Health and safety

Two tragic accidents happened at Bekaert in 2017.

Two colleagues passed away because of accidents while they were at work in Sumaré (Brazil) and Callao (Peru) respectively.

We cannot change the past, but in memory of Moacyr and Marcelo we can and we must change the future.

The management and all employees of Bekaert deeply regret the deaths of their colleagues.

Our absolute commitment to safety has been renewed, so that we can all work together to make sure that Bekaert truly becomes a no-harm-to-anyone working environment. 

BeCare: no harm to anyone @Bekaert

Our real low point in 2017 was the loss of two colleagues who passed away as a result of the fatal injuries they incurred from accidents at work. 

It is our goal to create a no-harm-to-anyone working environment at Bekaert. We commit to do whatever is necessary to eliminate accidents from our workplace. BeCare, the Bekaert global safety program, is the way to do this. It focuses on creating an interdependent safety culture, promoting strong risk awareness, removing risk tolerance, and investing in the necessary tools and equipment to create a safer working environment.

In 2017, we further rolled out the global safety excellence program that we launched in 2016. In line with a strict implementation schedule, we are putting the program into practice in all our sites worldwide. We plan for completion by 2020.

BeCare aims at creating a no-harm, risk-free work environment for all our employees and for anyone working at or visiting our premises. During an intensive training period, employees acquaint with an elaborate set of safety practices, learn to spot and deal with unsafe situations and know how to contribute to creating a caring environment. BeCare starts to change behavior in our plants and offices and in our meetings with our business partners.

The Orrville plant (Ohio, US) had a relatively weak safety performance in the past years. Upon implementing BeCare, everything changed. The plant recently celebrated 1 year without accidents that require medical service or that result in lost days. In the Lipetsk plant (Russia), our employees really took on the BeCare techniques and culture and consider it a boost to raise the already high degree of enthusiasm and engagement at the plant.   

The Van Buren plant in Arkansas (US) stepped up their safety performance in 2017: eliminating avoidable risks is an integral part of BeCare and the team invested in new equipment design as well as in highly effective safety guarding and sensors. The Bekaert Van Buren team worked closely with OSHA inspectors to implement these best practices. Our optical guarding installations have been referenced by OSHA as a model for other companies within the industry.  

A healthy workplace

Because we also attach great importance to a healthy working environment, we continued to invest in automated handling equipment and other workplace ergonomics in 2017. 

Bekaert Shandong adds state-of-the-art production hall
In June 2017, a new production hall was opened in Weihai (Shandong Province, China) as an extension to our existing tire cord facilities. The greenfield project was finalized in just half a year and incorporates the latest industry standards. A high degree of automation and other innovative solutions make the new production area a ‘factory of the future’. Regional and global engineering and automation teams worked together to achieve the highest levels of safety, automation, ergonomics, flexibility and quality.

Special attention is given throughout the company to the safe handling and storage of chemicals. A central database records all chemicals used in our plants and strict health and safety guidelines apply for our employees. 

We monitor workplace conditions such as noise, dust and temperature and are defining and implementing a roadmap to make further improvements. 

All employees and subcontractors working in the Bekaert plants worldwide wear the safety and health equipment provided to avoid the risks of injuries and health impact. This includes uniforms, dust filters, eye and ear protection, grippers and hoists to lift and handle spools in an ergonomic way.

Our investments take into account strict standards with regards to temperature conditions in the plants, dust extraction, noise, CO2 exhaust and more. 

Bekaert is implementing a program to eliminate the emissions of diesel-powered forklifts and other internal trucks in the plants: there will be no renewal of leases or purchase of diesel-powered forklifts unless if there is no alternative.  

International Health and Safety Week

In 2017 Bekaert organized its 10th International Health & Safety Week. All plants worldwide take part in this annual event. The theme for this year was “I care – You care – We BeCare” and was obviously centered around the global safety program BeCare. Bekaert plants worldwide were encouraged to share their best practices and learn from each other. 

Safety related data

Bekaert has a group-wide OHSAS 18001 certificate. In 2017, 60% of all Bekaert employees were covered by this standard. On average 10 training hours per employee were related to safety in 2017. (GRI 403-2)

Bekaert’s safety performance was not good in 2017. Despite all our efforts to put safety on top of the agenda, our safety performance deteriorated.  

Obviously we want no fatalities to occur, ever.  The tragic accidents of 2017 have been thoroughly investigated and additional corrective measures have been put in place to prevent any such accidents in the future.  

One of the actions was the renewal and worldwide re-implementation of the Bekaert internal traffic procedure. It has been updated with the most stringent safety standards for powered industrial forklift trucks and internal traffic in general. 

Bekaert has set targets for safety for the medium term (2020) and the longer term (2025). 

By 2020, we aim to reduce our TRIR to 4. We want to reduce the percentage of serious injuries to 30% of accidents, in comparison to 40% in 2017.
By 2025 we aim to reduce our TRIR to 2. We want to reduce the percentage of serious injuries to 20% of accidents, in comparison to 40% in 2017.

Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR) Bekaert Combined (1) per million worked hours
TRIR Bekaert Group 2017
(1) BBRG and joint ventures included
Total Recordable Injury Rate: all recorded accidents
(GRI 403-2)

Bekaert LTIFR Consoidated 2017
(GRI 403-2)

Bekaert Group LTIFR2017
(GRI 403-2)

Bekaert SI Consolidated 2017
(GRI 403-2)

Bekaert Group SI2017
(GRI 403-2)

In 2017 both the lost-time incident frequency rate and severity index increased, compared to 2016. The BeCare roll-out schedule takes into account the incident history of the locations so that appropriate actions are taken with a risk and priority focus.
Injury and lost days rate per region:

Group Data Per Region LTIFR(1) All LTIFR(1) Bekaert LTIFR(1) Contractor SI(2) All SI(2) Bekaert SI(2) Contractor Lost Days All Lost Days Bekaert Lost Days Contractor
EMEA 9.29 9.50 7.92 0.32 0.33 0.23 4 551 4 108 443
Latin America 5.70 6.32 2.31 0.13 0.12 0.17 1 080 855 225
Brazil (JV) 2.35 2.76 1.00 0.05 0.06 0.02 404 374 30
North America 1.75 1.92 0 0.12 0.13 0 336 336 0
Asia Pacific 1.26 1.27 1.22 0.08 0.09 0.04 2 226 1 872 354
BBRG 6.44 6.82 2.27 0.17 0.18 0.04 887 869 18

(GRI 403-2)
Injury and lost day rates per gender:

Group data by gender (own employees) Male Female
Lost days 7 855 559
LTIFR(1) 4.77 1.76
SI(2) 0.16 0.11

(1) LTIFR: Lost Time Incident Frequency Rate: number of lost time accidents (LTA) per million worked hours.
(2) SI (Severity Index): Severity Index: number of lost days due to occupational accidents per thousand worked hours.
(GRI 403-2)

Safety champions in consolidated plants

In 2017, 2 plants achieved more than 5 years without recordable safety incidents. 3 plants achieved 4 years without recordable safety incidents. 4 others achieved more than 2 years without recordable safety incidents and 19 plants were more than 1 year incident-free.

Almost 30 plants have thus proven that it is possible to make Bekaert a safe place to work. 

Health and safety committees

Our integral workforce is represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committees. They help monitor and formulate advice on occupational health and safety programs. These committees operate at all levels of the organization. (GRI 403-1)