(MENAFN - Arab News) Saudi Basic Industries Corporation's (SABIC's) performance indicators of environment, health, safety, security (EHSS) including EHSS Incidence Rate (SHER) and OSHA Incidence Rate have shown continuous improvement, making the company's performance among the top-in-class worldwide.
SABIC Vice Chairman and CEO Mohamed Al-Mady told Arab News that he was happy to note that significant head way had been made in major initiatives like Product Stewardship, REACH, Clean Development Mechanism, Green Chemistry, EHSS Alerts and Awareness, Training and Development, Crisis Management and Emergency Preparedness, and SABIC Integrated Enterprise Security Solution.
"We have made tremendous progress toward Responsible Care certification, and have led Responsible Care initiatives in the Middle East through the aegis of Gulf Petrochemical Association (GPCA). Several of our operations in the Kingdom have achieved this certification, while other regions are making dedicated efforts to win it as well," Al-Mady said.
He expressed pride at SABIC's new initiative, SABIC Assurance Program for EHSS Risks (SAFER), which runs across all aspects of EHSS, including process safety, personal and community safety, health, environment and security. "The program has been rolled out at a number of our affiliates and sites across all regions," he said.
Al-Madi added: "All these advances have been possible because we constantly set safety targets for a range of performance indicators. We scrutinize our performance against them, and make whatever improvements we can. These targets are geared toward maintaining safe operations at our plants as well as reducing community emergency incidents. Not satisfied with the baseline targets, we are resolved to conduct our operations even beyond compliance and strive for continuous improvement."
In an interview to Arab News, Hamood Al-Tuwaijri, SABIC's executive vice president, corporate control, outlined SABIC's latest safety achievements. On being asked about the efforts made by SABIC in the field of risk mitigation, he said: "Identification, assessment, recording, mitigation and stewardship of EHSS risks are among our main focus areas for which we launched the SAFER program in the year 2010. This program covers EHSS risks throughout the lifecycle of process plants including design, operations and maintenance. SAFER has been rolled out at a number of affiliates/sites and plans are underway for worldwide launch."
Highlighting SABIC's achievements in other domains, Al-Tuwaijri said: "Keeping in view the ever-expanding EHSS domain and systems integration requirements across the organization, we have launched the EHSS IT Solutions project which provides a centralized solution for collection, analysis, management and reporting of EHSS data. This system will consist of a number of modules including health and safety, product safety, and stewardship and environmental performance.
"We have developed a product stewardship methodology for assessing multi-faceted product risk and as a tool for "greening" our product portfolio. REACH registrations of many substances have been completed and a massive number of material safety data sheets have been published to meet the new compliance requirements relating to REACH and GHS.
"Due to our continuous efforts, our Saudi operations have successfully achieved Responsible Care certification. With this, we are also striving for Responsible Care at our affiliates/sites worldwide."
Al-Tuwaijri said realizing the importance of Green Chemistry, SABIC has launched a global sustainability inventory process to account for last year's greenhouse gas emissions, water and energy usage, and material loss. "A Green Chemistry Campus has also been opened in Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands, which is a recognized Center of Open Chemical Innovation (COCI). The focus of this campus is to promote innovation in deriving green building blocks (such as chemicals and materials) from agricultural sources (Agro Meets Chemistry).
On the measures taken by SABIC to cope with unfortunate events at its sites, Al-Tuwaijri said: "Safety of personnel is of prime importance to us and we keep this in mind not only during normal operations but also in case an unfortunate event happens at any of our affiliates/sites. To ensure this, we put a lot of focus on the training and preparedness of personnel so as to minimize exposures and losses. We have organized a total of five regional (two in Europe, one in Americas, one in Asia Pacific and one in Middle East/Africa) and one Global (in Americas) crisis management drills.
"Apart from this, we also keep a close watch on the prevailing security risks to installations in the petrochemical sector. To counter these concerns we are implementing one of the best security solutions available with overall implementation progress reaching close to 90 percent."
Speaking about the steps SABIC has taken toward training and sharing learning among its affiliates/sites, Al-Tuwaijri said SABIC believes in unhindered communication across the board, especially when it comes to sharing learning among its worldwide affiliates/sites.
"We regularly issue bulletins on what we have learnt from previous incidents either inside or outside SABIC. Designed to be easy to understand by all personnel working at the sites, SABIC Corporate EHSS has so far issued a total of 35 alerts and 32 awareness bulletins covering a wide range of topics including process safety, occupational health, personnel safety, environment, safe work practices, etc."
He said in view of its continuous efforts in the EHSS field, SABIC has been recognized from time to time by external parties.
"A few accolades which we received include the UK Chemical Industry Association's 'Diamond Safety Award', OSHA's Voluntary Protection Plan Star, ExxonMobil's Chemical Responsible Care Team Award, The Association of International Chemical Manufacturer's Certificate of Recognition, American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care Energy Efficiency Award, British Safety Council's International Safety Merit Award, OSHA Safe-man hours award, and the Gold Award for Occupational Health & Safety awarded by The Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents."