Posted on: October 28, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Operators report chemicals statistics, and their occupational death, injury, illness and enviro incidents in the Responsible Care (RC) SA 2011 Performance Report.

SA chemicals sector fatal occupational injuries in 2010 were 14, with 9 fatalities among employees and five among contractors. Three deaths were chemicals related, five from drowning during a year end teambuilding event, three transport incident deaths, one fall from a scaffold, one conveyor belt accident, and one security guard fell from a horse and died of injuries later.

Deaths from road transport incidents in 2010 are reported to have ‘significantly decreased since 2009 when ten fatalities were transport related’, however some operators who are increasingly using road transport, report a rising trend in transport incidents, reports SHEQafrica.com.

Having reached a low level plateau, SA chemicals sector occupational deaths remain more or less constant, with sporadic increases or decreases due to major incidents, but small numbers and short terms should not be applied to racking of trends in injury statistics or causes, comments SHEQafrica.com.

SA chemicals deaths from 2006 to 2010 per year, total 5, 7, 4, 16, 14 respectively. The apparent step change in 2090 may be due to reporting regimes regarding contractors, types and sites of fatalities, and should not be used to inform safety trends.

SA chemicals reportable injuries (see definition below) for 2010 stand at 0.7 for employees, and 0.49 for contractors, relatively constant for the last three years. International rportable injury incident rates used to be above local SA rates, but the figures are now similar, due to gradual decline in international figures from around 1.1 to 0.8, and a rise in local injury rates, that may be due to reporting regimes, to around 0.7 for the last two years.

Rising fatalities resulting from chemical handling is of great concern to employers and labour unions, two of which commented at the RC report 2011 launch in Auckland Park, Johannesburg. RC represents 90% by volume of SA chemicals operators, typically excluding a number of small companies, notably in the chemicals transport sector.

Reportable injuries for SA chemical employees, contractors, and international chemicals statistics, show a local decrease in reportable injury incident rate (RIIR) for contractors in 2010, but “more work is required to ensure that the rate for employees also decreases”.

Chemicals ‘reportable injury’ definition

Increase in the figures from 2008 to 2009 is attributable to a change in reporting from “disabling injuries” to “reportable injuries”, in line with ICCA reporting. An error in the number of hours worked in 2009 for employees and contractors is rectified in the 2011 report and the reportable injury rate and occupational illness incident rate for 2009 have been adjusted upwards to account for this error.

In the chemicals industry, reportable injuries are those resulting in an occupation illness or injury that arises from the employees normal course of duty and the execution of work related responsibilities and which, as a result, requires more than first-aid treatment.

A reportable injury incident rate is the number of reportable injuries for every 200 000 hours worked in line with international practice. This metric is in line with global chemicals sector practice.

Some sheq managers have asked RC to include injury in terms of the general lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) to enable comparison and comprehension in other industries, and this would be added to the RC SA 2012 report.

Chem transport safety better managed

The RC 2011 SA report notes that generally reducing road incident losses “could be attributed to greater emphasis on driver management and ensuring that transporters of hazardous chemicals have been audited against the South African Safety and Quality Assessment System (SA SQAS) requirements”.

SA chemicals transport incident rates stand at 0.19 in house, and 0.41 for haulier contractors.

In 2003 CAIA directed that chemical companies using road hauliers to transport hazardous chemicals should ensure that hauliers comply with the requirements of the SA SQAS. This system, developed by CEFIC for the European Union and modified to suit South African conditions and legislation, has been assessed by CAIA to be acceptable as Responsible Care verification for hauliers members in South Africa.

Chem transport loss figures

Incident rates per 100 000 tonnes transported by road, rail or pipeline in 2010, show improved performance for companies using their own vehicle fleets.

Transport incidents are defined as;
* spillage, leakage or other escape of products or wastes being transported from a factory or depot to a primary customer or disposal site
* raw materials, process chemicals or catalysts being transported from a point of ownership to arrival at the factory
* above 200kg of hazardous, or 1 tonne non hazardous material
* causing public disruption, not involving chemical release but causing public disruption due to danger, or perceived danger, of chemical release
* resulting in evacuation of public, road closure, restriction of public activity or other significant precautionary measures having to be taken.
* attendance of local Emergency Services
* attracting adverse local or national media attention on environmental, health or safety grounds.

