Aiming to be a cheerful and open company based on respect for people, a creative company full of vitality, a company that coexists with the community, and consequently a materially and spiritually rich company, we are contributing to a sustainable society.
We monitor the operational status of all production facilities 24/7/365, and in the event of trouble, an emergency alarm system is activated to enable us to respond as quickly as possible.
The natural gas produced is used as city gas in the surrounding areas, so we have a responsibility to ensure the supply of gas is stable. Our iodine production accounts for about 7% of the world’s total. Iodine is an element that is used in pharmaceuticals and disinfectants, and therefore requires a stable supply.
In 2020, we upgraded uninterruptible equipment and installed an emergency power generator to strengthen our backup system in the event of a power failure of the monitoring and alarm equipment. Going forward, we will further strengthen our Business Continuity Plan system.
In addition, the Chiba Works received the Chairman’s Award of the High Pressure Gas Safety Institute of Japan in 2019, as a business site with particularly excellent safety measures (excellent manufacturing site) with regard to the structure and equipment at each facility and manufacturing methods used to produce high-pressure gas.
The Director’s Award of the Kanto Tohoku Industrial Safety and Inspection Department is given to outstanding business operators and persons who have made exceptional efforts and contributions to the prevention of disasters caused by high-pressure gas in the Kanto-Koshinetsu region of Tokyo and 10 other prefectures.
In 2021, the Chiba Works was awarded as an “excellent manufacturing site” for its efforts, contributions, and achievements in safety awareness as well as the prevention of disasters caused by high-pressure gas. In addition to continuous efforts to ensure the safety of high-pressure gas throughout the plant, the Basic Iodine Product Department was highly evaluated for its proactive efforts to improve safety technologies by upgrading the safety of facilities (measures against aging deterioration) and applying digital technologies (i.e., remote monitoring, web cameras, plant information management systems).
We will continue to improve and enhance our safety technologies and measures.
In order to ensure the safety of operations and facilities, each department conducts regular surveys to identify hazardous operations and locations, and assesses the severity, likelihood, and frequency of such risks. For those assessed as high-risk, improvements to reduce the risk are discussed within the department, and the results of taking measures are re-evaluated to help prevent accidents and troubles.
At the Chiba Works, each department conducts near-miss activities, verifies and assesses identified problems, and strives to prevent recurrence. In 2020, corrective measures were taken for more than 90% of near-misses, indicating that they are being promptly addressed. We will continue to promote and improve environmental safety at each workplace.
We solicit environmental safety slogans for each theme every month, and highlight the best one to raise awareness of environmental safety. At the end of the fiscal year, all employees vote from among the 12 monthly best slogans to determine the best of the year.
The following was selected as the best slogan of 2021.
“Disasters are the accumulation of small near-misses. Go back to basics and reconfirm.”
Near-misses are hidden not only in the workplace, but also throughout daily life, such as at home, on the go, and while driving a car. Rather than reassuringly forgetting about it because “nothing happened,” we are working to strengthen safety by anticipating hazards.
In addition to near-miss activities conducted by each department, the Chiba Works holds presentation meetings twice a year. At these meetings, we not only visualize our activities and share information, but also actively exchange opinions with other departments and feed back new ideas and opinions to our own departments.
In order to make the workplace more comfortable and lively, all employees have been participating in the “On-site Capability Enhancement Activities” since eight years ago.
・In Phase I (2015–2017), we thoroughly eliminated defects and losses centered on the 2S, focusing on cultivating the sensitivity to “notice” defects in the most familiar and easily visible areas.
・In Phase II (2018–2020), we improved issues at each workplace, with the goals of promoting work efficiency, reducing cost, and promoting the 3S(SEIRI(Sort), SEITON(Set in order), SEISO(Shine)).
・In Phase III (2021–2024), we will make improvements with an awareness of PDCA, with the goals of promoting diverse business improvements, promoting the 3S and pursuing the 5S.
Since there was an industrial accident involving tripping and falling that resulted in a broken bone, we removed unnecessary foundations from the site.
