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Occupational Safety and Health

Basic Approach to Occupational Safety and Health Initiatives

The UBE Group strives to keep occupational accidents to zero by making operations inherently safe. The Group’s efforts are designed to foster a safety-driven corporate culture and to reduce risks by enhancing safety initiatives and making continuous improvements. In the area of occupational health, each business site establishes an occupational safety and health management system to maintain and improve corporate activities. The UBE Group also endeavors to ensure the mental and physical health of employees by improving lifestyle habits through health checkups and follow-up care as well as various measures such as mental health consultations.

Initiatives to Prevent Occupational Accidents

Fostering a Safety-Driven Corporate Culture

To make existing safety activities more comprehensive and effective, in fiscal 2016 the UBE Group launched initiatives aimed at fostering a safety-driven corporate culture, encompassing eight elements. These are organizational governance, positive involvement, resource management, work management, motivation, learning and knowledge transmission, risk perception, and mutual understanding. In keeping with findings from assessments based on headquarters’ evaluation standards, business sites identify issues and formulate and execute plans to cultivate a safety culture as part of ongoing improvement efforts.

Eliminating Major Disasters

The UBE Group has undertaken a range of activities to prevent occupational accidents. In fiscal 2018, we initiated efforts that centered on eliminating major incidents. We conduct risk assessments of work in which people might fall, be caught or entangled in machinery, or come into contact with hazardous materials. We implement systematic risk reduction measures and endeavor to make operations inherently safe.
We investigate the causes of all incidents regardless of whether they result in lost time, striving to prevent similar incidents by assessing and rolling out measures.

Image: Number of Fatal and Lost-Time Incidents among Domestic Operations
Image: Lost-Time Injury Frequency Rate

* The partner company scope covers construction and other contractors.

Image: Measures to Prevent Occupational Accidents

Initiatives on Safety and Health

UBE Group Safety and Health Rally

Image: UBE Group Safety and Health Rally

The UBE Group holds a safety and health rally every year. Over 400 UBE Group officers and employees as well as business partners from across Japan participate, sharing information and fostering motivation. In addition, individuals and groups that have made particularly outstanding contributions to safety and health receive recognition from the company president. The event also features presentations from small safety groups on their experiences and special lectures from outside instructors about safety and health management, helping to raise safety awareness.

At the end of the rally, all participants, including officers, join together in reciting the Group’s safety pledge, renewing their commitment to eliminating accidents and improving work environments.

Occupational Safety and Health Council

This is a forum in which representatives of the Ube Industries’ union, Human Resources Department, and Environmental and Safety Department gather to review annual results of the occupational safety and health initiatives and plans for the new fiscal year. They also discuss requests from the union and the Company.

Labor-Management Councils

Following Occupational Health and Safety Council discussions, regional business sites convene gatherings to discuss local union and management requests.

Health Management Initiatives

Health Management Promotion Framework

  • The UBE Group’s key policies and measures relating to health management are priority management issues. The President and CEO chairs the Strategic Management Meeting, which deliberates and decides upon these issues. Progress is managed by classifying issues into those to be addressed by Ube Industries and those to be addressed by the UBE Group.
  • The annual and the medium-to-long term company-wide shared priority action items deliberated by the Strategic Management Meeting are promoted through bodies such as the Health Management Implementation Committee, the Meeting of Occupational Health Physicians, and the Meeting of Public Health Members in order to enable employees to maintain and promote their own physical and mental health.
  • Each business site appoints a health manager to maintain and manage a comfortable working environment and maintain and promote the health of employees.

Health Management Operation Framework

Each business site implements activities in accordance with Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles in order to ensure continuous improvement of health management.

Health and Productivity Management Initiatives at Ube Industries

Image: Certified Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization Recognition Program

Ube Industries undertakes various health measures with a commitment to “conserving and improving employee health as an investment for future profitability,” which reflects the health management philosophy recommended by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Ube Industries has also participated in METI’s Survey on Health and Productivity Management since 2015 as an objective evaluation index. In fiscal 2020, Ube Industries was certified under the large enterprise category of the Certified Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization Recognition Program for 2021.

