Safety, Disaster Prevention, Quality
|Safety, disaster prevention, quality|
Overview of the fire at the Inuyama plant
Last updated: November 27, 2020
Here we provide an overview of the fire that occurred at Toyobo’s Inuyama Plant on September 27, 2020.
Situation regarding the outbreak of the fire
Place of outbreak
Packaging film production line
TOYOBO CO., LTD. Inuyama Plant
344, Aza Maehata, Oaza Kizu , Inuyama City, Aichi Prefecture
Time of outbreak
At around 21:00, Sunday September 27, 2020
Developments following the outbreak
Sunday September 27, 2020
Approx. 21:00 Fire breaks outs on a film production line at the Inuyama Plant
Monday September 28, 2020
01:10 Public fire department announces that it has the fire under control
07:45 Public fire department announces that it has extinguished the fire
Cause of outbreak: Currently under investigation by relevant authorities
Two deaths and one injury (all Toyobo employees)
Damage to the packaging film production building and some production equipment
Measures for preventing reoccurrences
Safety and accident prevention are of the utmost importance to the Group and we will thoroughly ascertain any deficiencies or other issues regarding our security and disaster prevention activities to date and ensure we become a safe company where this kind of incident cannot occur again.
(1) Establishment of an accident investigation committee
Following the incident, we immediately established an accident investigation committee which is making every effort to ascertain the cause of the accident. Once this cause is ascertained, we will take appropriate countermeasures based on directives from the relevant authorities.
(2) Establishment of a new Safety and Disaster Management Division
On December 1, we launched the new Safety and Disaster Management Division* under the direct supervision of the president, and established the Disaster Management Department and Occupational Safety Department within this division.
- * A division dedicated to safety, security, and disaster prevention
(3) Investment related to safety, security, and disaster prevention
We are actively investing in areas such as facility maintenance and the enhancement of human resources.
(4) Employee education
We are keeping SOP and manuals updated and educating employees. The content of this education is shared throughout the company so that we can engage in companywide accident prevention measures.
Policy and approach
The Toyobo Group recognizes that ensuring the quality and safety of products and services is fundamental to its business activities and it works to win the trust and satisfaction of customers and consumers by providing correct and accurate information about these products and services. Also, based on the concept that ensuring safety and sanitation is a major premise for business activities, we actively work to ensure the safety of employees and enhance the cleanliness of working environments under the spirit of respect between people with the aim of creating cheerful, happy workplaces and a prosperous society. To ensure the quality and safety of our products and services we are building appropriate management systems, carrying out appropriate processes such as quality inspections, and handling data and other information in an appropriate manner. We also strive to develop products that contribute to society. We manage and use research funds, including external financing, in an appropriate manner and we never falsify or manipulate data or research results. We handle enquiries and complaints from customers sincerely and strive to provide products and services that take this feedback into account.
We consider safety, security, and disaster prevention to be one of our most important management issues and in order to strengthen our efforts in this area, on December 1, 2020, we launched the Safety and Disaster Management Division to specialize in this function as an organization that is directly supervised by the president and holds a lot of authority. Regarding committees, the Global Environment and Safety Committee has been reorganized into the Safety and Disaster Management Committee and the Global Environment Committee .
To ensure quality, we have established the PL (Product Liability)/QA (Quality Assurance) Committee. The chair of the Safety and Disaster Management Committee is the Representative Director and Co-Chief Operating Officer, and the chair of the PL/QA Committee is the director responsible for the Production Technology Innovation and Quality Assurance Division. Committee meetings are set by the chair and they hold ordinary meetings at least once a year in principle (twice a year for the PL/QA Committee), as well as extraordinary meetings when necessary. Corporate auditors and other individuals designated by the chair attend committee meetings as observers and can give their opinions. Committees are comprised of the relevant division heads, supervising executive officers, executive officers, and department heads. In FY2020, the Global Environment and Safety Committee met once, and the PL/QA Committee met twice.
