of safety activities at each workplace. The Anzen Dojo trains personnel to become safety experts and leaders at their respective workplaces. These safety leaders, with knowledge and sensibility, return to their workplaces to take part in planning, and running education and activities about safety for all workers, in small groups. This makes it possible for workplace safety activities to be implemented more effectively and efficiently.

Anzen Dojo training (seven-hour spring course)

In 2015, the Anzen Dojo was held twice, and safety leaders learned about intrinsic safety for equipment, how to prepare an Ikisatsu Diagram,(*) basic communication skills, and decline in physical functions due to aging and countermeasures. This completed the six-session Anzen Dojo program, and 60 safety leaders from 49 workplaces completed the whole course.

In 2016, we will run sevenhour courses in spring and fall to upgrade and maintain the level of current safety leaders in addition to holding a short Anzen Dojo program with three sessions aimed at supplementing and increasing the number of safety leaders.

  • Ikisatsu Diagram: A technique for investigating the underlying causes of an accident

Incidence of Occupational Accidents

The total number of occupational injury accidents occurring at workplaces in Japan was an all-time best of eight (frequency rate: 0.62) in 2015, and there two lost-time accidents, which was also lower than in 2014.

There were seven injury accidents (frequency rate: 0.96) at overseas workplaces. The frequency rate for Japan and overseas was 0.74, and no fatal accidents occurred. There were no new instances of occupational illnesses at workplaces either in Japan or overseas. Note that this data was collected during the calendar year, January to December 2015.

Data on Occupational Accidents in Japan

Year Item SMM non-consolidated Group companies Total
All accidents 3 5 8
Fatalities 0 0 0
Lost time accidents 1 1 2
Working days lost 2 74 76
All accidents 5 8 13
Fatalities 0 0 0
Lost time accidents 1 3 4
Working days lost 50 118 168
All accidents 5 11 16
Fatalities 0 0 0
Lost time accidents 0 1 1
Working days lost 204 97 301
All accidents 3 8 11
Fatalities 0 0 0
Lost time accidents 0 3 3
Working days lost 9 172 181
All accidents 5 11 16
Fatalities 0 0 0
Lost time accidents 1 4 5
Working days lost 313 60 373
  • Scope: SMM, subsidiaries in Japan, Nippon Ketjen Co., Ltd., N.E. Chemcat Corporation, and the Mie District Div. of Mitsui Sumitomo Metal Mining Brass & Copper Co., Ltd.
  • No fatal accidents have occurred at SMM or any group companies since 2004.
  • Working days lost: The number of working days lost from the day after the occurrence of an accident. However, for accidents resulting in physical disability, the working days lost are considered labor days lost.

Initiatives to Fortify Accident Countermeasures

Although the number of accidents in the SMM Group has been falling over the long term as a result of various safety-related activities, accidents are being repeated due to similar unsafe activities and unsafe situations, thus requiring initiatives to be improved if we are to achieve our goal of halving the 2015 number.

In 2016, in addition to taking even stronger leadership on safety and health by the general manager of each workplace and effective utilization of safety leaders, we will continue to implement safety-related activities in line with the role of each level of our organization to nurture a culture of safety.