Material Issues / Governance

Employees’ Occupational Health and Safety

Approach and Policy

The SMM Group aims to create comfortable and safe workplaces, including at our contractors. An environment in which employees can carry out their work in safety and with peace of mind is an important element of management, leading to higher employee motivation and greater relationships of trust between employees and the Company. To address such issues, we are further advancing our ongoing equipment safety measures and have begun introducing advanced technologies such as the IoT1 and artificial intelligence (AI).

IoT: The Internet of things, under which services are deployed through all manner of things being connected through the Internet.

Occupational Health and Safety Management System

We are building a line management framework in which the president is the person ultimately responsible for occupational health and safety and the person in charge of each business site is appointed health and safety manager of that site, operating under the guidance and supervision of the general managers of the relevant divisions. Constructive discussions on ways to improve health and safety in the workplace also take place during meetings of the Occupational Health and Safety Committee comprising representatives from both labor and management. Furthermore, the executive officer responsible for the Safety & Environment Control Department tackles occupational health and safety by providing guidance and advice to each department and each of the Group’s business sites, as well as coordinating efficiently with the health and safety officer assigned to each division and business site in order to improve health and safety under the concepts of the OSHMS.2 We have business sites that have received OSHMS certification through the Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA) accreditation method, as well as business sites that have received or are preparing to receive ISO 45001 certification. At overseas business sites, we are building an occupational health and safety management framework based on local laws and regulations and are implementing initiatives including activities to ensure that hazard prediction, risk assessment, and the improvement of equipment are at the same level as in Japan.

OSHMS is an abbreviation of Occupational Safety and Health Management System and it is a management system that aims to improve occupational health and safety levels at business sites through the implementation of a set of processes known as the PDCA cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act), based on cooperation between businesses and their workers.

Vision for 2030, KPIs, Results, and Action Plans

Vision for 2030: A company where all employees work together with safety first the priority in a comfortable working environment as well as safe facilities and operations

1. Prevent occupational accidents

KPIs (Indicators and Goals) Results Issues FY2021 Action Plan
Serious accidents: zero (in Japan and overseas, including contractors).

All accidents: reduce year on year, with aim of eventually zero.

  • Zero serious accidents.
  • Number of accidents (CY2020)
    Numbers in parentheses are CY2019 results Employees: Japan 15 (14); overseas 0 (1) Contractors: Japan 8 (11); overseas 3 (6)
  • Examined conversion to smart plants (mines).
  • Implemented patrols using the web, etc.
  • Acquired ISO 45001 certification at Niihama Nickel Refinery.
  • Created manuals and implemented education for safety personnel.
  • Introduced virtual reality (VR) hazard simulation equipment.
  1. Continue to enhance equipment safety.
  2. Construct a management system with effective checks and actions.
  3. Continue development of human resources who place safety first in work.
  1. Enhance equipment safety
    •Formulate and execute investment plans for equipment safety enhancement.
    •Undertake DX initiatives to ensure safety at man-ufacturing bases.
  2. Construct a management system with effective checks and actions
    •Conduct appropriate risk assessments.
    •Promote ISO 45001 certification acquisition.
  3. Continue development of human resources who place safety first in work
    •Make effective use of work observation manual.
    •Promote understanding of safety rules through implementation of hazard simulation training.

Prevent occurrence of occupational diseases

KPIs (Indicators and Goals) Results Issues FY2021 Action Plan
Number of workplaces that present higher health risks: reduce year on year

Occurrence of occupational diseases: zero

  • There was some increase in the number of workplaces classified as Control Class 3 / Control Class 2 due to equipment deterioration, etc., but we continued to improve workplace environment.
  • Zero occupational diseases.
  1. Promote investments for improving workplace environments, and strengthening of management of maintenance.
  2. Checks and guidance during patrols, and follow-up on results of work environment measurement.
  1. Promote investments for improving workplace environments, strengthen management of maintenance
    •Improve and manage maintenance of atmospheric hazardous substance concentration in workplaces.
    •Standardize trend management and strengthen preventive measures.
  2. Checks and guidance during patrols, and follow-up on results of work environment measurement.

Initiatives and Sustainability Data

Group-Wide Activities

While we faced restrictions in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented the following measures to ensure safety.


  1. Formulated and began using the SMM work observation manual to prevent serious accidents, based on discussions in health and safety manager meetings on improving the effectiveness of work observation
    •Made work improvements and enhanced hazard aware-ness by clarifying points for discerning on-site risks
  2. Conducted group discussions on serious accident patterns at business sites, confirmation of on-site work, and work observation following improvements
  3. Improved efforts at business sites with instruction and support through patrols (including remote patrols) by individual divisions, the Besshi-Niihama District Division, and the Safety & Environment Control Department
  4. Continued hazard simulation training focused on compliance with safety rules at business sites


  1. Improved initiatives at business sites to provide instruction and safety education through remote patrols by individual divisions and the like
  2. Continued initiatives such as 10-second employee hazard prediction and activities to reduce risk through work observations and the like

Occupational Health Activities

  1. Promoted activities to reduce exposure to nickel and cobalt dust, chlorine, and the like, led by divisions together with business sites
  2. Encouraged the improvement of work environments by providing on-site instruction from the Besshi-Nii-hama District Division and support from the Safety & Environment Control Department

Work-Related Incidents (2020)

  • “Employees” includes employees and part-time workers from Group companies
Japan Overseas
Employees Non-employee workers Employees Non-employee workers
Number Rate Number Rate Number Rate Number Rate
Number of work-related fatalities and frequency rate
(Calculated per 1,000,000 hours, same applies below)
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Number of work-related injuries resulting in disability and frequency rate 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Number of recordable work-related injuries and frequency rate*2 15 1.13 8 4.07 0 0.00 3 0.28

“Recordable work-related injuries” is the total of injuries that required hospital treatment and resulted in absence from work and injuries not resulting in absence from work.

Work-Related Ill Health (2020)

  • (“Employees” includes employees and part-time workers from Group companies)
Japan Overseas
Employees Non-employee workers Employees Non-employee workers
Number of fatalities as a result of work-re-lated ill health 0 0 0 0
Number of cases of recordable work-related ill health*1 0 *2 0 0
  • *1Regarding employees in Japan, we also record the number of workers who receive abnormal findings but do not require treatment (as this is personal information, it is not disclosed).
  • *2Under Japanese laws and regulations, for workers other than employees, this falls under the responsibility and management of the businesses that hire them, so while we provide leadership, we are unable to disclose information.

Initiatives and Internal Awards at Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (Philippines)

At Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC), the SMM Group’s first HPAL plant, occupational accidents of minimal (not requiring absence from work) or greater severity had occurred nearly every year until 2016. In response, CBNC undertook hazard prediction education and in-house development of best practices, and effectively executed wide-ranging safety activi-ties including safety patrols and guidance by night managers and other persons in charge. The result was the achievement of 4 million continuous, fully accident-free person-hours since 2017. In March 2021, CBNC received the President’s award for security, safety, and occupational health management, a first for an overseas business site of our Group.

Photo: Hazard prediction board at CBNC
Hazard prediction board at CBNC
Photo: Scene from toolbox meeting (CBNC)
Scene from toolbox meeting (CBNC)

Topic in 2021

In June 2021, a fatal accident involving contact with a forklift occurred at the workplace of a Group company in Japan. In order to prevent the recurrence of such accidents, we will comply with work-place rules that return to the basics, enforce the implementation of basic actions, further enhance safety of equipment and deter unsafe behavior, and promote the creation of safe workplaces.