As part of its health and productivity management initiatives, Ube Industries has issued a Health and Productivity Management Declaration and announced a slogan, “A healthy mind and body: health and productivity management is for everyone,” to foster a health-focused corporate culture and create an environment that makes it easy for employees to promote their own health. Ube Industries also provides e-learning for all employees to raise their awareness of health.

Going forward, Ube Industries will upgrade its internal health management programs based on the results of the evaluation in the Survey on Health and Productivity Management, aiming to win selection as one of the “White 500” companies by which the top-ranked 500 companies in Japan in the Survey on Health and Productivity are certified.

Management Items

The Strategic Management Meeting sets out the medium-to-long term targets (policies and issues) and the priority action items, and implements five items at each Ube Industries business site and two items at each of the in-house companies.

Medium- to Long-Term Targets
2016-2018 2019-2021
Policies
  1. Formulate and implement measures to maintain and promote the health of employees company-wide
  2. Plan and implement measures for business sites to address health management independently, thereby developing a health-focused culture
  3. Pave the way for higher awareness of health management within the Company
  1. Each Ube Industries business site will work on health management independently in accordance with the priority action items set out by the Health Care & Support Center, prepare an annual action plan, and be responsible for implementing measures.
  2. Each in-house company will inform UBE Group companies of the priority action items* set out by the Health Care & Support Center and direct and manage the health management measures of UBE Group companies.
    *Priority action items: measures to address tobacco use, the three areas of management under the Industrial Safety and Health Act (work management, working environment management, health management)
  3. The Health Care & Support Center will provide support for business sites to work on health management independently, confirm progress through audits, and evaluate the measures implemented to maintain and promote both the physical and mental health of employees.
Issues
  1. Curb the increase in the number of work days lost due to non-occupational injuries and illness
  2. Identify and reduce occupational illness risks
  3. Develop a health-focused culture and pave the way for health and productivity management initiatives

Promote improvements in workplace environment (curb number of work days lost due to non-occupational injuries and illness)
Each Ube Industries business site (1 – 5 below), each in-house company (4 and 5)

  1. Promote workplace improvement activities using stress check (SC) findings
  2. Assess cerebral and cardiac disease risk using health checkup findings, and reduce rate of abnormal findings
  3. Detect and treat cancer early using health checkup findings
  4. Achieve zero passive smoking
  5. Create mechanisms to enable continual improvements in the three areas of management under the Industrial Safety and Health Act

Fiscal 2020 Priority Issues and Results

1. Measures to Address Mental Health
Priority Issues KPIs Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Promote workplace improvement activities using stress check findings Departments with stress check total health risk values of 120 and higher Departments - - - - 43
Percentage of high-stress individuals*1) in stress check % - 11.5 11.2 11.7 11.6
Reduce the number of employees on long-term leave New case rate % 0.40 0.27 0.57 0.59 0.55
Mental health severity rate 0.72 0.56 0.57 0.66 0.72
Return to work rate % 35.7 47.1 48.9 50.0 31.8

*1) As stipulated in the Stress Check Guidelines (revised August 2018), Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare

Targets: 

100% implementation of business site workplace improvement activities using stress check findings (fiscal 2021)
Return to work rate: 50% (fiscal 2021)

・Measures to Address Absenteeism (Measures after Occurrence): Secondary Prevention and Tertiary Prevention

As a specific initiative to reduce the number of days lost due to non-occupational injuries and illness, Ube Industries implements a factor analysis concerning the nature of the illness and the case (for example, personal attributes, workplace attributes) for individuals with mental health issues on leave for one month or longer, and then prepares a plan to support return to work involving not only the individual and industrial health professionals, but also the individual’s superiors as well as general affairs and human resources staff of the company. A detailed framework to support return to work tailored to individual circumstances is prepared incorporating support from an outside employee assistance program (EAP) when required. In order to prevent recurrence, Ube Industries continues to provide tailored support based on the employment support plan and the opinion of the industrial physician until such time as reasonable accommodations following the return to work end.

・Measures to Address Presenteeism (Measures before Occurrence): Secondary Prevention and Primary Prevention

As a mechanism for the early detection and treatment of individuals with mental health issues, Ube Industries carries out a company-wide stress check of all employees once a year. We strive to appropriately identify the stress status of each employee and the stress factors in the workplace that each manager is responsible for.

