Preventing Exposure to Harmful Substances
We are committed to reducing occupational health risks and improving working conditions by, for example, utilizing the Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OHSAS 18001) scheme, the harmful chemical substance risk assessment (new risk assessment system) established in fiscal 2015, through onsite inspections conducted by industrial physicians and health supervisors as well as by means of internal audits.
Since fiscal 2016, we have been using a new risk assessment system to systematically conduct risk assessments covering harmful substances (inhalant chemicals). In fiscal 2017, we completed qualitative evaluations for chemicals with a relatively high hazard level at all workplaces (total of 700 substances and 6,429 operations), as planned. We also completed approximately 460 quantitative evaluations. The following year, fiscal 2018, we conducted risk assessments for chemicals with lower hazard levels and completed a total of 9,415 qualitative evaluations covering all areas. Out of all the evaluations carried out, 3,140 cases that were judged to be of high risk, continued to be systematically monitored with quantitative evaluations, such as exposure assessments of individual employees. To date, quantitative assessment for 1,190 cases have been completed. Based on the results, we formulate improvement plans for working methods and the work environment to reduce potential risks.
We also built and tested specific risk assessments for health problems newly caused by the absorption of chemical substances through the skin in fiscal 2018 in response to a rise in social concern about absorption of hazardous chemicals through the skin. From fiscal 2019 onwards, we will implement the working methods and work environment improvement plan based on our quantitative assessments of inhalant chemicals. We also plan to complete the risk assessment for absorption of chemicals through the skin by fiscal 2020.
In so doing, we will promote further enhancements to measures for preventing exposure to harmful substances by conducting risk assessments.
Working environment improvement example (1) – Sampling of specific chemical substances
In a certain workplace, specific chemical substances and organic solvents were sampled in bottles. This created a risk of exposure or direct contact with hazardous substances.
An enclosed liquid sampler was installed. The sampling system is completely sealed, eliminating the risk of chemical exposure and direct contact.
Working environment improvement example (2) – Sampling of organic solvents
In a certain workplace, organic solvents were sampled in multiple locations in an open environment. This created a risk of exposure or direct contact with the solvents.
A glove box isolator was installed in each sampling point, which significantly reduced the risk of exposure and direct contact with the solvents.
Onsite Inspections Conducted by Industrial Physicians Aimed at Reducing Occupational Health Risks at Overseas Subsidiaries and Affiliates
In an effort to reduce occupational health risks at overseas affiliates, onsite inspections are undertaken on a systematic basis and steps taken to provide instructions regarding areas of occupational health improvement at the time head office industrial physicians make their rounds at overseas bases. This initiative was conducted at eight overseas bases in fiscal 2018. Energies were also directed toward educating and training local responsible officers. The Mitsui Chemicals Group will continue these activities in fiscal 2019.