Process safety

Kemira works to continuously manage and reduce the risks of accidents that may affect its employees, the environment, or the surrounding communities.

For Kemira as a chemical company, ensuring process safety is crucial. Kemira assesses the hazards and risks of both its existing sites and sites to be built. The asset integrity and operational performance is continuously improved with a systematic management approach. All Kemira sites are expected to implement and maintain the certified EHSQ management systems in accordance with ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 standards. Today the coverage of sites with all three standards is 59%. An overview of the development of the site certification is available in the Environmental management part.

Furthermore, Kemira has internal policies and standards for its EHSQ work. All of the EHSQ performance information is saved in a software system, enabling Kemira to report and share findings and corrective improvements taken as well as best practices.

As part of the 2012–2014 contract for global quality, environmental and safety management system certification services, Kemira sites have been given a three-level risk classification at the end of 2011. The risk classification is based on the site volume and complexity of operations. Approx. 30% of the production sites were classified as belonging to the two higher risk classes. Higher risk classification means more external audits and more detailed internal process and safety audits for the sites.

Impact on local communities

Some of Kemira’s sites are located in the vicinity of residential areas. Thus, incidents involving leakage of chemicals could have a negative impact on both the safety and environment of local communities. Kemira conducts environmental impact assessments and emission monitoring on all of its production plants according to local standards in order to monitor environmental performance and impact on the surrounding communities.

Additionally, each Kemira site has appropriate contingency plans in place to ensure the safety of surrounding communities. This is done in close cooperation with local environmental authorities. To enhance safe use of chemicals, Kemira works in close cooperation with many local chemical agencies.

Proactive approach in the safety work

During 2012, as part of its proactive work, Kemira has arranged several global training sessions regarding process safety and best practices for its personnel at 65% of its sites. The proactive work will continue and be further developed in 2013 and beyond.

New organization

Along with its new organization, Kemira has a new Technology & Engineering function in place for all its four segments since October, 2012. The Technology & Engineering function in each segment together with Manufacturing Management are responsible for process safety, providing Kemira with the opportunity to further improve its safety performance with the help of novel technology. The responsibility for auditing process safety will, however, continue to be within the EHSQ organization.  

In addition to forming Technology & Engineering functions, a Manufacturing community consisting of various members from segments and functions has been established. This will increase the speed of best practice transfer.

Accidents in 2012

There was one significant process accident in 2012; a transformer/rectifier fire in Eastover, USA. The fire resulted in production losses and equipment damages, but did not lead to impacts on the health of people or the environment. Measures have been taken to prevent similar accidents from occurring in the future.