Safety, Industrial Hygiene

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Safety First, Always
At Bridgestone, we make safety a business value. Creating a safe working place for all is everyone’s responsibility.

The Bridgestone Group introduces all employees to the Group’s fundamental safety activities and expects them to regularly conduct these activities in their workplaces. The Group refined the Bridgestone Safety Mission Statement in 2012, changing the wording to “Safety First, Always” and “At Bridgestone, we make safety a business value. Creating a safe working place is everyone’s responsibility.” The Safety Mission Statement is applied to employees, contractors, and visitors. As a reminder, the Safety Mission Statement is posted in all locations.

Refined version of the Bridgestone Safety Mission Statement

The Bridgestone Group's Global Safety and Industrial Hygiene Working Group recently established the structure of our global safety management system developed in reference to ISO 45001, and we are now generating standards. In 2018, six new global safety standards were developed to be integrated into local standards in 2019. These included: disaster prevention, working at height, global injury reporting, lock out/tag out equipment, risk assessment standards, and mobile equipment safety. Additionally, ongoing training is conducted across the organization to meet both its exacting standards and all local regulatory requirements wherever the Bridgestone Group operates.

Global management structure

Our Safety and Industrial Hygiene Working Group, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Global Quality Management Committee (GQMC), discusses the most effective means of implementing group-wide fundamental safety activities under the supervision of the Global Executive Committee (G-EXCO) * . The working group currently has four task forces: System structure establishment; System content standardization; Metrics / KPI’s to visualize perfect safety and Monitoring / Suggestion. Each task force drafts global standards from its individual perspective. Task Force of Monitoring / Suggestion collects information on occupational health and safety incidents prevention, and prepares a quarterly report for the working group’s practical use.

The Bridgestone Group built a network comprising the Safety, Disaster Prevention and Environmental Enhancement Division and its Strategic Business Units to share information on accidents and their future recurrence prevention, identify issues and decide policies. Determined to share these policies and detailed measures with the rest of the Group, we hold meetings with occupational health and safety personnel at Group companies to facilitate a lively exchange between business managers and safety personnel at Strategic Business Units. At plant level, periodical health and safety committees are held according to local regulations to discuss safety enhancement and risk mitigation between labor and management.

* The highest-level committee which is associated with Bridgestone Global Group business execution and consists of members including CEO and Representative Executive Officer.

Management structure of Bridgestone Corporation in Japan

To encourage collaboration of substantial safety issues from a management perspective in Japan, Bridgestone corporate officer in charge of safety and disaster prevention work with our Human Resources, General Affairs and other divisions to promote company-wide occupational health and safety activities, identify issues, and confirm progress on implementing our fundamental safety activities.

The Central Health and Safety Committee is a company-wide organization comprising representatives of both labor and senior management (including related Vice Presidents, Directors etc.) that proactively discusses risk mitigation and improvements in workplace health and safety twice a year.

Bridgestone occupational safety and health management

Our safety initiatives

Bridgestone safety fundamental activities

Bridgestone implements our fundamental safety activities at all work sites. These activities stipulate basic safety practices 3S (seiri, seiton and seiso in Japanese, meaning select and remove, sort and keep clean); KY (kiken yochi in Japanese, meaning finding hazards beforehand); RA (risk assessment); and Safety rules, which are conducted uniformly at all work sites and by all employees conducted as ongoing initiatives. In 2018, 84 instructors were trained to promote our safety fundamental activities.

In addition to publishing guidelines defining specific implementation items and promoting activities, instructors familiar with the activities are assigned to each work site to facilitate a structure for developing and executing uniform safety activities at all work sites.

The Company also conduct level-based safety education for managers and supervisors at each work site.

Trained instructors

Year 2016 2017 2018
Number of trained instructors 69 114 84

Employees take part in Instructor Training

Bridgestone (China) Investment Co., Ltd. training

Bridgestone Logistics Europe NV training

Safety awareness

Bridgestone has continuously implemented occupational safety awareness surveys since 2009 to cultivate safety consciousness among employees. This survey asks questions related to the occurrence of accidents and safety activities and investigates the degree to which safety awareness improves each year. The answers are used to engage in improvements of the various issues raised in the survey and are linked to further improving safety consciousness.

