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Umicore Occupational Health & Safety

The Umicore Way is the cornerstone of everything we do at Umicore. It defines our mission to deliver  “materials for a better life” as well as our commitment to maximizing our positive impact on the environment and society, and ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our employees. 

It is Umicore’s ambition to become and maintain a zero-harm working environment to ensure that all people working at Umicore premises can go home safely from their working day and enjoy their families and friends. Umicore’s approach to health and safety is defined is structured through two internal frameworks, the combined scope of which is described below.

The Umicore Group EHS Guidance Note describes the groupwide environmental, health and safety requirements and expectations and provides a framework for business units and sites consistent with, and explicitly referencing, the ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 management systems. This guidance spans the full range of EHS topics including Occupational Health and Safety. The Umicore Group Safety Policy provides a framework for business units to develop and implement safety programs needed to achieve and maintain excellence in safety performance. The Policy is guided by universal core safety principles that can be translated by each business unit to their specific environment and take actions according to their specific risks. 

Together, and in line with Umicore’s decentralized organization, these internal frameworks ensure that: 

  • Business units and sites are responsible for translating the EHS Guidance Note into their own EHS management systems and procedures while respecting the requirements and expectations defined in the EHS Guidance Note.
  • Each business unit and site is expected to develop a safety policy in line with the Group Safety Policy. The health and safety management system must ensure that employees, contractors and visitors are protected against harmful effects of working with, or being exposed to chemicals, processes or machinery. The system includes: workplace assessments of potential hazards; operating procedures for employees and contractors; training programs on the hazards of chemicals, processes, and on prevention and safety; hazard communication for employees and contractors related to exposure potentials, control systems, emergency situations and specific health risks ; the need for personal protective equipment; ergonomics; storage, loading and unloading of hazardous products; machine-guarding programs to protect workers from exposure to moving parts; electrical safety; work permits and a lock out – tag out programs to protect employees or contractors working around equipment during repair or maintenance activities; etc.
  • Umicore’s business units and sites are responsible for identifying risks and impacts of their activities, in normal operational conditions and potential emergencies. These assessments include potential for occupationally-linked health symptoms and diseases, hazards, injuries due to accidents, and toxicity or ecotoxicity of chemical substances. Each site is expected to have a process in place to evaluate and document those aspects and impacts of their operations which are linked to both the workplace and the environment, including the operations of contractors working on Umicore sites.
  • Each Umicore site is expected to have a risk competency practice in place designed to empower workers to evaluate the hazards and risk at the workplace and feedback to their supervisor. Workers, in coordination with the supervisor, can suggest risk management options which can include stopping a job, having it re-evaluated and adding new measures prior to resuming the job if necessary.
  • All sites must have written occupational hygiene and occupational health programs. Sites are encouraged to implement specific preventative programs, for example around smoking cessation or avoiding workplace risks resulting from the use of drugs or alcohol, and must provide access to occupational health services via a licensed occupational physician or another occupational health organization.
  • All new employees follow a Group health and safety induction training during the initial phase of their employment. Specific training plans are developed for new and temporary employees (including managers and contractor employees).
  • Each accident, incident and significant near miss must be reported, investigated and control measures taken to prevent reoccurrence. Additionally, the investigation needs to include where and why the EHS management system failed and to record recommended appropriate measures. Contractors are required to investigate accidents and incidents on Umicore premises, where these have not been addressed by the Umicore site management. The Group Safety Policy includes an incident investigation in a ‘no-blame atmosphere’.

This policy is applicable to all consolidated Umicore facilities and employees engaged in work activities on Umicore properties, equipment, machinery or processes. The Safety Policy is applicable to Umicore staff and all people that work on Umicore premises. Umicore Corporate EHS staff, in consultation with the business units and sites, advises on company-specific EHS standards including biological target values, safety and occupational exposure targets.

The EHS Guidance Note is a basis for the Corporate EHS audit program which focuses both on compliance with the guidance note and compliance with relevant local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations. The business units and sites are expected to develop a clear action plan on the identified areas for improvement and Corporate EHS follows-up on this action plan to ensure proper progress and timely completion.

Umicore invites all stakeholders to report concerns or complaints about Umicore’s business approach, or that of its suppliers, using our Grievance contact form. ​Such complaints can be made anonymously.