Targets and KPI
- We will strive to prevent disasters and accidents by clarifying and thoroughly complying with basic safety throughout the entire Toyobo Group.
- We will increase customer satisfaction by practicing quality management throughout our entire supply chain, including upstream areas, and ensuring quality that can be trusted.
＜KPI and Results＞
|Initiatives||KPI||Target (FY2026)||Results (FY2020)|
- *1 Major incidents: Defined according to internal standards based on the definition stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
- *2 Incidents related to products: Defined according to internal standards based on the definition stipulated by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
Approach to safety
The Toyobo Group aims to create a prosperous society and further contribute to society by supplying products that are safer throughout their entire life cycles under the principles and activities set out in TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Health & Safety. We are also working to achieve zero accidents involving employees based on the concept that ensuring safety and sanitation is a major premise for business activities.
The Group strives to supply create safe work environments. Accordingly, we have formulated the following policies.
＜TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Health & Safety＞
- Health & Safety Principle
Based on the concept that ensuring safety and sanitation is a major premise for business activities, we will actively work to ensure the safety of employees, enhance the cleanliness of working environments, and improve health under the spirit of respect between people with the aim of creating cheerful, happy workplaces and a prosperous society.
- Policy for Health & Safety Activities
- Ensuring workplace safety
The Toyobo Group works to enhance the safety and security of environments at its workplaces with the aim of achieving zero accidents.
- Enhancing environmental sanitation and improving health
The Toyobo Group is enhancing the sanitation of environments at its workplaces and working to improve the health of its employees with the aim of realizing happy workplaces.
- Compliance with social norms
The Toyobo Group complies with social rules and works to realize a prosperous society and communities with which the Company can coexist.
- Ensuring workplace safety
Structure (Health and Safety management)
＜Health and Safety management structure＞
The Group has established a Safety and Disaster Management Promotion Committee under the Safety and Disaster Management Committee to promote safety and disaster prevention activities.
The Safety and Disaster Management Committee considers and decides policy regarding safety and disaster prevention activities and the Safety and Disaster Management Promotion Committee considers, decides, and manages the implementation of specific initiatives. Committee members conduct safety and environmental assessments of our offices and plants as well as Group companies, in order to check the status of onsite activities.
We have also put in place a system in which each month, a Health and Safety Committee at each business site and plant, comprising employee representatives, management, and experts, investigates and considers matters relating to health and safety, following which the representatives provide employees with feedback.
Union representatives also participate in meetings of the Safety and Disaster Management Promotion Committee and Health and Safety Committees. Additionally, regular meetings are held between the union and management through which both parties cooperate and share information on topics such as progress made and issues regarding health, safety, and disaster prevention matters.
- * The committees were restructured on December 1, 2020
Under the TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Health & Safety, we are implementing the following occupational safety initiatives.
● Building a culture of safety
We promote a safety-first mindset, and management and workers work together to implement “attentiveness activities ” that raise awareness on matters such as speaking up at workplaces and complying with rules. We also carry out practical training onsite in order to facilitate the identification of risk in workplace environments and procedures, the ability to practice safe behavior, and a heightened sensitivity to danger and abnormality.
● PDCA cycle activities
We clarify the characteristics of workplaces and analyze past incidents to recognize issues at each workplace and identify risk that should be dealt with. We stay aware of the current level of safety at each workplace and promote activities that aim to find ways to improve this level. We monitor the progress of activities and use the results of this monitoring to further improve activities. We will stay alert to changes in the environment both within and outside workplaces and take steps to counter any anticipated risk in advance.
● Making people, equipment, and processes safer
We identify major sources of potential danger and take steps to prevent major incidents from occurring. We carry out risk assessments and research procedures to understand onsite risk and then make improvements to equipment and procedures. We then include this information in procedure manuals and carry out education in order to prevent incidents from occurring in advance. In cases when an incident does occur, we investigate it to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future. Additionally, when incidents occur at other companies and workplaces, we check whether there is a similar risk at our own workplaces and take steps if necessary.
