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Driving Sustainable Futures

July 12, 2021

Building the Foundation for a Positive Safety Culture Year Round

By Jos van den Brink, Global EH&S Director

Safety is a familiar concept to all of us. At Trinseo, it's foundational to our culture.

Superior safety performance is good for business, people, and the environment. Striving for zero injuries and environmental spills keeps us accountable and competitive and has lasting positive effects across the organization.

Our management system has its roots in Responsible Care® standard for rigorous investigation, corrective action, and continuous improvement. This comprehensive set of policies has placed our safety performance in the top tier of companies in the chemical industry. Our commitment to safety receives an extra boost in the summer months, as we know that most industries see an increase in workplace accidents due to a number of factors.

Addressing Common Workplace Hazards

Safety is embedded into everything we do at Trinseo. Through extensive compliance and workplace training, our employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe and mitigate risks. Our manufacturing teams kick off each day with a safety meeting to discuss tasks, identify risks, and review processes. Production workers are visited several times throughout the day by a team lead to ensure everything is going according to plan. If plans go awry, someone is there to assist, troubleshoot, and adjust.

We have similar protocols in place for our office workers, as they too are susceptible to injuries. Our Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) technicians monitor office ergonomics and conduct safety drills to help minimize incidents. As we are constantly seeking ways to improve our safety performance, employees are encouraged to provide feedback on procedures and identify opportunities for growth.

Behavioral-Based Approach to Safety

We expanded on our commitment to safety with the launch of our behavioral-based program in 2017 called "Safety on Purpose." The premise of the program is to create conversations around safety, identify challenges, and effectively address them through positive action and reinforcement. Looking at workplace incidents, many accidents involve a behavioral factor. Through Safety on Purpose, we can better understand workplace behavior and remove the reasons for bad habits before they cause a problem.

Promoting a Safe Summer

Accidents can happen at any time, but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workplace incidents most frequently occur during the summer months. Heat is a leading cause of summer incidents as high temperatures can result in dehydration, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke. Another cause of summer incidents is reduced staffing as many employees take vacations in the summer. Absences often mean increased workloads for others, which can cause stress, exhaustion, and possibly an accident. To help address these issues, we launched a Safe Summer campaign that includes weekly updates and advice on how to stay safe and prevent seasonal injuries.

One thing I always keep in mind in approaching EH&S is that the foundation of any safety system is people. Provide your employees with the proper training and support they need to be successful. And remember, mistakes can happen. Use each incident as a teachable moment to prevent it from being repeated, or from becoming more severe.

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