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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.

Initiatives for Health Management

Health and Productivity Management Initiatives at Ube Industries

Image: Certified Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization Recognition Program

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. The Company also provides e-learning programs for all employees to raise their awareness of health. Approximately 97% of employees have participated in the programs.

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). The Company also has 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.

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, which is a list of the top-ranked 500 companies in Japan based on results of the Survey on Health and Productivity Management.

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.
  • Ube Industries conducts audits of the departments responsible for health management once a year as a general rule. These audits confirm that (1) industrial health measures at each business site are implemented in accordance with the Industrial Safety and Health Act and other laws and regulations, and (2) the autonomous initiatives of business sites are in line with the company-wide industrial health management plan.

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

Policies and Issues

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. The table shows the medium-to-long term policies and issues.

Medium-to-Long Term Policies and Issues
Medium-to-Long Term (FY2019 – 2021)
Policies
  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, and 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

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. Eliminate 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

Ube Industries has set the goal of curbing the increase in the number of work days lost due to non-occupational injuries and illness as a medium-to-long term health issue. In terms of measures to address mental health, the Company aims to reduce presenteeism by promoting workplace improvement activities using stress check findings. Ube Industries actively uses mobile consulting services from an outside employment assistance program (EAP) to identify the strengths and weaknesses of its workplaces and implements improvements to increase the sense of unity in the workplace. This will improve engagement with work, thereby preventing the persistence of poor health and decline in productivity due to illness. Ube Industries has set a target of at least 95% for the stress check uptake rate. As for the issue of presenteeism, the Company also has set targets for “the number of departments with stress check total health risk values of 120 and higher” and “the percentage of high-stress individuals in stress check” calling for a reduction in each compared to the previous fiscal year. Moreover, in terms of measures to reduce absenteeism, the Company 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 provides multifaceted support (the individual’s superiors and human resources staff, in-house specialists, and outside EAP). Ube Industries has set targets for new case rate and mental health severity rate calling for a reduction in each compared to the previous fiscal year, and a target of 50% or higher for the return to work rate.

The department responsible for company-wide health management checks on the progress of the management indicators and monitors business site activities to maintain a consistent level of in-house action. The table shows the results for the priority issues in measures to address mental health.

Results for Priority Issues in Measures to Address Mental Health
Priority Issues Item Targets 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Promote workplace improvement activities using stress check findings Stress check uptake rate (%) 95% or higher 97.1 96.7 97.0 97.2 96.9
Number of departments with stress check total health risk values of 120 and higher Reduce compared to the previous fiscal year - - 35 43 34
Percentage of high-stress individuals*1) in stress check Reduce compared to the previous fiscal year 11.5 11.2 11.7 11.6 10.3
Reduce the number of employees on long-term leave New case rate (%) Reduce compared to the previous fiscal year 0.27 0.57 0.59 0.55 0.47
Mental health severity rate (%) Reduce compared to the previous fiscal year 0.60 0.59 0.70 0.76 0.73
Return to work rate (%) 50% or higher 47.1 48.9 50.0 31.8 61.0

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

2. Use of Health Checkup Findings (Measures to Address Cerebral and Cardiac Disease and Cancer Risk)

To curb the increase in the number of work days lost due to non-occupational injuries and illness, Ube Industries is building a system to identify the risk of cerebral and cardiac disease, reduce the abnormal findings rate, and detect and treat cancer early using health checkup findings.

Specifically, health risk classifications have been introduced for all employees as a risk communication tool. This tool encourages employees to engage in health activities autonomously, provides information that enables managers to understand the health management of their subordinates, and provides the motivation to create a healthy and comfortable workplace for all employees. The diagram below shows the relationship between health classifications, work restrictions, and health risk classifications.

Health risk classifications Health risk classifications

In order to make better use of the risk communication tool, Ube Industries provides e-learning on self-healthcare obligations and duty of care for all employees, always striving to foster a health-focused corporate culture. The Company 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.

Ube Industries has set a target of 100% for the regular health checkup uptake rate and a target for the complete checkup uptake rate (cerebral and cardiac disease and cancer) calling for an increase compared to the previous fiscal year. For the rate of high-risk individuals according to Ube Industries criteria, the Company has set a target calling for a reduction compared to the previous fiscal year. For the secondary screening rate for cancer, the Company has set a target calling for a reduction compared to the previous fiscal year. The Company checks the minutes of the meetings held at business sites to evaluate improvement, and confirms the evaluation of measures in audits in addition to applying good practices to other business sites.

The table shows the results for the priority issues in the use of health checkup findings.