By far the biggest contributor to transportation incidents is road, as opposed to rail and pipeline (129 incidents for road, none for rail and one for pipeline in 2010).

Driver error has been identified as a major contributor to road transport incidents. This is being addressed by chemical companies via better driver management that includes appropriate wellness and behavioural based safety programs for such employees.

At the end of 2010, 100 hauliers had been SA SQAS audited, of which 89 attained preferred supplier status (meeting 90% of the criteria) and eleven provisional supplier status (meeting 60% of the criteria). Twenty eight hauliers were signatories to Responsible Care.

“Some small transporters carry hazardous goods at night”, said RC officials. “We have trained traffic offers in 2009 and 2010 on hazchem roadworthiness, signage, documentation and emergency equipment. We caution operators to use preferred hauliers as listed, and we are investigating a case of a preferred haulier having used unroadworthy vehicles and procedures.

“All business sectors should move away from rent a truck and rent a driver services, to operating their own fleets, or contracting preferred hauliers.”

SA toll road N3 concession officer Gideon Cloete said that clearing of 10 400 truck tyres and 6000 bags of rubble, mainly alcohol drink bottles and fast food packaging along the highway, tells its own story about general transport practice.

Chem storage incidents rising

SA chemicals materials handling incident rates in 2010 reached 1.85 in house, and 0.46 for contractors. Reported storage incidents indicate a “deteriorating performance for RC member companies, and a much lower incident rate by contractor companies”, notes the SA RC 2011 report.

“A number of larger companies are reporting an increased number of incidents. Reasons for increase will be evaluated prior to the new round of QIPs for 2012.”

Chemicals releases are incidents involving spillage, leakage or other escape of products, raw materials or wastes being stored in any premises, contracted bulk storage or warehouse (over 200 kg hazardous or 1 ton non-hazardous). The incident rate is the number of incidents per 100 000 tonnes stored.

Chem occupational illness rate constant

SA chemicals occupational disease incident rates in 2010 were 0.03 for employees, and 0.01 for contractors, that may be due in part to staff turnover among contractors.

Chemicals sector occupational diseases are defined in terms of Schedule 3 of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993. Occupational illness incident rate is the number of illnesses reported per every 200 000 hours worked.

Reported occupational Illness Incident rates for employees had remained constant during the past four years, while the rate for contractors increased in 2010. It is expected that signatories ensure that their contractors are managed like employees.

Petrochem greenhouse gases lower

SA chemicals greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 was 0.12 tonnes of CO2 qeuivalent per tone of production, down from a recorded high of 0.17 in 2007.

The RC SA 2011 report follows an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) guideline method of calculating greenhouse gases resulting from specific plant processes, to prepare operators for mandatory reporting expected to be introduced by 2014.

Percentage of sites reporting on effluent, air emissions, energy and water usage, and hazardous waste generated is recorded. A number of Responsible Care signatory companies have water, energy and resource conservation programmes in place.

CAIA is a signatory to the Energy Efficiency Accord and has been collecting energy consumption data from Responsible Care signatories since 2003. The energy intensity of production based on electricity use has reduced significantly since data began to be collected and energy efficiency has improved by 25%.

Emissions of greenhouse gases per tonnes of production are reported by specific equivalence factors. Non-carbon dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming are converted to carbon dioxide equivalents.

A tonne of nitrous oxide is equivalent in its global warming potential to the release of 310 tonnes of carbon dioxide. In 2010 only 0.001% of greenhouse gas emissions from member companies were nitrous oxide emissions. These emissions are composed of emissions from chemical production only and exclude those from synthetic fuel production.

In 2010 CAIA moved to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Guideline method of calculating greenhouse gases resulting from specific plant processes. Government has indicated that they will require of companies that operate such processes to report on their Greenhouse Gas emissions based on the IPCC methodology in the future.

SA chemicals SO2, CO, NOx, COD

Other reported air emissions arising from chemical production that do not lead to global warming, are sulphur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). These in SA chemicals sector in 2010 stand at;
• SO2333 tonnes per millon tonne of production
• CO 4 tonnes per million tonne of production
• NOx 54 tonnes per million tonne of production

Recorded highs for non greenhouse gases emission in SA chemicals production are SO2 at 470 in 2006, CO at 159 in 2006, NOx at 159 in 2006.