Frequency Rate of Workplace Accidents Resulting in Lost Workdays (Japan)
The Toyobo Group is striving to achieve zero accidents in accordance with the TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Health & Safety. We place importance on the frequency rate of workplace accidents resulting in lost workdays*1. This was 0.31 in FY2020, including affiliated businesses at the same business site.
We have set a goal of zero major incidents*2 as a KPI and in FY2020, we achieved zero major incidents.
- *1 Frequency rate of workplace accidents resulting in lost workdays refers to the rate of accidents resulting in lost workday injuries per one million hours worked
- *2 Major incidents: Defined according to internal standards based on the definition stipulated by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare
Approach to disaster prevention
In order to ensure that memories and the lessons learnt from the major fire at the Tsuruga Research and Production Center that occurred on September 6, 2018, are not forgotten, we have designated September 6th as the TOYOBO Group Disaster Preparedness Day and the week of September 1st to 7th as the TOYOBO Group Disaster Preparedness Week. The whole Group is making concerted efforts to review our security and disaster prevention activities and is continuously promoting “the creation of workplaces and personnel that are strongly equipped to deal with fires” at all Group locations with the aim of making our production bases more resilient and regaining the trust of society.
We consider safety, security, and disaster prevention to be one of our most important management issues and in order to strengthen our efforts in this area, on December 1, 2020, we launched the Safety and Disaster Management Division to specialize in this function as an organization that is directly supervised by the president and holds a lot of authority. Regarding committees, the Global Environment and Safety Committee has been reorganized into the Safety and Disaster Management Committee and the Global Environment Committee.
Our production plants contain a large number and variety of risks connected to materials and equipment that if not managed and handled correctly, can result in a major accident, such as hazardous and poisonous materials, large volumes of combustible materials, and electrical equipment. It is crucial to ensure all employees understand the risks involved and take steps to reduce these risks and avoid accidents in advance.
Using the “Inspection Guidelines for Fire Risk” drawn up based on the advice of a third-party expert following the major fire at the Tsuruga Research and Production Center, we carry out overall inspections the Group’s main production plants, and this systematically promotes functional improvements to fire-fighting equipment at our sites of production. We also continue to revise the content of our training drills so that they are more practical and enable us to protect our workplaces in the event of a fire.
Our management is advancing a firm response to strengthening disaster prevention at each plant, with the aim of realizing workplaces where fires will not occur and, in the unlikely event that a fire does occur, ensuring there are no human casualties and that other damage is minimized. From FY2020 onward, we are holding fire prevention events at all plants on the TOYOBO Group Disaster Preparedness Day, which are also attended by the president. We also invite experts to give disaster prevention seminars to raise awareness of disaster prevention.
With regard to training, we have revised the company-wide training system for safety and disaster prevention in order to continually enhance employees’ awareness of disaster prevention, and have also enhanced the curriculum relating to disaster prevention.
Approach to quality
The Toyobo Group’s quality management is based on our TOYOBO PVVs corporate philosophy system, which incorporates our corporate philosophy of Jun-Ri-Soku-Yu (adhering to reason leads to prosperity).
We implement quality management activities under the motto “TOYOBO’s way of manufacturing,” based on the idea of always taking our customer’s standpoint, accurately identifying the customer’s needs, and providing solutions that satisfy the customer.
In order to gain the trust and ensure the satisfaction of customers through high quality products and services that are safe, environmentally friendly, and in compliance with laws and regulations, the Group has formulated and advances activities under the TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Quality Assurance (QA) and the TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Product Safety.
＜TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Quality Assurance＞
- Quality Assurance Principle
We will gain the trust and ensure the satisfaction of consumers and customers by always taking our customer’s standpoint and ensuring each individual employee prioritizes quality as we develop and supply products and services that are safe, environmentally friendly, take into account the protection of information, and benefit society.
