The Mitsui Chemicals Group is implementing various initiatives, including training, toward nurturing human resources with a high awareness of dangerous situations and the ingraining of a safety culture throughout the Group.

Safety Day

To keep alive the memory of the explosion and fire that occurred at a resorcinol production facility, Mitsui Chemicals has designated April 22 as Safety Day, a day on which a safety pledge ceremony and presentations take place every year. Although the events were downsized in scale in fiscal 2020 to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the President’s moral discourse has been communicated to the entire Mitsui Chemicals Group, with all employees reaffirming their commitment to making safety their top priority in everything they do. Works-wide broadcasting systems and online meeting systems were made use of at each worksite to communicate messages from the company President and the general manager of Works reaffirming that safety is the top priority.

Head Office safety pledge ceremony (April 2019)
Head Office safety pledge ceremony (April 2019)
Safety pledge ceremony at Iwakuni-Ohtake Works (April 2019)
Safety pledge ceremony at Iwakuni-Ohtake Works (April 2019)

Hazard Prediction (Kiken Yochi, or “KY”) as well as Pointing and Calling

In order to eliminate accidents and occupational injuries at the Mitsui Chemicals Group, we undertake initiatives at parent company Works and at domestic and overseas affiliates to entrench and energize hazard prediction (Kiken Yochi, or “KY”) and pointing and calling.

At parent company Works, planning, implementing, evaluating and improving each Works leads to a raised level of operations. During the course of these initiatives, as it is important to develop human resources who are able to recognize dangerous things as being dangerous and take safe action to prevent danger, KY education is implemented on an ongoing basis at each Works. KY trainers are chosen at each Works to perform as drivers of these KY initiatives, and Companywide meetings held once a year. At these meetings, KY trainers report on the status of KY initiatives at their Works, and exchange opinion on troubles or questions about KY initiatives. KY trainers utilize the information with regard to KY activities at their own Works.

With regard to KY and pointing and calling training for domestic and overseas affiliates, the Safety & Environment Technology Division have provided training support on an ongoing basis. That the significance and necessity of KY and pointing and calling training are understood at all affiliates, assists in their use in actual work situations and is thus helping to lead to their entrenchment. The training incorporates exercises, presentations and team discussions that are appropriate to actual work situations, looking back on their daily tasks, and raising awareness so that safer actions can be taken. Key men are of necessity to entrench KY and pointing and calling, and the Company is encouraging their development through training.

KY training sessions

  Number of Attendees
(Total Training Time)
FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. 608 (2,128 hrs.) 963 (3,659.4 hrs.) 1,010(2,424 hrs.)
Domestic Subsidiaries & Affiliates 411 (1,233 hrs.) 357 (821.1 hrs.) 259(725.2 hrs.)
Overseas Subsidiaries & Affiliates 122 (488 hrs.) 68 (340 hrs.) 37(222 hrs.)
Total 1,141(3,849 hrs.) 1,388(4,820.5 hrs.) 1,306(3,371.2 hrs.)

Near-miss Activities

At each Mitsui Chemicals Group production site, information on workers’ narrowly avoided major accidents or disasters, or “near-misses,” that occur as a result of operations, is identified, and the details are shared within the organization. These sharing activities are ongoing. In line with the occupational safety and health management system for each production site, the organization determines the cause of these near misses, as well as preventive measures. Those concerned are provided with the awareness gained, and plans are put into effect that cover both concrete matters, as well as more intangible issues, in the course of operations. In carrying out these preventive measures, Mitsui Chemicals continues to secure necessary resources. Examples of specific representative measures are as follows.

Iwakuni-Ohtake Works

Referring to the accidents and occupational injuries that occurred in other workplaces and Works, all members of the Ohtake Manufacturing Section shared the task of identifying locations and operations with risks typical to a chemical plant that could cause a near-miss case. Such risks include (1) concerns for corrosion and collapses of stairs and floor (2) Machinery for open inspections etc. under a nitrogen atmosphere; and (3) Fires caused by alkylaluminum. Among these identified near-miss cases, the Health and Safety Committee members in each workplace select locations and operations with associated high risks and notify job group members on a monthly basis to prevent possible accidents. They also suggest improvement ideas for a better safety work environment.

Omuta Works

Agrochemical Section members and operational subcontractors began listing up unsafe locations and unsafe behavior, as well as operational procedures that could lead to unsafe situations in specific facilities. Listed issues were then discussed in safety meetings in job groups and subcontractors to establish safer operational methods, eliminate risky tasks, and make facility improvements. The adopted safety measures have been implemented one by one.