Ube Industries utilizes the individual findings of stress checks to provide personalized support for high-stress individuals. In addition, using the findings from workplace-level analysis of stress checks, we actively provide on-site consulting based on external EAPs for departments with a total health risk value of 120 and higher. Through initiatives like these, Ube Industries is developing workplace improvement activities company-wide to improve work engagement and the sense of workplace unity to ensure that the identification of strengths and weaknesses in each workplace translates into positive outcomes.

2. Use of Health Checkup Findings (Measures to Address Cerebral and Cardiac Disease and Cancer Risk)
Priority Issues KPIs Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Identify risk of cerebral and cardiac disease using health checkup findings and reduce abnormal findings rate Non-secondary screening rate % 12.2 3.8 3.2 2.9 0.8
Rate of high-risk individuals according to Ube Industries criteria % 7.9 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.2
Detect and treat cancer early using health checkup findings Secondary screening rate for cancer % - - 84.8 88.7 95.8

Targets: 

Non-secondary screening rate 0% (fiscal 2021)
Secondary screening rate for cancer 100% (fiscal 2021)

Specific Initiatives

  • Health risk classifications have been introduced as a risk communication tool.
  • Employees use the information as an indicator to confirm their own health status. Managers also use the information as an indicator of their subordinates’ health, as they strive to build a healthy working environment for employees of all ages.
  • Ube Industries provides e-learning on self-healthcare obligations and duty of care, always striving to foster a health-focused corporate culture.
  • With regard to evaluation, Ube Industries identifies health issues from the minutes of meetings held at each business site, ascertains countermeasures, and audits the evaluation of the countermeasures implemented in audits.
  • Ube Industries provides training for managers based on guidance for using the findings of employee health checkups and has established a system that enables appropriate information management.
Health risk classifications Health risk classifications

Individual Business Site Initiatives

  • As a specific measure to address health issues, a “Pre-checkup Challenge” has been implemented to review lifestyle habits before a health checkup.
  • In order to increase the percentage of employees who regularly exercise, participatory events have been conducted. These include walking rallies as well as physical strength measurements, bone density measurements, blood vessel age measurements, and practical training using breast cancer screening models, to encourage employees to take action on their own.
・Other health indicators
Item Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Regular health checkup uptake rate % 99.9 100 99.8 100 100
Percentage of employees with appropriate body weight % 71.2 70.3 69.5 67.9 67.3
Percentage of employees who regularly exercise*2) % 25.4 26.8 27.0 28.2 28.4

*2) Regularly exercise: Engaging in at least 30 minutes of exercise at least twice a week

3. Measures to Address Tobacco Use
Priority Issues KPIs Unit 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Zero passive smoking Smoking rate % 29.2 28.6 28.5 27.2 25.9
Passive smoking rate*3) % - - - - 28.5

*3) Passive smoking rate: Percentage of non-smokers who answered, “there were occasions at work when I breathed in the smoke from cigarettes smoked by other people” (same question as in The National Health and Nutrition Survey Japan).

Targets:

Achieve zero passive smoking rate (fiscal 2021)
Make 100% of premises fully non-smoking during working hours (fiscal 2021)
Reduce smoking rate to 23% (fiscal 2021)

