Sika's Strong Commitment to Health and Safety
Sika puts safety first. Working safely is not only a program but a way of getting things done. Providing a healthy and safe work environment for employees, monitoring Health & Safety standards of suppliers, and ensuring safe use of products by customers are key elements in Sika’s worldwide success. The target 2023 is to reduce the rate of lost time accidents by at least 50% (baseline 2019) and to have no fatalities. In 2021, no work-related fatalities of Sika employees and contractors occurred. The number of lost time accidents increased compared to 2020 (+11.3%), leading to a higher Lost Time Accident (LTA) rate per 1,000 FTEs (+9.5%). Ten occupational illnesses have occurred for Sika employees, a decrease compared to 2020, as reflected in the OIFR development (-39.2%).
Sika continued to make the health and safety of employees a top priority during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The three principles defined at the onset of the pandemic, ensure employee safety, prevent the spread of the virus, and ensure business continuity, continued to guide the actions of the Group in 2021. Sika continued to act in accordance with all local government requirements and public health measures, as well as implementing voluntary travel, safety, and hygiene measures. Task force teams were maintained to closely follow the situation and local regulations, and to inform employees.
Operational business activities, including production, were able to be maintained at a high level to continue supplying customers. This was supported by extensive protection concepts introduced at production sites and labs worldwide. Support functions and sales teams switched to work from home whenever the epidemiological situation required. Sika continued to provide support and best practices for people working at home.
Responsibilities and Management Systems
The health, safety, and wellbeing of all Sika employees, suppliers and contractors is of paramount importance for Sika. Labor practices and safe working conditions for Sika’s operations are the responsibility of regional management, which reports to the CEO. At local level, the General Manager, the Operations Manager, and the line organization are responsible for helping Sika’s occupational health and safety targets to be met, and for setting and achieving local targets accordingly.
In 2021, Sika has further strengthened the global, regional and area EHS structure by taking an integrated approach to Quality and EHS, the supporting management systems, and through building a stronger network of global, regional, and local EHS professionals. Sika will continue to develop and improve its occupational health and safety programs with further attention given to safe conduct, employee participation in safety programs, and a focus on prevention.
Sika maintains and implements a Corporate EHS Management System which applies to all Sika locations and employees and fulfils the requirements of the ISO 45001:2018 “Occupational Health and Safety Management System” and of the ISO 9001: 2015 “Quality Management System”. Local Sika companies implement their local Sika Management Systems based on the Corporate Management System and local regulatory and legal requirements. Newly acquired companies are integrated under the Corporate Management System as part of the integration approach.
In 2021, among 569 Sika sites under ISO scope, 26% are certified according to ISO 45001:2018; and 61% are certified according to ISO 9001:2015.
Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment, and Incident Investigation
Sika considers the principle of hazard identification to be the basis of safe work and therefore applies the STOP principle (Substitution, Technical measures, Organizational measures, Personal protective measures) on all risk and incident investigations. Sika companies are required to regularly assess hazards and analyze risks within their premises and operations, and to define and implement corrective and mitigating measures accordingly. Each Sika site carries out adequate periodic risk assessment within the workplace. These are led by EHS professionals and serve to give a comprehensive and valid judgment regarding the protection level of occupational health and safety.
Risk analyses are reviewed when new information becomes available, e.g., new legal requirements, changes to systems, equipment, or raw material etc., incidents/accidents/near misses.It is the responsibility of all employees to ensure that all accidents or incidents, as well as near misses, are promptly reported to line management to ensure timely investigation and corrective action. All incidents that happen within Sika entities and premises and that involve Sika employees as well as contractors and visitors are included in the scope.
To ensure prompt awareness of management, incidents with high or potentially high severity (including all accidents resulting in lost time) are reported immediately through a central notification system. Investigation and root cause analysis are significant drivers of continuous improvement in Sika Health & Safety performance. It is ensured that each incident is investigated, that a root causes analysis is performed, and that lessons learned are shared across the business for assessment and implementation of risk mitigation measures.Local companies report on Health & Safety Indicators monthly to the Group Management. Monthly review meetings are organized at regional level with Global EHS to follow-up on the safety results and adjust the management approach accordingly. In addition, safety performance is reviewed at each Group Management meeting.
Trainings on Health and Safety
Occupational health and safety trainings are organized at various levels withing the company for Sika employees and external workers:
- All new employees receive an induction safety training that is embedded in Sika introductory program, focusing on safety policies, guidelines, and procedures. Regular refresher training sessions on health & safety are also performed.
- For contract workers, both the contracted party and Sika must be fully aware of and prepared for potential hazards. Contractors need to demonstrate a clear understanding of the task being performed and have a system to understand and control the risks in place. Training needs assessment, content and effectiveness are completed at local level under EHS manager, HR, and General Manager responsibilities. The same safety rules and trainings apply to contractors as for employees.
Apart from the mandatory health & safety induction training sessions, local management teams are responsible for setting up and deploying specific additional health & safety trainings.
Products Health and Safety
Sika is committed to continuously improving the safety and environmental sustainability of its products and operations, by working internally on procedures, informing and educating product users through safety data and worker protection requirements, reducing hazardous chemicals, solvents, volatiles, reactive components wherever possible, and using devices for safe, contact-free application. In 2021, all entities of Sika Group were compliant with applicable regulations and did not report any significant incident concerning the health & safety impact of products.
Sika aims to eliminate substances hazardous to health or the environment from products and production processes wherever possible. For this purpose, the company has established the “Sika Banned Substances” system for assessing and treating substances with an elevated hazard potential. This internal system is complementary to local legal requirements, emphasizing Sika’s uncompromising commitment to quality and sustainability.