In addition, the management team visits work sites in each location, including Group companies outside Japan, as part of ongoing efforts to reinforce safety as a value.

In Bridgestone Europe, Russia, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), the demographics of the workplace are changing rapidly. Today, we have a far more multi-generational workforce. To be sure everyone is engaged and trained on our health and safety requirements, Bridgestone EMEA introduced gamification, new media and digital training that has been positively received. This work was recognized with a Bridgestone Group Award in early 2019.

Safe engineering

Bridgestone is working to lower risk by pursuing occupational safety in manufacturing, stores and warehouses according to global risk assessment standard. Our efforts involve conducting assessments to identify risks and establish engineering controls and implementing appropriate work procedures to reduce serious injury risk.

The Company continues to assign and train safety engineers (SEs) as experts in equipment safety. Based on the results of our risk assessments for existing operations and equipment and new/modified projects, we identify equipment posing high injury risk and put safety measures in place.

Management system

As mentioned at the beginning, the Bridgestone Group has established the structure of global safety management system aligned with ISO45001 and is in process of generating global standards. To date, 53 manufacturing plants have obtained OHSAS 18001 certification (32% in total 165 plants) as of April 2019 and all facilities are adopting global standards as developed. The Bridgestone Group manufacturing sites use checklists to assess standards of occupational safety and health, including compliance with applicable laws and regulations, while further improving working safety levels.

Information on any industrial accidents that occur within the Group is shared together with any details of similar accidents in the broader rubber product manufacturing industry, or companies in general. Countermeasures are introduced to prevent recurrence.

The Bridgestone Group uses internal checklists to confirm safety training, education and drills are implemented; specifications on work procedures are properly drafted; any abnormalities are reported and improved; fire equipment is checked daily.

The Group is always seeking to enhance our occupational safety and health management systems to ensure our fundamental safety activities provide appropriate worker safety.

Workload mitigation

As one of work environment management, Bridgestone is taking countermeasures for heatstroke by installing cooling air machines and making airflow inside plants. Then, Bridgestone gives heatstroke preventive drinks and candies to teammates. In addition, as one of work management, some plants in Bridgestone started working posture load evaluation by OWAS (Ovako Working Analysis System) method to improve ergonomics issues.

Safety performance

The Bridgestone Group has established Global Criteria for Occupational Injury to classify injuries occurring at the Group production, distribution and sales facilities as well as warehouses. In addition to compiling injury statistics on a quarterly basis, the Group puts the investigation to use in preventing similar injuries.

In 2018, across the Bridgestone Group, there were 23 serious injuries*1 and no fatalities among employees at 4,610 production and logistics sites, and retail shops. Unfortunately, the Group experienced one contractor fatality. The Group fully participated in the investigation with local authorities and continues to work toward our goal of perfect safety.

The Group’s 2018 performance reflected a 20 percent reduction in the number of employee serious injuries and fatalities from 2017.

Bridgestone Corporation (operations in Japan only) also tracks the frequency*2 and severity*3 rates of work-related lost-time injuries. In 2018, these indicators were below the average of both the Japanese manufacturing industry and rubber product manufacturing.

The Bridgestone Group began collecting and reporting this type of information on a global basis in 2019.

Bridgestone will continue to promote safety activities centered on the Bridgestone Safety Fundamental Activities without compromise, deviation or exception, with the aim of reducing the number of all injuries, including serious injuries, closer to zero.

  1. The Bridgestone Group defines serious injuries as amputation (except some first joints of finger or toe), complete loss of vision, fracture (excluding finger, toe, foot, hand or in fracture) and hospitalization of more than one month.
  2. Frequency rate = (number of lost-time injuries/total working hours) x 1,000,000
  3. Severity rate = (total number of working days lost/total number of working hours) x 1,000

*4 This number has been updated after the Labor Office finally judged the disability grade of a person injured in 2017.
*5 Bridgestone will update this number after the Labor Office confirms the working days lost of persons injured in 2018.

