We continue to pursue excellence in occupational health and safety to better protect our employees, contractors, neighbors and the environment from hazards.
Our employees are our most valuable asset, and it is our responsibility as an employer to provide a safe work environment and promote wellness across the workforce. This focus on health and safety has been deeply ingrained at Cabot throughout our history and serves as a central theme in our culture. Our goal is for all employees to return home in the same condition as when they arrived at work.
As part of our Drive to Zero initiative, we have set a long-term goal of having no injuries at our facilities worldwide. Recognizing that it may take many years to achieve this ambitious goal, we also established a nearer-term target of being represented in the top 10% of our peer chemical companies for safety performance. To help meet these goals, we provide training to all employees on safety procedures that meets or exceeds all applicable government regulations and internal standards.
Our 2022 safety performance has remained relatively consistent with 2021 results. An analysis of the trends indicates that many incidents were either line of fire injuries to hands and fingers or bodily motion injuries due to slips/trips/falls or lifting strains and sprains. In response to these types of incidents, we have worked with our sites to review and implement our hazard identification strategy called the hazard decagon. This tool helps employees to identify energy sources in the workplace using an infographic called the hazard decagon that highlights descriptions of ten common hazards such as noise, mechanical, temperature and gravity. Focusing on line of fire, bodily motion and hazard recognition is a key element of our global safety implementation plans for 2023.
Our approach to process safety emphasizes management systems to control process-related hazards. We saw a significant improvement in process safety performance in 2022. The number of process safety incidents decreased by 60% compared to the previous year. As part of our commitment to providing safe working conditions, we introduced new leading indicators to support our focus on proactive safety management. By deploying these leading indicators, we will be able to identify areas for improvement and implement corrective actions across all our sites.
By acting responsibly and promoting safety and environmental excellence throughout our organization, we have established a leadership position among global chemical manufacturing companies with a record of world-class SH&E performance. With a mindset of continuous improvement, we remain focused on further advancing our SH&E performance and our ability to improving the safety of our products and processes.
Guided by our Corporate SH&E Compliance Audit, Assessment and Corrective Action Program Standard, we develop our annual audit schedule using a risk-based approach which includes consideration of factors such as time since last audit, site SH&E performance and tenure of SH&E resources. Our audits are conducted by teams of internal subject matter experts who are supported by external resources, as needed. Each audit includes an evaluation of facility procedures, practices and site conditions to manage compliance with national, state/provincial and local SH&E regulations, internal company standards and industry recognized best practices.
Corrective actions are established for any gaps and closure of those actions is tracked to completion. In 2020, comprehensive SH&E audits were conducted at six locations.
In addition to Corporate SH&E audits, we participate in annual external audits in conjunction with our commitment to Responsible Care and ISO. Our manufacturing facilities also implement annual self-assessment programs as part of our ongoing efforts to continuously evaluate and advance our SH&E compliance performance.
Cabot's Emergency Management program is defined by our Emergency Management Planning Standard which sets out minimum requirements for all our facilities. Included in the Standard are expectations for the identification of risk and potential emergency events; development and implementation of a written Emergency Management Plan, with annual reviews; annual training for all employees and teams on the elements of the plan and testing through drills, exercises and other methods; communication of the plan to local emergency responders and emergency response contractors to ensure sufficient resources will be available if needed.
Cabot has also implemented a Corporate-level Emergency Response and Crisis Communication Plan which identifies a crisis team, defines roles and responsibilities of the members of the team, details steps and communication responsibilities during a crisis event and provides tools and resources for a thorough emergency response.
Elements of our program include detailed procedures for maintenance and inspection of tanks and equipment as well as training requirements to ensure employees, contractors and transporters involved with bulk chemical transfer and storage are trained in the environmentally safe operation, maintenance and inspection of bulk chemical storage tanks, pipelines and transfer areas. We also provide training on our emergency response plans, including through the use of drills, to ensure employees, contractor and transporters are familiar with our emergency response procedures and are aware of their responsibilities during an emergency.
We require contracts with all bulk chemical suppliers and transporters that outline expectations for their transportation and operating procedures as well as use of equipment appropriate for the task. These measures help us to manage our risks as well as ensure compliance with applicable regulations, permits and standards
As part of Cabot’s Enterprise Risk Management program, significant risks are assessed, and appropriate mitigation strategies are reviewed. Transportation risks are included in this process. For those transportation risks that could present more significant outcomes, Cabot has contracted with outside consultants to audit and recommend improvement opportunities which are then acted upon to ensure that these risks are controlled and reduced to the lowest acceptable level.
Before partnering with a contractor, we conduct a thorough prequalification process which includes an evaluation of past safety and environmental performance. Contractors are assessed on their capabilities to manage the specific hazards and risks associated with the work, the qualifications of their team and their SH&E systems.
Each facility provides a comprehensive safety orientation to all contractors prior to beginning work. Retraining is required annually. In addition, contractors must demonstrate they have successfully completed any task-specific training required and that they possess all required qualifications and trade licenses.
Compliance with Cabot's requirements is monitored with field safety observations and auditing of the site's contractor safety management system.
With COVID-19 infections soaring, the city of Shanghai, China imposed a strict lockdown for all residents and workers in the city from mid-March to early June 2022. Our Shanghai, China facility launched a "closed loop" strategy on March 11, 2022, which enabled us to accommodate almost 100 employees at the Shanghai plant so that they could continue operations. As always, our primary focus was on the health and safety of our employees and ensuring that we avoided infections in the plant. Throughout this difficult time, our Shanghai team maintained a focus on personal and process safety which resulted in us successfully running the plant COVID-free for the entire 84 days of closed loop operations while maintaining our commitments to supply product to our customers.
We established global programs to protect the health and safety of all employees and contractors during the pandemic. The goal of these programs was to protect the well-being of our employees and communities through enhanced safety measures while also continuing to produce materials for critical supply chains, such as products needed for medical equipment and infrastructure applications. These safety measures included reducing employee density, enhancing cleaning and enacting distancing protocols at all sites, along with providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to employees and modifying work procedures to reduce risk.
Cabot’s leadership in safety performance was recognized by the National Safety Council (NSC). Our CEO and President, Sean Keohane, was named among a select list of “CEOs Who ‘Get It.’” NSC honors CEOs whose safety strategy encompasses risk reduction, performance measurement, safety management, solutions, and leadership and employee engagement.
We have implemented several changes to help make our safety programs more efficient and robust. Including refreshed educational campaigns to prevent hand and finger injuries and to reduce hazards, as well as using a more comprehensive contractor safety qualification process to help ensure we are selecting partners whose SH&E values are in line with our own. We also implemented a global system for collecting and maintaining safety data sheets for the materials used at our locations, and continued progress on a comprehensive review of our corporate SH&E standards.