Dow India has comprehensive programs for informing and sensitizing workforce for safety
In an email interaction with Chemical Industry Digest, Ashish Mishra, Director – Health Services, Dow India speaks on employee health and safety. He discusses the measures and initiatives taken by the company to provide a safer environment to their employ
Chemical Industry Digest (CID): What are the key challenges related to employee health and safety that Dow India has identified? How does the company manage and mitigate the risks?
Dr. Ashish Mishra (AM): At Dow India, we lay great emphasis on our safety culture and ensure that all our offices and sites across the country strictly adhere to the company’s global safety standards. Our aim is to meet or exceed all the applicable laws, regulations and standards.
We categorize risks to workplaceplace safety under three broad tenets – physical,cal, chemi-chemical and ergonomic. We engage ourur employ-employees, partners and visitors in periodicdic manda-mandatory safety trainings to make suree that they are aware of the potential risks att the work-workplace and know how to mitigate thesethese risks.
What we have learned over thee past many years of implementing safety standardsndards at our sites is that physical and chem-emical risks are easier to mitigate be-because there are standard protocolsls and trainings in place for peoplee to follow. Our primary challengee lies in implementing behavioural changes. Towards this end, we make sure that our safety trainings and awareness programs are not limited to our manufacturing sites, but are carried out at our corporate offices and R&D facilities as well.
CID: How does the company sensitize the entire workforce on safety, so that safety becomes part of one’s behavioural mindset?
AM: Given the emphasis that we have on health and safety, we ensure that our operations, workplace, and products are free from significant risk to the health and safety of our employees, visitors, contractors, customers, carriers, distributors, neighbours, the public, and the environment.
To sensitize our various stakeholders on safety,ty, we proactproactively communicate with them. Equally impimportantly, we listen and are responsivesponsive to oour employees, customers, neighbours,bours, and government. We regularly share information concerning potential hazards resultingsulting from our operations or our products, and we have policies and procedures in place to mitigate these hazards.
With W a safety function oversight that th rests with the CEO, we define and advocate a clear strategic direction and proactive policy where health and safety are concerned. In addition we have annual objectives and goals in place that enable us to measure assess and lead progress towards attaining 100% compliance in all activities and go beyond, such as ensuring that our partner networks are compliant as well in health and safety.
CID: Tell us about some of your key initiatives that contribute to ensuring a safe workplace.
AM: We have a comprehensive program that informs, educates and sensitizes our entire workforce towards safety hazards at the workplace. Some of the key initiatives that we have been driving over the past few years to achieve this are:
❍ Behavior and Culture Change: Through this process, the organization identifies and develops habit strength behaviours to improve performance
❍ Business Risk Review is a process aimed at identifying all potential EH&S risks, evaluating them and suggesting/managing course correction
❍ Dow India also creates an annual “Compliance Plan” that is used to document plans to address a Non-Conformance and meet requirements. A Compliance Plan is used for external (legal) EH&S requirements and for internal requirements. This is supplemented by a Conduct Management System Review (MSR), a process used to determine effectiveness of the EH&S management system for meeting desired performance. During the annual business planning, EH&S requirements aligned to a business are incorporated into specific business’s and regions strategy.
❍ Through Manage & Perform Audits (MPA) Leadership makes sure that the audits that are required or requested are planned and executed efficiently. The process can be used to manage any type of EH&S Audit.
❍ Product stewardship program - reaches across all functions and beyond our gates to help us ensure that our products are used safely for their intended purposes, throughout their life cycles.
❍ The WRAP award program - The Waste Reduction Always Pays (WRAP) award recognizes individuals who find innovative ways to save money while reducing waste or emissions at Dow.
CID: What differentiates Dow India’s EHS program from its industry counterparts?
AM: Dow India is committed to a “Vision of Zero”— zero incidents, injuries, illnesses and zero environmental harm, with each Dow employee being accountable for achieving this vision. This Vision of Zero means our employees return home safely every day, and our surrounding communities are healthy and safe. The company has introduced a Healthy Workplace Index that helps promote a culture of health at the company by assigning scores for key elements and providing a cumulative score – bronze, silver, gold or platinum – for each company site. The key elements of the Healthy Workplace Index include tobacco policy enforcement, access to physical activity and healthy foods, periodic health assessments, stress management and a supportive work environment. From a 2004 baseline, wellness programs, the company has seen a 28 percent reduction in the population at high risk globally.
Our safety efforts have been duly recognized and rewarded for this commitment and accountability to safety. In 2017, Dow India was named as the ‘Healthiest Workplace’ by Arogya World and also received certification as a ‘Top Employer for 2018’ by the Top Employer Institute.
CID: What are the standard industry measures that you use to map the progress of safety goals?
AM: In 1995, we launched our 2005 Environment, Health and Safety (EH&S) Goals. With a $1 billion investment in energy efficiency, water reduction and reuse and waste reduction programs on a global level, the company was able to save $5 billion – and fostered a culture of safety and sustainability.
The 2025 World-Leading Operations Goal commits us to maintaining world-leading operations performance in natural resource efficiency, environment, health and safety. We introduced Total Worker Health (TWH) as a new health strategy. This strategy rests on three pillars - Healthy Culture, Healthy Workplace and Healthy People. The matrix gives a clear indication of resource efficiency, and environment, health and safety of the workforce. It is a strategy integrating occupational safety and health protection with health promotion to prevent worker injury and illness and to advance health and well-being.
CID: How far safety protocols like Responsible Care ® help or have helped? Any other safety protocols you’ve signed into?
AM: All Dow India sites are Responsible Care
® Certified and is facilitated by the Indian Chemical Council in the region. Our last recordable injury was in 2010. We have zero recordable process safety incident and motor vehicle accidents, since 2012. We are living the ‘Vision Hall of Fame – Gold level’.