Occupational Safety and Health
Approach to Occupational Safety and Health
Epson believes that providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment and promoting physical and mental wellness are the foundation of a healthy company. Accordingly, we have instituted occupational safety and health programs around the world so that Epson's employees and partners can enjoy working as a team in the knowledge that they are safe and secure.
The core component of this effort is the New Epson Safety & Health Program (NESP), established in FY2000. Covering safety, health, fire/disaster prevention, and facilities, this original Epson program is based on an occupational safety and health management system (OSHMS) that conforms to International Labour Organization (ILO) guidelines. Since that program came into effect, we have enforced the Basic NESP Policy and manage our workplaces with the idea that every workplace is responsible for maintaining its own safety.
Epson amended the Management Philosophy earlier this year to reflect our commitment to making Epson an indispensable company and the world a better place. As part of these efforts, we ensure that all legal, regulatory, and internal requirements are observed at all sites around the world. We also endeavor to provide safe, secure, healthy workplaces to maintain and promote the mental and physical wellbeing of our people. Understanding that safety, security, and health are lifelines of the company, we are working together under the leadership of management to eliminate occupational accidents, injuries, and illnesses and to continuously meet the needs of our customers.
Managing Executive Officer
Production Planning Division General Administrative Manager
and Overall Safety and Health Controller
The frequency and severity of occupational accidents in the Epson Group are far lower than those of the national average. However, Epson did experience a serious occupational accident in FY2018 involving a dust explosion in which an employee suffered burns. In response, Epson conducted safety checks and implemented additional safety measures in all operations where dusts and powders are used in the global Epson Group.
Occupational Safety and Health Initiatives
Global Sharing of Information on Safety and Health
Epson seeks to improve its safety and health programs around the world by holding regular meetings at our production sites in Japan and overseas to share information and discuss issues at different management echelons.
At the executive management level, the chief operating officers and presidents of Epson companies and sites in Japan and overseas separately gather twice a year for meetings of the General Safety and Health Controllers Committee to update one another about actions being taken and discuss issues to identify opportunities for improvement.
At the operational level, managers and health and safety personnel also meet regularly to share information. In Japan, they meet every other month to discuss important topics and issues. Overseas, in China and Southeast Asia, representatives from each manufacturing affiliate meet regularly to get on the same page with respect to shared issues, discuss key actions to ensure compliance with applicable local legal and regulatory requirements, and drive improvement.
Raising Employee Awareness with Accident Reports
Epson analyzes all occupational injuries and accidents in the Epson Group, identifies causes, and makes plans for preventing similar incidents. Occupational accidents are reported in the form of Safety News bulletins that describe accident causes, countermeasures, and actions that all sites are to take to prevent similar accidents in the future. These reports are placed on the intranet and discussed with employees.
Professional Development through Safety and Health Training
Epson considers safety and health training vital for protecting employees. The training curriculum is tailored to the position, roles, and responsibilities of employees. Training for non-management employees focuses on practical techniques such as risk assessment and hazard prediction. Training for managers and supervisors focuses on leadership. All Group companies use the same training curriculum.
In the 2018 fiscal year, we offered an online safety and health course that was taken by 17,692 employees (98.3% of the workforce). We also planned and implemented a basic education course for managers and supervisors overseas. The course was taken by 100% of managers and supervisors in the Greater China Region (580 people) and by 59% in the Southeast Asia territory (599 people). In FY2019, we will provide training to all eligible people, including new managers and supervisors, with a goal of a 100% course completion rate.
Managing Mental and Physical Health
Epson promotes employee health under the New Epson Safety and Health Program (NESP) by, among other things, fostering a vibrant organizational climate and monitoring employee health to increase well-being and corporate value.
At a meeting of the General Safety and Health Controllers Committee, the executive management team discusses mid-term measures and policies for systematically and continuously preventing occupational illnesses and promoting health based on the Basic NESP Policy. Once the measures and policies have been approved by the director in charge of health management, they are announced to and implemented by all domestic Epson Group companies.
In Japan, we have instituted a mid-term health plan every five years since FY2001. The current plan, Health Action 2020, was instituted in April 2016. Under Health Action 2020, we are emphasizing safety and improving the working environment while fostering employee and workplace independence and autonomy. We are carrying out initiatives that address health in three priority areas: workplace, physical, and mental. The results of actions are reviewed every year and tied to further continuous improvements.
Outside Japan, we are working continuously to improve employee health in ways that fit the situation at each company. Occupational health and safety laws vary by country and region, so each overseas affiliate manages employee health based on local law.
Recognized for Health Management Excellence for the Third Consecutive Year
In February 2019, Seiko Epson was recognized for the third consecutive year under the Certified Health and Productivity Management Organization Recognition Program (White 500), in the large enterprise category. Now in its third year, the program, which is jointly administered by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) and the Nippon Kenko Kaigi, honors enterprises who work with insurers to promote good health and productivity.
To earn certification, a company is evaluated on the basis of 23 sets of criteria, such as whether it works with a health insurer, whether an occupational physician and/or public health nurse are involved in planning ways to promote good health and wellbeing, whether it sets concrete targets or plans for promoting health and preventing overwork, and whether it has taken action to protect employees from passive smoking hazards. Epson satisfied all the criteria. In a questionnaire used for certification, Epson earned particularly high marks for things such as the involvement of executive management, scheme building, measures specifically targeting at-risk individuals, and the verification and improvement of measures effectiveness.
Mental Health Initiatives
Seiko Epson and its group companies in Japan cite mental health as a key area and have introduced initiatives that are focused on prevention and on fostering strong personal relationships in a vibrant workplace culture.