- Policy for Quality Assurance Activities
- Toyobo Group anticipates the changing needs of customers and society to realize manufacturing that offers quality and safety that enables us to share our joy with customers
- Toyobo Group complies with relevant laws, regulations, and standards concerning products and we voluntarily set our own standards and conform to these.
- Toyobo Quality practices quality assurance throughout a product’s lifecycle and throughout our supply chain
＜TOYOBO Group Basic Policy on Product Safety＞
- Safe Product Principle
We will make an even greater contribution to society by supplying even safer products using technologies that are considerate of people and the environment with the aim of creating a prosperous society for the 21st century.
- Policy for Product Safety Activities
- The Toyobo Group provides highly safe and reliable products and services that meet the changing needs and expectations of society, customers, and consumers.
- In order to ensure product safety, the Toyobo Group naturally complies with all relevant laws, regulations, and standards. We also voluntarily set safety standards that are higher than required and conform to these.
- The Toyobo Group plans safety that naturally takes into account the future application of a product and a degree of mistaken use that can be rationally predicted.
- The Toyobo Group plans the safety of a product throughout its entire lifecycle, from development, design, manufacturing, sale, and usage through to disposal.
- The Toyobo Group works to enhance the awareness of product safety of all its employees and participates in information provision, education, and awareness raising activities for stakeholders.
As of April 1, 2021, the Group established a new “Quality Assurance Division,” which unilaterally manages matters regarding quality assurance (QA) to strengthen the Group’s quality assurance system.
Also, with the aim of boosting the checking function by ensuring independence associated with QA tasks, the Quality Assurance Department under the Production Technology Innovation and Quality Assurance Division as well as the Quality Assurance Department under each solution division were transferred to the Quality Assurance Division.
The new division has the authority to instruct on or suspend sales and marketing, development and manufacturing of products at the entire Group and affiliated companies.
The Group has established a “PL/QA Committee” as a standing committee with overall responsibility for PL and QA. This committee, which comprises persons in charge from each business and persons in charge (executives) from the corporate staff, puts in place systems to ensure product safety in relation to products and technology, and to facilitate appropriate responses to PL or other quality-related incidents. As well as optimizing corporate activity and maintaining/enhancing the Group’s standing in society, the committee strives to increase customers’ trust and confidence in the Group, while making sure that our activities are in keeping with the times.
We are also building a structure that can assure quality through initiatives such as clarifying executive responsibilities, establishing quality assurance departments that are independent from manufacturing departments, checking that QA activities are being carried out regularly, and formulating improvement plans for identified issues.
The basis of “TOYOBO’s way of manufacturing” is to consistently put ourselves in the customer’s position and provide what is needed the most. This includes incidental services and solutions, in addition to our product offerings. In this way, we aim to help customers resolve their challenges and issues, and realize their wishes.
To achieve this, all employees have shared access to our Quality Assurance Manual, which describes the basic approach and code of conduct for all employees when implementing the Group’s development, production and sales activities. In addition, our Quality Assurance Guidelines provide the basis for activities aimed at developing a system that guarantees quality. In January 2021, the Group reviewed the Quality Assurance Guidelines to strengthen measures to ensure the effectiveness of the quality assurance and management system. A QA system is established for each product and service, so that quality and product safety can always be guaranteed at each stage. Additionally, checks are repeatedly carried out by business supervisors, related internal and external parties, and experts, to ensure that no incidents occur in the market.
Overview of QA Activities
Product safety promotion activities
For each department and group company, we conduct PL/QA assessments carried out by third parties or quality assurance personnel from different departments to verify and improve Product Safety (PS) activities. Moreover, we have established criteria for assessing PS and PL risk, and based on these criteria, we carry out inspections at each stage, from product development to sales. By addressing risk in advance, we work to mitigate risks pertaining to customers and employees.
All possible measures are taken to ensure product safety, and training drills are also conducted every year at all business divisions based on PL incident scenarios. Product safety remains a crucial theme throughout the whole of the Group, and we will continue to mitigate risk as much as possible to fulfill our social responsibility.
PL Response System