Fatalities (Bridgestone Group)

  2016 2017 2018
employee 1 1 0
contractor 2 2 1

Occupational illness frequency rate*6 (OIFR) (Bridgestone Corporation)

  2015 2016 2017 2018
occupational illness frequency rate (OIFR) 0.22 0.22 0.50 0.31

*6 Occupational illness frequency rate = (number of occupational illness /total working hours) x 1,000,000

Disaster response management

The Bridgestone Group has created a Disaster Prevention Global Guideline based on previous incidents with primary focus on disaster preparedness drills, including firefighting drills and preventative inspections of electrical wiring.

Similar to injuries, we share information on fires once it occurs within the Group and the measures taken to prevent similar accidents.

The Bridgestone Group has designated September 8 as Bridgestone Group Disaster Prevention Day, and the company’s workplaces now conduct emergency drills every year on that day. We continue to strengthen fire prevention measures and strive to create safe, stress-free workplaces.

Global Disaster Prevention Center

Training session at the Global Disaster Prevention Center

Training session at the Global Disaster Prevention Center

To instill in all Group employees the Bridgestone Safety Mission Statement of “Safety First, Always” from a disaster prevention perspective, the Global Disaster Prevention Center was established in Kodaira, Tokyo, in September 2015 and is located inside Bridgestone.

Fire prevention is also a key safety value at the Bridgestone Group. The Global Disaster Prevention Center engages in education and training to review the causes of unforgettable disaster prevention failures, such as the fire at the Bridgestone Tochigi Plant on September 8, 2003. Bridgestone conducts various types of training at the Global Disaster Prevention Center, including sessions that resonate with employees because of stories told about past fire disasters and sessions that demonstrate the danger of fire by allowing employees to experience the sensations of static electricity and dust explosions. Bridgestone also conducts training that leads to prevention and early detection of disasters using wreckage found in fire-devastated areas and model facilities. By introducing examples of fires that have occurred not only in Japan but also overseas, the center has established a hands-on learning environment for global disaster prevention training.

Bridgestone continually enhances the trainings provided at the Global Disaster Prevention Center. Sessions related to natural disasters were added on March 11, 2016, the anniversary of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, and present lessons learned from that disaster.

Trained personnel at Global Disaster Prevention Center

  2016 2017 2018
Number of trained personnel 2,244 3,079 2,199

Health management

Health management approach in Japan

Our goal at Bridgestone is “to maintain a sound labor force and create a comfortable workplace,” and we conduct our occupational health management, including healthcare programs with that aim in mind.

Healthcare programs

Regular check-ups

In Japan, Bridgestone conducts regular and special health check-ups, as well as health exams for employees working outside Japan as required under the Industrial Safety and Health Law. Resident industrial physicians and other medical personnel offer proper healthcare guidance to employees with health issues, usually at the Company’s Health Care Center.

Bridgestone has 12 industrial medicine specialists at 12 sites nationwide, and we hold annual meetings for all industrial physicians. The Company also has full-time industrial health staff, including public health nurses, who deal with special examinations and health insurance.

Mental healthcare

In Japan, Bridgestone supports the mental and physical health of our employees. Industrial physicians and medical staff form the core of our mental health efforts, supported by an external Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that also covers employees’ families. We have established mental health plan for each office that complies with Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare guidelines on self-care, consultation line care, on-site industrial medical staff care, and off-site care.

Career counselors in the Counseling Office at our head office help ensure better mental health for our employees. Our Return to Work Program, launched in 2010, helps employees ease back into the workplace, and reduces the risk of relapse by forming strong links between the human resources division, an employee’s immediate managers, and our medical team. In 2016, we introduced stress tests for employees, and organizational assessments at all business locations.

Healthcare program evaluation

Bridgestone evaluates our health programs and management status against original standards in five areas of occupational health: overall management, health education, work environment management, work management and health management. We introduced this evaluation at manufacturing facilities and offices in 2010, extending it to Group companies in Japan in 2011.

Going forward, the Company will seek to further enhance health education and improve compliance with occupational health regulations and our own Group standards.