We have offered ongoing mental health training since 2000. We give group training for new employees, mid-level employees, and others in senior staff and management positions. Certain online courses have been designed for all employees. Also, employees gather together to read out loud from a mental health textbook. One example of training is “Around 35: Mental Health for the Prime of Your Career.” This course is for employees who are around 35, an age at which their role in the company tends to change and when there are often important changes in their personal lives. The course helps them to better understand themselves, deal with stress, and maintain their own personal mental health. Between the 2012 and 2018 fiscal years, 2,175 employees have taken this course, which has been run a total of 181 times.
Our business sites have health management offices, where medical professionals (occupational physicians, nurses, and clinical psychologists) offer employees advice on mental and physical health issues. Industrial counselors are on duty in our employee counseling offices. They provide all types of advice as well as career counseling to help employees achieve self-realization and chart their careers.
Since 2004, all employees undergo an occupational stress evaluation when they take their annual physical examination. Medical professionals and industrial counselors follow up with employees found to be highly stressed. The primary purpose is to help employees manage their stress. This evaluation facilitates early detection and early treatment of mental health issues.
Since December 2015, Japan’s Industrial Safety and Health Act has required certain employers to offer stress checks to employees. In response, we revised the content of our evaluation to meet the new legal requirements and enacted a Group standard for the stress check system, which is overseen by the safety and health committees of domestic Group companies and sites. We have conducted stress checks in line with this standard since 2016 and, since 2017, have provided a stress analysis report to each department and supported efforts to improve the workplace environment.
Employees whose mental health troubles have caused them to take time off from their jobs can benefit from our back-to-work program. Since FY2007, the program has helped smooth the transition back to the workplace and avoid recurring troubles. Depending on their situation, employees may meet with medical professionals and industrial counselors, working with them as a team to plot their approach. Moreover, the employee's primary care physician, workplace manager, and human resources department work together closely to provide better support. In FY2016 we updated the back-to-work program and extended the maximum length of leaves of absence due to personal injury or illness from 18 months to 30 months so that employees can focus on recovery and recuperation.
Providing a Clean, Smoke-Free Work Environment
We have been stepping up actions to protect employees from harm caused by both active and passive smoking. In 2016, we began to gradually reduce the number of smoking areas at our sites in Japan and to move them outdoors. Furthermore, in April 2018, we banned smoking during working hours, except for during the lunch break.
We have also been helping employees to quit smoking by drawing their attention to associated risks on World No Tobacco Day, offering professional counseling, and fully subsidizing the cost of treatment at a smoking cessation outpatient clinic. The additional actions we have taken since FY2016 have accelerated the rate at which employees in the domestic Epson Group have quit smoking. Whereas the percentage of smokers declined by 2.6% over the five years from FY2011, it has declined by 3.2% since FY2016. In FY2018, the percentage of smokers dropped to 22.4%. Epson is prepared to implement additional measures to promote a smoke- and odor-free work environment.
Emerging Infectious Diseases Prevention
Epson considers infectious diseases to be a serious business risk. To eliminate infectious disease-related plant closures, we have been taking action since 2009 to ensure that our people are alert to infectious diseases and that they practice measures to prevent their spread in the workplace. In 2017, we stepped up our inspection and improvement programs at our overseas manufacturing companies to prevent the spread of infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).
Epson Group companies around the world maintain their own business continuity plans (BCP) to control risks associated with emerging infectious diseases. These BCP are tailored to their specific needs and serve not only to protect their employees but to minimize harm and ensure the continuity of business operations.
Seiko Epson provides first aid training in Group companies in Japan to prepare personnel to provide effective first aid and care in a medical emergency involving cardiopulmonary arrest. Executives and other personnel have been given hands-on training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs). As of the end of March 2019, approximately 13,300 employees had received training.
Fire and Disaster Prevention
Epson is committed to fire safety and disaster management. Our independent fire brigades help to protect lives and property. Epson Disaster Prevention Day falls on the last work day of each August. We hold fire and disaster drills and practice extinguishing small fires to help minimize damage in the event of a wide-scale disaster. The actions both increase our preparedness and heighten employee awareness.
Formation of Independent Fire Brigades
Epson has had independent fire brigades in place for 64 years. The first brigade was formed in 1955, with 15 employees dedicated to protecting their factory from fire. As our business has grown, so has the number of fire brigades. There are now approximately 900 employee firefighters active at business sites in Japan and at facilities around the world. Fire brigades train year-round to protect life and company property.
Purpose and significance of independent fire brigade initiatives
- Regular training teaches members about firefighting techniques and skills and raises their safety awareness so they can take immediate and proper action in an emergency. This is part of company safety education.
- Initiatives help employees take the lead during fire or natural disasters. Members help to ensure personal safety (relief work) and minimize damage to facilities and equipment (initial fire-fighting).
- Employees who learn about safety and firefighting techniques and skills become key members of the workplace to instruct others there. They model fire/ disaster prevention and safety for all employees, which raise workplace awareness of the same.
- Initiatives to fight fire enhance communication. Fire brigades are a good place to foster friendships between members from different departments, develop character, and cultivate human resources.
Fire Brigade Competitions
Epson has held a fire brigade competition annually in September that gives brigade members around the world a chance to demonstrate how quickly they are able to take the proper action in an emergency and to demonstrate their skills in extinguishing a small fire.
About 700 people in 42 teams, including 15 from overseas, took part in the 2018 Competition. The 42 teams consisted of 22 in the small pump division, 12 in the indoor fire hydrant division, and eight in the bugle band division. The high level of fire safety awareness was evident from the seriousness with which the teams competed in bad weather, showing that the spirit to protect lives and property under which the brigades were first formed is alive and well. The entire Epson Group will continue to improve our fire and disaster prevention and management programs.