Mitsui Chemicals Industrial Products, Ltd.

The Ohtake Office focused its actions on preventing traffic accidents and incidents involving falls, which accounted for the highest number of near-misses over the past three years. A traffic hazard map was developed to cover the Office and will eventually cover the entire Ohtake Works of Mitsui Chemicals. In addition to implementing safety measures at the locations of near-misses, signs and other display panels were updated to reduce the number of hazardous locations at the offices and to foster greater safety awareness.

Small-group Activities

Each Works at Mitsui Chemicals conducts small-group activities that undertake activities in group units of small numbers of people to deal with issues or matters causing concern, such as, in view of the characteristics of a Works, enhancing production workplace capabilities, refining mindsets and human resources development, workplace revitalization and business improvements.
We share the results of the small-group activities throughout a Works by means of presentations, and the honoring of best practices leads to heightened motivation. We are deploying the activities horizontally, such as by making reference to them in workplace activities, and promoting the revitalization of workplaces and Works as a whole as well as a raised level of operations. Typical examples of specific activities are as follows.

Ichihara Works

Staff members of the Elastomer Section 1, noticed that there was a high percentage of defect products under a brand manufactured in the works. In order to reduce these defective products, operators and full-time workers cooperated with each other to investigate the causes, formulate countermeasures, and consider plans. This resulted in a review of manufacturing conditions, which successfully led to a significant reduction in defects. The works achieved its predetermined goal of more than 10 million yen cost reduction and profit improvement per year.

Osaka Works

Actions identified by operators that would reduce costs were taken in the Polypropylene Section. One example involved an operator who recognized that there was a problem with a drain (steam condensate) trap at a specific location that had failed several times. The cause was investigated and improvements were implemented with the cooperation of the relevant departments. The type of drain trap was changed, which prevented any recurrence of the problem and resulted in a reduction in the amount of steam consumed.

Mitsui Chemicals Operation Services Co., Ltd. (MCOS)

On June 19, 2019, Iwakuni-Ohtake Works held the 13th presentation on MCOS companywide small-group activities. MCOS refers to MC Operation Support, an affiliated spin-off company that provides production support for Mitsui Chemicals, mainly overseeing disaster prevention security services, filling/packaging, and operations/operational support at Mitsui Chemicals Works. Attended by the Center Executive of the Production & Technology Center, the General Manager of Iwakuni-Ohtake Works, and relevant parties, 12 teams delegated by different business facilities across Japan gave presentations on their on-going efforts in their respective workplaces. The Center Executive encouraged the teams by saying, “Your easy-to-understand presentations and sincere attitude to work improvement has moved us all. Let us build up such practical competence in the frontline across the entire Mitsui Chemicals Group.” We shall further reinforce our capabilities on the production workplace and cost competence in all of our Works.

Presentation on MCOS companywide small-group activities
Presentation on MCOS companywide small-group activities

Best Plants Awards

The purpose of the Best Plant Award is to revitalize Works by honoring the excellent production sections for their activities related to safety, environment, quality and production technologies. Having started this system in fiscal 2004, since fiscal 2013 Mitsui Chemicals has focused outside the field of safety achievements and the like but also on safety processes and recognized through these awards the successes and hardships of production sections.
In fiscal 2019, 13 applications were submitted from domestic and overseas production sites, one of which was selected for the President's Awards and five for Production & Technology Center Executive’s Awards. The Company’s global expansion is advancing due not only to the Mitsui Chemicals parent company but also to award-winning domestic and overseas affiliates. It should be noted that along with the aforementioned awards, we simultaneously awarded the General Manager of Works’ Award and General Managers of Headquarters Award.

Best Plants Awards 2019

President’s Award for Best Plant
Mitsui Chemicals Sun Alloys Co., Ltd.
Production & Technology Center Executive’s Award
Polypropylene Sect., Ichihara Works, Prime Polymer Co., LTD.
Solar Material Sect., Nagoya Works, MITSUI CHEMICALS TOHCELLO, INC.
Phenol Sect., Manufacturing Dept.-1, Osaka Works
Mitsui Chemicals Functional Composites (Shanghai) Co., Ltd. (China)
Zhang Jia Gang Free Trade Zone Mitsui Linkupon Advanced Material, Inc. (China)
President’s Award for Best Plant Ceremony (Mitsui Chemicals Sun Alloys Co., Ltd.)
President’s Award for Best Plant Ceremony
(Mitsui Chemicals Sun Alloys Co., Ltd.)

