Safety – our number one priority

Zero accidents is the ultimate target for Outotec’s work on occupational health and safety, as well as product safety. Our lost-time injury rate improved in 2016.

Safety has been spotlighted as the most material theme for Outotec, partly as a result of deeper stakeholder dialogue, and partly because our top management saw a need to improve our safety performance and culture.

Outotec’s management remains committed to continuously enhance safety performance throughout the company’s operations. We enable all employees and subcontractors working under our responsibility to work safely, by providing the necessary procedures, instructions, training and personal protective equipment.

Our reporting on health and safety covers Outotec’s premises and employees, contractors working under our supervision, and Outotec’s project sites. It also encompasses Outotec products and services, with regard to compliance issues and incidents over their entire lifetime. We primarily measure our safety performance through the lost-time injury rate (LTIR), while also collecting data on near misses and hazards. Our LTIR in 2016 was 1.8 (2015: 2.8) (G4-LA6, see also Social data). This significant improvement was achieved mainly thanks to active safety training, intensified risk management for high-risk work, and the wider identification and elimination of unsafe conditions and procedures.

In 2016 we created a new lost-time incident management system, which documents incident investigations and the actions required to remove the root causes of the incidents. The new system makes it easy to follow up corrective actions. It already operates in combination with a company-level feedback management system, and further complementary measures will be realized during 2017.

Outotec’s certified, globally harmonized quality, environment, health and safety (QEHS) management system covers our 40 main locations (38). It includes procedures, work instructions and form templates to be used throughout our global business processes. Key elements in our QEHS management system include:

  • compliance with legislation
  • identifying and minimizing health and safety risks
  • preventing incidents
  • recording and investigating incidents
  • personnel training
  • continuous improvement of our QEHS performance

 A global QEHS committee including members from the top management was established in 2015, but it did not convene in 2016, due to various organizational and management changes. Instead, targets and development agenda were defined by our global QEHS team. It has been decided that a new Global Health & Safety committee will be established in 2017.

Our local health and safety committees monitor actions, collect feedback, and discuss health and safety issues in their respective locations or projects. Our entire workforce (100%) is duly represented in these committees (G4-LA5).

During 2016, Outotec internally audited safety practices at our permanent units and main site activities. Safety performance was found to be generally at a good level. Safety systems at construction sites duly follow best international practices.

External audits were successfully conducted in 2016 by TÜV Rheinland Cert GmbH at our locations in Espoo, Lappeenranta, Pori, Turku, Suzhou, Cologne, Oberursel and Frankfurt, and at our construction sites in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The relevant documentation on all of our certified locations was also audited.

The certificates can be found under here.

Safety in field operations

Hydro Alunorte recognized Outotec for achieving 1.3 million hours with zero accidents in the company’s Red Mud Filtration Project in Brazil.

The safety of our employees and contractors is an important aspect of Outotec’s field operations at customers’ sites. Our project managers are responsible for the site activities of Outotec and our sub-contractors, including the management of environmental issues, safety, systematic practices, and cleanliness.

Outotec’s specialists also follow our customers’ own safety regulations when working on site. The greatest safety risks arise in countries where awareness of safe working practices is low, and occupational safety culture is underdeveloped. In such countries our employees are instructed to additionally follow Outotec’s own safety principles.

Outotec has a good track record of QEHS performance in large customer projects, and the company has received several safety-related awards from customers.

Employees working on site operations are trained regularly in health and safety matters, the use of protective equipment, hazard identification, risk assessment and required control actions.

Outotec’s employees often travel in high-risk countries. In 2016, 175 Outotec employees or persons working under our supervision traveled in countries with high medical or security risks (G4-LA7). Outotec has a medical and security services agreement with the global service provider International SOS. This 24/7 service covers all Outotec employees and service providers for emergencies occurring during business trips. Through the related Medical Alerts and Travel Security Online service our employees can find information about endemic diseases and other health, safety and security issues, as well as country-specific risk ratings. Before any trip, employees should check risk levels and find out what actions may be needed to reduce security and health risks.

Product safety

Outotec’s mandatory Product Compliance Management process ensures that all products engineered and delivered by the company meet all applicable safety standards during each phase of their life-cycle. 

Outotec has a Product Compliance Management process in place to make sure that the products and services designed and supplied by the company worldwide reliably meet all applicable safety standards during all phases of the product life-cycle. We follow negative impacts and incidents through our QEHS management system and product compliance management system, as well as through customer feedback collected after each major delivery and in customer surveys.

Compliance with legal requirements is the prime concern in Outotec’s product compliance management work. We maintain an extensive database of product compliance procedures and documents used during business processes, including the development, sales and delivery of our products and services.

Outotec’s products include equipment, processes, entire plants and services. Equipment and services delivered by Outotec fulfill safety-related industrial standards such as:

  • ISO 12100 and IEC 62061 for the safety of machinery
  • All safety-related industrial standards applicable where they are utilized
  • Procedures for detecting hazards such as explosion, fire, and lightning, and related IEC 61882 HAZOP studies
  • SIL Allocation Assessments (mandatory at Outotec)
  • The SafExpert risk assessment tool, which ensures that equipment designed by Outotec fulfills all relevant safety standards.

We provide relevant information to our customers about the impacts of our products and services, including their energy consumption, emissions, metal recovery rates, and water usage, as well as safety information provided according to industry standards.

Safety issues form an integral part of our operational manuals for industrial processes. Outotec manuals cover the entire life-cycles of the products delivered, in line with the IEC 82079-1 standard. This means they contain information on transport, installation, operation, maintenance and decommissioning. In addition, we offer our customers maintenance services as part of a wider package. We also routinely provide safety training for our customers as part of our product training services.

The majority of our offices already use harmonized product compliance management procedures. Our target for 2016 was to take such procedures into use globally.  We continued to replace existing local procedures with harmonized ones (G4-PR1), but we did not fully achieve our target. In 2017, we plan to review and simplify our harmonized product compliance management procedures, and implement the new procedures globally.

Outotec has not identified any significant negative impacts of its products on employees’ or suppliers’ health and safety (G4-PR2) or local communities. No fines were imposed in relation to non-compliance with laws and regulations regarding the use of Outotec products in 2016.

However, the possibility remains that information on indirect negative impacts occurring after the completion of any project delivery may not have been disclosed to Outotec by customers or local communities.

Our policies

Outotec’s occupational health and safety principles are defined in these company-wide policies: