Mitsui Chemicals

Safety and Prevention

Initiatives to Prevent Major Accidents

Never forgetting the lessons learned from the explosion and fire that broke out at the resorcinol production facility at Mitsui Chemicals’ Iwakuni-Ohtake Works on April 22, 2012, we will steadily implement our safety activities and strive to prevent any recurrence.

Top Management’s Strong Commitment to Safety and Prevention

On Safety Day and during National Safety Week, the Company president repeatedly conveys to all Mitsui Chemicals Group employees that they follow the management policy of "making safety their top priority in everything they do." The fiscal 2017 results are as follows.

  • Instructions to make safety the top priority provided directly to Head Office staff during the opening address (simultaneously broadcast to all domestic sites)
  • Broadcasting the President’s Safety Day message
  • Communicated safety instructions directly to employees at Head Office on Safety Day (simultaneously broadcast to all domestic sites)
  • Pledge to make safety the top priority published in Safety Day-related Company newsletters
  • Direct safety instructions provided during Works visits (control room, auditorium, etc.)

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

Thorough Risk Assessments

Learning the lessons from the resorcinol production facility explosion and fire 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.
The Company will continue to undertake thorough risk assessments in the event of non-routine or emergency situations.

Fiscal 2013-14

Based on the inspection procedures established during emergency shutdowns by operating model plants at all Works on a trial basis, the Inspection Group organized at each Works conducted inspections of emergency shutdown procedures at all plants. Finally, Head Office staff conducted follow-ups on the inspection results for each Works.

Fiscal 2014-17

The Company conducted verifications of the assessment methods, for which both “What if *1” and batch HAZOP *2were utilized, at several model plants. Then, in fiscal 2015, at the Osaka Works and Ichihara Works, we began risk assessments related to the non-routine operation “startup” at all Works and, in fiscal 2016 and again in fiscal 2017, applied those procedures to other Works.

Fiscal 2018 Plan

While conducting risk assessments related to the non-routine operation “startup” at all Works, in fiscal 2018 we will start risk assessments of shutdown operations, beginning with those plants that have completed their non-routine operation “startup” risk assessments.

*1
What-if:
A method for analyzing, from the implementer’s ideas, what kind of measures are necessary to avoid cases in which a function intended in a design is lost or cases in which there has been a malfunction and what the equipment and system status would be.
*2
HAZOP:
Hazard and Operability Study. Method of identifying all risks inherent within the Works and systematically evaluating safety measures to ensure that they are adequate.

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, the Company has almost finished an assessment of the seismic resistance of its existing high-pressure gas facilities. Based on the results of the assessment, the Company has formulated a repair plan and is systematically undertaking seismic enhancement work.

Fostering HAZOP Leaders

At Mitsui Chemicals, HAZOP has been implemented for safety assessments when installing new facilities as well as when expanding or improving existing facilities, and for the removal of hazards from plants, to prevent accidents.
The role of the HAZOP leader, who is the leader of the analysis, is an important one.
To foster HAZOP leaders at the Company, since fiscal 2013 we have been holding training sessions for manufacturing workplace staff and others for them to learn more about analysis methods and investigation concepts at each Works.
We are also utilizing HAZOP for non-routine risk and will plan to periodically hold these training sessions to foster HAZOP leaders and to improve the level of HAZOP.

Safety Culture Diagnostics

In fiscal 2016, the Mitsui Chemicals Group collaborated with Niigata University and the Graduate School of System Design and Management at Keio University to undertake safety culture diagnostics, which enable the visualization of a workplace’s strengths and weaknesses. By repeated in-house discussions on all rank-specific gaps, the diagnostic can also be used as a tool to improve workplace communications.
In fiscal 2017, diagnostics took place at five works operated by two domestic affiliates. Diagnostics are scheduled for the second time at key parent company works from fiscal 2018 onward. There are plans to expand the diagnostics’ scope in the case of the domestic affiliates. The Mitsui Chemicals Group acknowledges that these diagnostics are an effective way of fostering a workplace safety culture and will accordingly continue to utilize them.

Briefing at an affiliate (Utsunomiya Chemical)Briefing at an affiliate (Utsunomiya Chemical)

Status of Undertaking Safety Culture Diagnostics

  Results Plan
~FY2015 FY2016 FY2017 FY2018 FY2019
Mitsui Chemicals, Inc. Ichihara Works*      
Mobara Branch Factory*    
Nagoya Works*      
Osaka Works*      
Iwakuni-Ohtake Works*      
Omuta Works*      
Domestic Subsidiaries & Affiliates Toyo Beauty Supply Corporation Sun Alloys Co., Ltd.
Sunrex Industry Co., Ltd.
Mitsui Chemicals & SKC Polyurethanes Inc. Tokuyama Factory
Utsunomiya Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. Utsunomiya Works, Funaoka Factory, Shinshiro Factory, Tosu Factory
Shimonoseki Mitsui Chemicals, Inc.
Yamamoto Chemicals, Inc. Yao Factory, Omuta Works
Mitsui Chemicals Industrial Products, Ltd. Saitama Office
Honshu Chemical Industry Co., Ltd. Wakayama Factory
 
Overseas Subsidiaries& Affiliates   Mitsui Hygiene Materials (Thailand) Co., Ltd.
Mitsui Chemicals Nonwovens (Tianjin) Co., Ltd.
   
*
Including subsidiaries and affiliates within factory premises where the parent company works manager bears the responsibility for Responsible Care implementation.

Receipt of Third-party Assessments of Process Safety Capability

On an ongoing basis, the Mitsui Chemicals Group receives process safety capability assessments from the Japan Safety Competency Center. Aimed primarily at manufacturing industries dealing with petroleum and petrochemical products, the assessments cover security from the viewpoint of safety infrastructure and safety culture and enable the visualization of strengths and weaknesses with regard to safety capability by means of numerical values. Through its process safety capability assessments, the Japan Safety Competency Center is aiming to raise the safety level of the Japanese chemical industry, a purpose with which the Company is in full agreement.
Following on from the Osaka Works and the Ichihara Works, in April 2018 the Iwakuni-Ohtake Works conducted a self-assessment of its safety capability and then underwent an evaluation by the Japan Safety Competency Center.
We will continue to utilize advice from the Japan Safety Competency Center, a third party, in our future safety and process safety activities.

Assessment result report meeting (Iwakuni-Ohtake Works)Assessment result report meeting (Iwakuni-Ohtake Works)

Summary of Results

Safety Infrastructure ① The average assessment level for safety infrastructure significantly exceeds the 3.0 that is said to be the pass level for petrochemical and oil refining companies. As an average, the safety infrastructure management level is extremely high and considered to be the top level in the industry.
② The average level of each of the 10 major items is higher than 3.0, the variation for each item is small, and thus it can be said that the management level is very high.
③ Although most of the assessment items are at level 3.0 or higher, we found several items that we believe to be in need of improvement.
Safety Culture ①  The average safety culture assessment level was significantly higher than the 3.0 that is said to be a solid level of safety culture and can thus be considered to be at the top level of the industry.
②  The average level of each of the seven major items exceeds 3.0, the variation for each item is small, and thus it can be said that safety culture is at a high level.
③  Currently, memories of the explosion and fire at the resorcinol manufacturing facility in 2012 remain strong. The value judgment of making safety a top priority is shared, from the top management to the frontline operator, based on the determination that an accident should not occur again. Meanwhile, the awareness that six years have passed since the accident continues to take hold. The number of employees who have no direct experience of an accident is increasing, so giving consideration regarding how to continue sharing that value judgment is expected to become necessary in the future.