In addition, we toured the outstanding workplaces recognized by the President’s Award for Best Plant as well as held an exchange meeting as a means to exchange information. Starting in fiscal 2015, we have held this event with the aim of enabling employees to gain awareness that is difficult to obtain in their own workplaces and Works, provide opportunities for line managers to share their concerns and encourage each other, and improve the safety culture throughout the Mitsui Chemicals Group.
In 2020, the exchange meeting will hold over two days in the Ohtake Manufacturing Section, Manufacturing Dept.-2, Iwakuni-Ohtake Works, the winner of the President’s Award for Best Plant 2018 and in Mitsui Chemicals Sun Alloys Co., Ltd., the winner of the President’s Award for Best Plant 2019. Details of winning practices are published on the intra-company networks in Japanese, English, and Chinese to disseminate good practice across the global Mitsui Chemicals Group.

Mitsui Chemicals’ Plant Operation Technology Training Center

Mitsui Chemicals established its first Plant Operation Technology Training Center in Mobara in 2006, and then in Nagoya in 2007, to train plant operation personnel. Chemical plant operators are trained in Mobara, and the Nagoya center provides training programs for operators of film processing factory. These training programs are targeted not only at employees in Mitsui Chemicals Inc.’s Works, but also staff in R&D centers and indirect departments, as well as in affiliate companies under the global Mitsui Group. Our hands-on-based training programs cultivate safety-minded and skilled operators with substantial equipment knowledge.

Mitsui Chemicals’ Plant Operation Technology Training Center (Mobara and Nagoya)
Mitsui Chemicals’ Plant Operation Technology Training Center (Mobara and Nagoya)

Mitsui Chemicals’ Plant Operation Technology Training Center (Mobara and Nagoya)

Mitsui Chemicals’ Plant Operation Technology Training Center (Mobara and Nagoya) Training Sessions for Mitsui Chemicals Group Employees

For Our Group employees
  Number of Attendees (Total Training Time)
FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
For Plant Operators When joined Company 122 174 90(765hr)
Follow-up training (six months after joining Company) 142 166 134(3,752hr)
Promoted staff (3-4 years after joining Company) 80 56 95(2,660hr)
Workplace managers (8 years or more after joining Company) 57 43 42(588hr)
For Engineers When joined Company 23 44 32(336hr)
3-5 years after joining Company 18 29 28(588hr)
For Researchers 78 59 60(630hr)
Others 609 201 92(414hr)
For employees of affiliates
  Number of Attendees (Total Training Time)
FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Domestic affiliates 212 263 353(2,824hr)
Overseas affiliates 54 88 45(630hr)
  Number of Attendees (Total Training Time)
FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
  1,395 1,123 971(13,187hr)

Since fiscal 2018, we have been actively developing human resources that form the foundations of global group management. We provide support for human resources development and training not only to the company, but also to all the various group companies in Japan and overseas in a way that suits their specific needs.
Local training programs were actively organized for Japanese group companies with staff members dispatched from the training center. A training program that makes use of virtual reality (VR) introduced in fiscal 2018 has been made available to as many employees as possible, and has contributed immensely to preventing occupational injuries.Regarding training for group companies in the Southeast Asia region, the Operation Excellence Training Center (OETC) of the Siam Group in Thailand has been utilized to give training courses in Thai and English. We have licensed the whole of our own training system to the Siam Group. In addition, training support has been provided to group companies in Singapore, along with the provision of local training on fire and static electricity to meet local needs.

Local training program by our center staff members

For Our Group employees
  Number of Attendees (Total Training Time)
FY2018 FY2019
Local training program 239 1,255(10,040hr)
Training program for overseas group companies
Training program for overseas group companies
Training based on VR technology (falling accidents)
Training based on VR technology (falling accidents)
Training at OETC in Thailand
Training at OETC in Thailand
Local training in Singapore
Local training in Singapore

In fiscal 2015, our internal hands-on training was opened up to companies outside of the Group. Due to the extremely strong need for human resources development and safety training at production sites of various industries, the programs have attracted a large number of attendees. Our training programs have been highly evaluated by attendees, with comments such as “The program gave me new insights that I can make use of in my own company,” and “Hands-on training based on accident/disaster case studies is easy to understand.” As a result of the praise the company earned for its training programs from the China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF) after a tour of the Center in fiscal 2019, preparations have been underway to provide training to chemical companies in China, starting in fiscal 2020.

External Training Sessions (Mobara)/Responses to Center Tour Requests (Mobara and Nagoya)

  FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Number of Training Attendees 344 317 274
Number of Center Visitors 695 630 456
Tour of the Center by representatives of China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF)
Tour of the Center by representatives of China Petroleum and Chemical Industry Federation (CPCIF)
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