  • With the aim of promoting health at the UBE Group, we have issued UBE Guidelines on Measures to Address Tobacco Use, employing the percentage of employees who smoke (smoking rate) and the percentage of employees who report breathing second-hand smoke (passive smoking rate) as management indicators. In accordance with the Guidelines, we are working to prevent passive smoking by creating comfortable workplaces and improving site management), to prevent smoking by making it difficult to access to tabacco products), and to support smoking cessation by providing support for smokers.
  • With regard to passive smoking, we see eliminating passive smoking in the workplace as a priority issue. We have set a target of ensuring no one smokes on our premises during working hours at all business sites by the end of fiscal 2020, and all business sites formulated plans to reach this goal in fiscal 2019.
  • In terms of measures to address prevention of smoking, we promote the creation of an environment that discourages employees to become new smokers and have prohibited the sale of tobacco products on our premises. In particular, we provide education for underage and newly hired employees to prevent them from becoming new smokers.
  • In terms of support for smoking cessation, we work with the health insurance association to provide employees who want to quit with assistance and support so they can quit smoking.
  • With regard to UBE Group companies, we conduct audits of the departments responsible for health management at UBE Group companies to confirm progress on eliminating passive smoking.
4. Measures to Address Occupational Illness Risks
Priority Issue Target Fiscal 2019 Result
Create mechanisms to enable continuous improvement in the three areas of management under the Industrial Safety and Health Act Achieve 100% implementation of proper determination of occupational illness with greater consideration of working environment management and work management 100%
  • In order to continually improve the three areas of management under the Industrial Safety and Health Act (working environment management, work management, and health management), the UBE Group ensures that work records, working environment measurement results, and special health checkup recipient lists are closely linked.
  • We have established Guidelines for health impact assessment, Development Standards of Routine Operations for Chemical Substances Management in Three areas, and Operational Rules for Chemical Substances Management in Three Areas, and we select employees who are eligible for special health checkups accordingly. We share the findings of checkups, the results of working environment measurements, and work records with industrial physicians and have consistently achieved 100% implementation of appropriate occupational illness risk determinations.
  • With regard to UBE Group companies, we conduct audits of the departments responsible for health management at UBE Group companies to confirm implementation of appropriate occupational illness risk determinations.

Management Indicator

  • Rate of achievement of appropriate occupational illness risk determinations

Employee Education

We believe that employees own actions are the key to optimal health management, and so we provide a variety of training and information within the company.

We regularly provide training on the use of health information to managers at Ube Industries (including managers at sites outside Japan). The objective of this training is to utilize information from health checkup findings (health risk classifications, etc.) presented by the health management department to undertake appropriate safety considerations, including employment measures, in accordance with laws and regulations, such as the Industrial Safety and Health Act. By using information on health checkup findings, we will continue to create an environment that enables employees to work in good health throughout their careers.

We also disseminate information on health through the 3-minute health advice program to foster awareness of health.

<Implemented Company-wide>
Training Eligible Employees Fiscal 2019 Results
Grade-specific training on mental health Newly hired employees and employees hired mid-career at Ube Industries Total: 566 employees
Training on use of health information Managers at Ube Industries (includes managers at sites outside Japan) Originally planned to provide training for 67 trainees but postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic
To date, a total of 1,582 trainees have received training
Provision of Information Eligible Employees Fiscal 2019 Results
Information on mental health UBE Group 24 times a year, posted on intranet
3-minute health advice UBE Group Provided in Safety and Health Committees held at each business site
<Implemented at Business Sites>
The following training and information is provided at UBE Group business sites (may be provided at Ube Industries only in some cases).
Training
Lectures on hygiene by an industrial physician, and training on mental health (external EAPs also used)
Seminars on cerebral and cardiac disease, seminars on smoking cessation, seminars on exercise, walking rallies
Provision of Information
Information on smoking cessation, health festivals

Response to Global Health Issues

Since the UBE Group’s business spans the globe, the Group not only complies with applicable laws and regulations, but also responds to the risk of infectious diseases, which include the three major global health issues of malaria, AIDS, and tuberculosis. As part of this response, employees with work assignments outside Japan are required to receive health checkups.
Health checkup before departing Japan: Employees with three-month or longer assignments outside Japan
Health checkup after returning to Japan: Employees working in Japan after working outside Japan for six months or longer

In particular, employees departing Japan to regions with risks of malaria or other infectious diseases will be given vaccinations and relevant education. In addition, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have established the COVID-19 Emergency Information site on the intranet and we provide employees who are stationed outside Japan with information as well as sending masks and hand sanitizer to their locales as needed.

To ensure health management for employees who are stationed outside Japan, we establish our own health checkup items adapted for locations outside Japan, set up an annual health checkup schedule, and encourage everyone eligible to participate.

In addition, for Japanese employees, it is expected that the stress of work and life will be greater during an assignment outside Japan than when living in Japan. There is no Japanese statutory obligation that requires stress checks to be conducted outside Japan. However, Ube Industries provides the opportunity to receive a stress check once a year, and we endeavor to prevent the onset of mental illness by asking employees assigned outside Japan to use the stress check results as a reference to ascertain their own stress level.