Process Safety and Disaster Prevention

Initiatives to Prevent Major Accidents

Over the past few years, major accidents have occurred at chemical plants throughout Japan. These include the explosion and fire that broke out at the resorcinol production facility at Mitsui Chemicals’ Iwakuni-Ohtake Works on April 22, 2012. Consequently, the government ministries involved issued guidance, and organizations concerned sent out action plans and guidelines. Having caused a major accident in the past, Mitsui Chemicals continues to respond to these matters with the utmost care.

Top Management’s Strong Commitment to Safety

Mitsui Chemicals stipulates action guidelines to realize the Group’s management vision. Among those action guidelines we clearly state that "we will act with a mind-set that safety is our top priority." Based on the Mitsui Chemicals Group Action Guidelines, we have also put in place the Responsible Care Policy. In September 2015, we revised the first item in this policy, “we put safety first in everything we do,” in order to clarify its underlying idea, upon which we impress all employees to undertake our uncompromising pursuit of realizing zero accidents, reflecting the Policy’s Safety and Occupational Health items. On Safety Day and during National Safety Week, the president repeatedly conveys the message to all Mitsui Chemicals Group employees that they follow the management policy of "making safety their top priority in everything they do."

Fiscal 2015 results are as follows.
Based on the ideas of this Charter, and in order to clarify our intentions and understanding that “safety has priority over all things,” we have revised the “Responsible Care Policy” in September 2015.

  1. Instructions to make safety the top priority provided directly to head office staff during the opening address (simultaneously broadcast to all domestic sites)
  2. Broadcasting the President’s Safety Day message
  3. Iwakuni-Ohtake Works visit on Safety Day, participating in Safety Day events at the Works, communicating safety instructions directly to employees (simultaneously broadcast to all domestic sites)
  4. Company newsletter featuring discussion on safety with Professor Emeritus Masamitsu Tamura of Tokyo University and President Tannowa distributed to all employees
  5. Direct safety instructions during Works visits (control room, auditorium, etc.): 14 times in fiscal 2015

We are promoting active involvement with worksites that includes the vice president and the head of the Production & Technology Center by conducting tours of each Works and overseas sites.

Measures to Boost Seismic Resistance of Existing High-Pressure Gas Facilities

In response to a notification issued by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in May 2014, Mitsui Chemicals is assessing the seismic resistance of its existing high-pressure gas facilities. Where necessary, plans are in place to make any appropriate enhancements. Work is being implemented during fiscal 2016.

Thorough Risk Assessments

Learning the lessons of the explosion and fire that broke out at the resorcinol production facility at the Iwakuni-Ohtake Works, Mitsui Chemicals has completed risk assessments related to emergency shutdowns. In addition, the Company has been conducting non-routine risk assessments on a continuous and constructive basis.

<Fiscal 2013-14>

Companywide Inspection Group established inspection procedures during emergency stoppages by operating model plants at all Works on a trial basis.
Based on the above, the Inspection Group organized at each Works conducted inspections of emergency stoppage procedures at all plants. Finally, head office staff conducted follow-ups on inspection results for each Works.

<Fiscal 2014-15>

We began examining procedures for conducting risk assessments related to the non-routine operation “startup” in fiscal 2014. In fiscal 2015, we began applying these risk assessments to other plants within Mitsui Chemicals works following application at model plants in Osaka Works and Ichihara.

<Fiscal 2016>

Applying these procedures to other Works, we are conducting risk assessments related to the non-routine operation “startup” at all Works in fiscal 2016.
Mitsui Chemicals has continued to thoroughly conduct risk assessments in the event of non-routine or emergency operations.

Fostering HAZOP Leaders

Mitsui Chemicals has assigned a HAZOP leader at each major Works who is responsible for accident prevention. This leader conducts safety assessments when facilities are newly constructed, expanded or modified, and performs HAZOP studies to identify plant risks. In addition, we standardize HAZOP evaluation methodologies and train HAZOP leaders. HAZOP leaders have held training sessions for staff (key workplace personnel who implement HAZOP at manufacturing workplaces) in charge of the actual HAZOP studies to learn more about analysis methods and investigation concepts at each Works since fiscal 2013.
We plan to periodically hold these training sessions to improve the level of safety assessment skills of staff conducting HAZOP studies.

HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Study):
HAZOP stands for hazard and operability study. Method of identifying all risks inherent within the Works and systematically evaluating safety measures to ensure that they are adequate.