Chemicals health, safety and environment statistics

The SA Chemicals and Allied Industry Association (CAIA) released its health, safety and environment statistics in the 2015 Responsible Care report.

There were ten fatalities in the South African organized chemicals industry last year, but none were related to materials exposure. Six occurred during the signatory’s own road transport operations, the rest befell contractors.

Of the Responsible Care signitories, 75% have implemented a behaviour-based safety programme for employees and contractors, with a focus on handling, including transport.

The Recordable Injury Incident Rate (RIIR) in the SA chemicals industry, due to exposure to chemicals, is 0.147 for operators, and 0.93 for contractors.

The injury rate not related to chemicals material exposure, is 0.886 for operators, and 0.371 for contractors. There were ten non-material injuries last year. Chemicals material-related and material-unrelated recordable injuries are reported separately.

Of the reporting signatories, 71.8 % reported that no handling incidents occurred during 2014 activities.

There has been selective incorporation of aspects of the Globally Harmonised System (GHS) of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals into South African legislation. At each point of the chemical value chain, there is a responsibility to manage chemicals in a safe and responsible manner.

The principles and potential benefits of product stewardship practices still need to be entrenched in many signatories’ day-to-day operations.

There is a marked increase in reporting of Community Awareness and Emergency Response Committees.

CAIA noted the importance of invitations to community members so that aspects such as general housekeeping, standard operating procedures, professionalism and conduct can be observed first-hand.

Community activities have the potential to build confidence and positive relationships with community members.

There is a high level of confidence in the overall effluent discharge rate that has been calculated. A further 48 % less effluent was reported to be discharged per tonne of traded products.

CAIA notes an increase in the proportion of signatories that have waste minimisation plans in place (85.4% compared to 83.2% for 2013 activities) across all signatories.

Responsible Care manufacturers and warehousers of chemicals must undergo a mandatory independent third-party verification audit that assesses the improvement in implementation of the eight Responsible Care Management Practice Standards, every three years.

At September 2015, 249 Responsible Care third-party audits had been completed CAIA received 29 new audit reports during 2014 and 8 in 2015 to date. Seventeen companies are still to complete audits before the end of 2015.

Chemicals health, safety and environment statistics scope
The annual Responsible Care Performance Report released in November 2015 in Johannesburg, covers the chemical industry’s progress in meeting the Responsible Care Initiative principles, its safety and health statistics for on and off-road activities, assessed the industry’s resource efficiency in terms of energy, water, waste and greenhouse gas emissions performance related to Product Stewardship and its community outreach progress.

It also detailed the considerable training offered by CAIA during the year under review and its attendance at international fora.

“With the adoption of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals during September 2015, affordable and clean energy has become critical to the multinational process of working towards a more sustainable future,” said Deidré Penfold, Executive Director of CAIA.

“The importance of energy to sustainable development objectives can also be indirectly noted in other sustainable development goals such as those relating to economic growth, industry, innovation and infrastructure, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production and climate action.

“The Responsible Care initiative is ideally placed as a proactive response by the chemical industry to the challenges of sustainability through the implementation of initiatives that contribute to continuous improvement in safety, health, environmental and reporting objectives.

“Energy will continue to play a leading role in sustainability objectives – especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions in South Africa – and the need for innovation and rational national energy policy cannot be underestimated as keys to a sustainable future.

Consumption of energy, primarily electricity, has become and continues to be more efficient amongst Responsible Care signatories that trade in products.

Chemicals operators using less water and electricity
At September 2015, CAIA had 157 Responsible Care signatories committed to the implementation of these initiatives. The senior executives commit their companies to participate and uphold the Responsible Care pillars in its operations and business practices in these areas:
. Safety and health
. Management commitment
. Pollution prevention and resource efficiency
. Product stewardship
. Storage and transportation
. Process safety
. Community interaction
. Emergency response.

Chairman of the Responsible Care Standing Committee, Johan Schoonraad, said, “Water plays an integral role in the activities of the chemical industry and can be considered a raw material in many cases.

“Members of CAIA, as signatories to the global voluntary Responsible Care initiative, are expected to improve their performance continuously in terms of water use and effluent discharge, which often includes efforts to increase production efficiencies and effluent recycling. I am pleased to report that water efficiency is improving from year to year.

“This aggregate report of performance of signatories to the Responsible Care initiative is a valuable tool to identify where challenges are presenting themselves and potentially even how they may be addressed.

“Through further analysis, CAIA will be determining where members require support and, facilitated by the Responsible Care initiative, how the transfer of knowledge and experiences can lead to the sharing of how successes have been achieved in areas of health, safety and environmental performance.”

Process safety training
CAIA continues to deliver industry workshops and seminars, such as training in;
• Risk-based Process Safety Management
• Globally Harmonised System (GHS) Safety Data Sheets (SDS, or MSDS)
• Quantitative Indicators of Performance
• Executive and Management Process Safety breakfasts
• Process Safety Management
• Product Stewardship
• Transportation of Dangerous Goods.

In addition, CAIA contributed to lectures, exhibitions, hosted visiting experts and embarked on an extensive media campaign to promote the CAIA brand and its members.

Chemicals Sheq challenge
CAIA challenged its members with some self-assessment questions on energy efficiency:

[] Are you regularly and accurately measuring or recording energy consumption?
[] Have you established an energy baseline for energy audit purposes?
[] Are you regularly investigating and evaluating energy savings opportunities and technologies; both in absolute consumption and efficiency terms?
[] Have you investigated the 12L Tax Incentive for Energy Efficiency?

• Source; CAIA. Responsible Care. www.caia.co.za/responsible-care/resources

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Edmond Furter

Editor at Sheqafrica.com
Edmond Furter is the editor of Sheqafrica.com. He is a freelance technical journalist, and has won six journalism awards. He specialises in industrial, business, and cultural content in web, journal, and book formats.

One thought on “Chemicals health, safety and environment statistics

  1. To those chemical firms that acted responsibly, keep it up. To those crooked firms that belch out toxins under cover of darkness and act irresponsibly in the South Durban Basin, shame on you. You should not be members of CAIA’s Responsible Care programme.

    ==== Editor notes; Or perhaps they should be, and be subject to peer pressure.

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