Results for Priority Issues in the Use of Health Checkup Findings
Priority Issues Item Targets 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Identify risk of cerebral and cardiac disease using health checkup findings and reduce abnormal findings rate Regular health checkup uptake rate (%) 100% 99.6 99.7 100 100 100
Complete checkup uptake rate (%) Increase compared to the previous fiscal year 93.8 92.7 93.5 98.6 98.8
Rate of high-risk individuals according to Ube Industries criteria (%) Reduce compared to the previous fiscal year 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.2 8.8
Detect and treat cancer early using health checkup findings Secondary screening rate for cancer (%) Increase compared to the previous fiscal year 84.2 88.1 87.5 96.8 89.9

Each business site implements a variety of initiatives throughout the year to provide support for employees to take action on their health on their own. The Pre-checkup Challenge provides an opportunity for employees to reflect on their lifestyle habits before the health checkup. In addition, various evens for employees have also 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. Through these health care initiatives that are targeted for all employees regardless of age and gender, Ube Industries encourages them to balance work and life in a fulfilling manner. Ube Industries has set targets for the percentage of employees with appropriate body weight and the percentage of employees who regularly exercise*2 calling for an increase in each compared to the previous fiscal year.

Results for Other Health Indicators (Scope: Health Checkup Recipients of All Ages)
Item Targets 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Percentage of employees with appropriate body weight (%) Increase compared to the previous fiscal year 70.3 69.5 67.9 67.3 66.7
Percentage of employees who regularly exercise*2) Increase compared to the previous fiscal year 26.8 27.0 28.2 28.4 31.0

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

3. Measures to Address Tobacco Use

Ube Industries implements measures to address tobacco use with the aim of maintaining and improving the health of the UBE Group employees. The Company regards eliminating passive smoking in the workplace as a priority issue and has set targets of a 23% or lower smoking rate and a zero passive smoking rate. To achieve these targets, the Company has set out the UBE Guidelines on Measures to Address Tobacco Use. In accordance with the Guidelines, the Company takes a three-pronged approach which consists of working (1) to prevent passive smoking by creating comfortable workplaces and improving site management, (2) to prevent smoking by making it difficult to access to tobacco products and creating an environment that discourages employees to become new smokers, and (3) to support smoking cessation by providing support for smokers. Specifically, to prevent passive smoking, each business site and Group company has prepared a plan for achieving zero passive smoking and is implementing initiatives to achieve its plan. These initiatives include setting up smoking areas and checking on smoking during working hours. The departments responsible for health management conduct audits to confirm progress on eliminating passive smoking. In terms of measures to address prevention of smoking, the Guidelines promote the creation of an environment that discourages employees to become new smokers and have prohibited the sale of tobacco products on Company premises. In particular, the Company provides education for underage and newly hired employees to prevent them from becoming new smokers.

In terms of support for smoking cessation, the Company work with the health insurance association to provide employees who want to quit with assistance and support so they can quit smoking. The table shows the results for the smoking rate in measures to address tobacco use.

Results for Smoking Rate in Measures to Address Tobacco Use (Scope: All Health Checkup Recipients)
Priority Issues Item Targets
(FY2021)
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Zero passive smoking Smoking rate (%) 23% or less 28.6 28.5 27.2 25.9 23.6

4. Measures to Address Occupational Illness Risks

In order for the UBE Group to continually improve the three areas of management under the Industrial Safety and Health Act (working environment management, work management, and health management), the Company ensures that work records, working environment measurement results, and special health checkup recipient lists are closely linked. The Company has 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 selects employees who are eligible for special health checkups accordingly. The findings of checkups, the results of working environment measurements, and work records are shared with industrial physicians to achieve 100% implementation of appropriate occupational illness risk determinations. With regard to UBE Group companies, the Company conducts audits of the departments responsible for health management at Group companies to confirm implementation of appropriate occupational illness risk determinations.

Employee Education

The UBE Group provides a variety of training and information at its workplaces based on its belief that employees’ own actions are the key to optimal health management. Ube Industries regularly provides training on the use of health information to its managers (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, the Company will continue to create an environment that enables employees to work in good health throughout their careers. The Company also disseminates information on health through the 3-minute health advice program to foster awareness of health. The table below shows a list of company-wide shared health education. In addition, each business site and Group company holds seminars aimed at improving lifestyle habits, including lectures on hygiene by industrial physicians and training on mental health by an outside EAP, striving to increase awareness of health. Employee participation events include workplace walking rallies and health festivals (which have been canceled for recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)

Company-Wide Health Education
Training Eligible Employees Fiscal 2020 Results
Grade-specific training on mental health Newly hired employees and employees hired mid-career at Ube Industries Total: 473 employees
Training on use of health information Managers at Ube Industries (includes managers at sites outside Japan) Attendance rate: 97%, attended by 1,648 employees in total
Provision of Information Eligible Employees Fiscal 2020 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
Information on COVID-19 UBE Group Posted information on infection control measures, vaccination, health management while teleworking, etc.

Response to Global Health Issues

Since the UBE Group’s business spans the globe, the Group complies with applicable laws and regulations in and outside Japan. As part of this, 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 interventions following health checkups before departing Japan (including employment decisions), industrial physicians provide health education (including for family members if desired) and guidance on appropriate vaccinations in light of the risk of infection from malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, etc., in each area where employees are assigned to work.