During the National Occupational Health Week in October 2020 and the National Safety Week in July 2021, the chairperson and vice chairperson of the Safety and Health Committee conducted workplace patrols. In October, they patrolled mainly the outdoor facilities on the premises of the Chiba Works, and in July, they inspected the status of measures taken for areas where industrial accidents had occurred as well as various other areas (equipment and facilities) on the premises to prevent the recurrence of similar accidents. We will ensure safety in workplaces by carrying out the PDCA cycle, raising issues through patrols, making improvements, and horizontally deploying the PDCA cycle.
The Environmental Safety Department periodically patrols outsourced construction sites and in-house work sites in the Ichihara and Narita areas of the Mining Department to check safety measures, provide guidance, and call for the 5S.
During patrols, we make continuous improvements through the PDCA cycle together with the relevant departments in order to identify potential hazards in construction and operations and prevent occupational accidents and injuries.
In 2021, we patrolled well, bridge construction, and piping work sites to check fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, warning signs and markings, and methods of storing materials.
We regularly provide air respirator fitting training and AED resuscitation training to all employees.
In addition, we carry out drills on how to use water fire extinguishers and outdoor fire hydrants under guidance from staff of the Chosei Branch of the Chosei-gunshi Fire Department every year. In 2021, we also conducted a comprehensive evacuation drill, and the drill was live-streamed to the head office to raise awareness of our employees working there.
We regularly conduct accident simulation training at each workplace to identify new risks and help prevent human error.
For high-risk cases or cases where damage is expected to be extensive, we conduct drills to set up a crisis response headquarters at the same time.
In 2021, we conducted drills to set up a crisis response headquarters in three cases of accident simulation training: a gas leakage fire during construction at the Ichihara Base of the Mining Department, leakage from a chlorine gas pipe, and leakage of HI gas in the HI filling room.
In 2020, we conducted accident simulation training for leaks of hazardous substances at the plant and gas leaks from a gas feed pipe buried under the road. Although a windsock is already installed on the premises of the plant, we installed an anemometer to measure the wind direction and speed so that we can share more accurate information.
To ensure appropriate disaster prevention activities in the event of an emergency, we provide air respirator fitting training to all employees four times a year. By setting a goal for the fitting time, we aim to train our employees to put on air respirators quickly and properly.
In the 44th annual air respirator fitting training held at the Chiba Fire Academy in September 2020, our company won second place among 20 companies in the prefecture that participated, and received an award for excellence.
Later, our employees were requested by Chiba Prefecture to perform a model demonstration at the Sodegaura Nagaura Fire Station for disaster drills involving high-pressure gas transport vehicles.
Our experience of the typhoons and heavy rains that occurred in 2019 highlighted the need to quickly confirm the safety of our employees, and so we introduced a safety confirmation system as part of our Business Continuity Plan.
Since it is difficult to get a mobile phone connection in the event of a disaster, we have adopted a cloud service that supports emails and apps on personal mobile phones to increase the reliability of contact. This allows us to quickly ascertain the safety of our employees and their families, provide information to avoid secondary damage, and recover our business activities promptly after a disaster.
To familiarize the employees with the system, we provide a safety confirmation drill once a year. The response rate for safety confirmation emails at the time of introduction was 91%, but it had improved to 98% by 2021. By conducting drills, we will raise employees’ awareness of crisis management and review how the company should respond to a disaster.
We have introduced an equipment maintenance management system to manage maintenance cycles, plans, histories, and problems for each piece of equipment. The results of tabulation and analysis by this system show that the most common causes of trouble in 2021 were failure and deterioration.
In addition, we have introduced tablet devices for daily inspections and have attempted to import inspection records directly into the system, thus improving work efficiency compared to the conventional method.
In 2022, we will review the maintenance cycles of equipment that suffers frequent troubles based on the analysis results and then renew such equipment. In addition, we will further utilize and promote the system by expanding the scope of use and reviewing the details of operation.
The company vehicles used in the Mining Department are equipped with wide-area radios with GPS. By using radio sets, we can efficiently share information between workers, between workers and monitoring rooms, and between vehicles, during field work. In addition, the system can communicate with radio sets installed in other departments within the plant, allowing for quick and effective cooperation in the event of an emergency.
As 3G will be discontinued in the near future, we modified the system to support 4G. Call troubles due to the unstable signal strength of 3G have been resolved by the shift to 4G, increasing the stability of calls.