Safety & Health 2021
Safety & Health
Safety and health
Safety is a core value at Messer. That applies to our employees at our plants, technical and administrative workplaces, those who manage our logistics and operate our vehicles as well as customers who utilize our gases.
The high importance of this topic is also reflected in our materiality matrix. Occupational safety and health are firmly anchored, in our company as well as in our industry overall. Our mission statement, company values and internal policies emphasize the importance of safety across all our business units. Our demonstrated commitment to safety empowers our employees in continuous improvement.
The programs launched in 2020 to protect our employees from the Covid-19 pandemic were continued in 2021. The organizational and communication structure established by the general management of each subsidiary together with the safety, health, environmental and quality (SHEQ or HSEQ) leaders enabled us to react appropriately to all types of emergencies and crises. The convened pandemic teams provided information, at times in consultation with public health authorities, and helped to implement not only their instructions but also further internal measures to protect the employees. The functional coordination and in-house vaccine offerings as well as the workforce’s exemplary discipline and very high willingness to be vaccinated were reflected in low infection rates among Messer employees.
Safety of our employees
In order to ensure the safety of our employees, our network of safety officers study and document all safety-related incidents at Messer. Information and training materials help further improve the safe handling of our products and applications and encourage safe behavior by employees at the various workplaces.
The number of reported industrial accidents with loss of working hours increased at Messer from 44 in 2020 to 48 in 2021. The rate of loss of employee working time per million hours worked (accident frequency rate) increased from 2.0 in 2020 to 2.18 in the year under review. The number of working days lost per million hours worked (industrial accident severity rate) rose from 56.3 in 2020 to 69.15 in 2021. A total of 81 reportable industrial accidents were recorded in 2021, which was two fewer than in the previous year. The accident frequency rate of reportable industrial accidents per million hours worked decreased from 3.7 to 3.67. Unfortunately, we suffered one death among Messer’s workforce last year due to a traffic accident.
Poland: Acetylene production plant fire
On February 17, 2021, a fire broke out at Messer’s acetylene production plant in Chorzów. The employees reacted in exemplary fashion and activated the safety systems very rapidly. They also informed the fire department immediately and started to extinguish the fire. After the fire was put out, the plant was secured and shut down until the cause of the fire was investigated. The acetylene plant had no air pollutants, so no hazardous materials were released by the fire. There was no risk to people outside the plant.
UN Goals Safety & Health
Safety of our employees Accordion
Every year, the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) recognizes member companies for accident-free work at their sites. In 2021, this included four Messer locations and companies. The Bad Soden (Germany) site and the Dugi Rat (Croatia) site each received a “Silver Safety Award” for ten consecutive years without reportable work-related accidents. The Pančevo (Serbia) site and the Saint-Herblain (France) site each received a Bronze Safety Award for five consecutive years without reportable work-related accidents.
In North America, Messer was recognized by the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) for its safety performance in several categories. One Messer site received the safe facility performance “Silver Award” for 500,000 Hours or 10 Years with no lost time work accidents. Another site received the safe facility performance “Bronze Award” for 250,000 Hours or 5 Years with no lost time work accidents. Messer Americas was recognized with the Fleet Safety Excellence Award for bulk gas transportation, over 20 million miles per year. Finally, a Messer fleet engineering supervisor was recognized with the CGA’s Charles H. Glasier Safety Award in recognition of his safety leadership in the industrial gas industry.
Safety of our customers
Three new video clips from Messer informed viewers how to deal with gas cylinders safely. They describe the labeling of the cylinder contents and demonstrate the most important rules for transport and handling. The clips are a supplement to the pocket guides, which are available to download as PDFs at messergroup.com. They cover these topics comprehensively.
Safety of our logistics and vehicles
To manage the road transport of gases as safely as possible, Messer uses – in addition to the statutory regulations – a proven transport safety concept. In Europe, by signing the European Road Safety Charter, we have also undertaken to focus specifically on the safety of our fleet.
For our logistics, we developed safety measures on the national and international level. A continuous exchange of experience among logistics and safety personnel helps to further improve the level of safety in this area.
For the most part, Messer employs external carriers to transport our gases, with the exception of Messer in North America where employee drivers transport gases. Accordingly,
While Messer in America uses its own employees to transport gases, Messer in other regions primarily contracts external transport companies. In this case the legally required training of the drivers is the responsibility of those companies. We supplement their training courses with a driver training program developed by Messer Corporate Logistics. This is supported by an on-board computer system, which has been used in the vehicles since 2019. It records safety-related driving data, and thereby contributes to goal-oriented training. Based on driving data and integrated sensors, it also encourages more defensive driving through the use of acoustic and visual cues while on the road. This makes our transports even safer while also protecting our environment through lower fuel consumption.
In 2021, there were 74 preventable accidents during the transport of our cylinder gases. In the previous year, that number was 64. That apparent degradation in performance should be viewed, however, in the context of the accident frequency rate per million kilometers driven: it fell from 3.05 in 2020 to 2.13 in the year under review. So in proportion to the distance traveled, there were fewer accidents on average. The number of avoidable accidents while transporting liquefied gases was 161 in 2021 versus 194 in 2020. This positive trend is confirmed by the frequency rate per million kilometers driven: from 0.89 in the previous year, it fell to 0.8 in 2021.
Through appropriate supplier management, driver training courses and technical assistance, such as the new on-board computer system, we want to reduce the absolute number of avoidable accidents and further improve the accident frequency rate. Driver manuals with individually tailored content for operating bulk, cylinder and service vehicles keep all key information on hand at all times.
Messer is active in the medical business in over 20 countries: we provide consulting services, supply medicinal gases or gases as medical devices, plan, install and maintain supply systems, and offer medical accessories and consumables in the context of a complete service package.
Our activities in the pharmaceutical area comply with all applicable regulatory requirements on the national, European and international level. This specifically includes the requirements of (European) Good Manufacturing Practice (EU-GMP) and the specifications of the European Pharmacopeia. As medical devices, our gases comply with the Medical Device Regulation (EU 2017/745), the previously applicable Medical Device Directives, and the corresponding national laws.
Internal audits, a standardized pharmacovigilance system, and validated procedures and computer systems ensure our product and supply quality.