Chemicals COD down

Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) of an effluent provides an indication of organic load discharged in liquid effluent into municipal sewers, rivers, dams and the ocean. Tonnes of COD per 1000 tonnes of production in SA chemicals production in 2010 stand at 0.12, against a recorded high of 1.8 in 2007.

One former RC member with significant discharge to ocean, was taken over by an international company, ceased reporting, and resigned from CAIA and RC, and this event may account for a step change in reported enviro impact.

Chem water usage lower

Water usage continues to decline due to cleaner production processes, and recycling of used water. Water usage by source (municipal, surface and ground) are reported. Municipal water is the primary source of water for production purposes.

SA chemicals water usage for 2010 stands at 1.76 Kl per tones of production, atanst a recorded high of 2.6 Kl in 2006.

Chemicals waste lower

SA chemicals production waste has significantly decreased in 2010 to 1299 000 tonnes, from a recorded high or 2191 000 tonnes in 2009, but hazardous waste generation is relatively constant at 357 000 tonnes per year.

Chem community awareness and emergency response

Chemicals sites reporting on various Community Awareness and Emergency Response (CAER) initiatives remain high. The SA National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) Waste Act promulgated in 2009 requires recording of waste management programmes.

RC views data on CAER issues, including waste management programmes, as proactive indicatonrs of future performance. However, the report merely indicates the presence or absence of certain programmes, and not the scope or quality or these programmes, that may range from tickbox exercises to integrated and mature management systems.

Product stewardship, for example, (see data below), is reported on the basis of yes or no responses.

Chemicals product stewardship

CAIA had published two Guidance Documents to assist members in implementation of Responsible Care management practice standards for product stewardship. The RC Performance Report includes industry perception of their performance against 10 new product stewardship related questions.

Responsible Care signitories in South Africa report rising efforts in enviro and social impact management;
• 55% operate community advisory committees
• 94% have and established complaints procedure
• 98% have developed and emergency response plan
• 75% run a waste management programme

Responses of RC signatories to 10 new product stewardship questions are reported. Product stewardship requirements apply to 96 RC SA signitories, and these supplied responses to Indicators of Performance. Responses reflect progress with implementation of a Global Product Strategy and a product stewardship management system, according to the RC guide numbering;

14.1 Management support and commitment to the company’s Product Stewardship programme demonstrated by its explicit inclusion in the company’s policies, strategy, objectives and targets? 88 yes, 8 no.

14.2 Is responsibility for Product Stewardship explicitly included in the KPIs of business units and individuals as appropriate? 78yes, 18 no.

14.3 Has a list of hazardous substances that the company produces and uses been developed? 89yes, 7 no.

14.4 Are material safety data sheets (MSDS) for all hazardous substances that are produced and sold developed and provided with the product? 92yes, 4 no.

14.5 Are MSDSs made available to stakeholders on request? 94 yes, 2 no.

14.6 Indicate the status of your company’s implementation of the new Responsible Care Product Stewardship Guideline Documents launched in 2010? None 38. Partial 44. Fully 14.

14.7 Has the company set specific long and short term Product Stewardship objectives and targets? 50 yes, 46 no.

14.8 T he company’s Product Stewardship goals, targets and achievements are specifically communicated to employees and contractors regularly? 48 yes, 48 no.

14.9 T he various levels of management are regularly informed of and discuss the progress with the company’s product stewardship goals and targets? 50 yes, 46 no.

14.10 T he company’s management system standards cover the company’s product stewardship requirements? 57 yes, 39 no.

Allocation of product stewardship responsibility as well as availability of material Safety Data Sheets are in place. In four cases, legal requirements are not met. More work is required to ensure that product stewardship is effectively integrated into employer management systems and that company product stewardship goals and targets are formulated and communicated, notes the RC 2011 SA report.

Some occupational hygienists have warned chemicals operators that the mere existence of MSDSs was no guarantee that the data was relevant, correct, understood, available, or used to prevent OH exposure or to guide emergency planning or response.

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