Safety and environmental protection are top priorities at Linde. Our activities here focus not only on our internal business processes, but also on how our products are used. We have defined global guidelines and standards for occupational health, safety and environmental protection. We anchor these principles into our day-to-day business activities through our SHEQ management systems – which cover all of our sites. Our safety and environmental management systems also extend to contractors and other business partners. We deploy a wide range of tools and measures to check compliance with our standards, including regular audits carried out by Linde and independent third parties.
Between 2008 and 2010, Linde implemented over 500 environmental protection projects. In 2011 we initiated a number of further environmental projects, primarily focusing on energy efficiency, climate protection and efficient water use.
Our safety activities focus on the protection of our employees, on site and plant safety, product safety, transport safety as well as on the protection of the company’s physical and intellectual property and data protection.
We measure resource consumption, environmental impact and safety indicators at all sites around the globe. To further improve our performance in these areas, we systematically analyse potential weak spots through risk analyses – following these up with concrete risk mitigation measures. We have also developed a global process for recording and assessing incidents such as accidents or leaks – at our sites, when our products are being transported or during their use. We also use this process to record and evaluate near-misses. The lessons learned from our incident reporting are then communicated throughout the entire Group. In 2011, we communicated over 80 such incident reports. They include a description of the incident or near-miss as well as the key causes and the measures we implemented as a result. We also highlight exemplary environmental and safety measures and reward outstanding performance. We provide regular training to promote a high level of environmental and safety awareness throughout the company.
Between 2008 and 2010, Linde implemented over 500 environmental protection projects. In 2011, we initiated over 200 further environmental projects, primarily focusing on energy efficiency, climate protection and efficient water use.
Audits and certification
health, safety and environment audits
We check compliance with our standards the world over. In 2011, we ran or commissioned over 1,200 health, safety and environmental audits at our locations.
In 2011, we ran or commissioned over 1,200 health, safety and environmental audits at our locations. Occupational health and safety audits were carried out more than 54 percent of our sites, and environmental audits at around 49 percent of our sites. We also include findings from our internal statistics and from reports on incidents and near-misses in our annual audit plan. Our internal audits comply with the international certification standards ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 1800.
We also rely on external certification to international norms to confirm our high standards for safety, environmental protection and quality. 76 percent of our sites are certified in line with the ISO 9001 set of international standards for quality management. In the case of food-grade gases, we provide proof of compliance with the relevant quality standards. Within the framework of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), we intend to have 70 sites certified by the end of 2012. This certification covers among others the ISO 22000 standard (food safety). In 2011, a further 11 sites were certified to this standard. 33 percent of our sites are certified in line with the environmental management standard ISO 14001 (2010: 28 percent). Moreover, 195 sites have been awarded Responsible Care certification. Around 22 percent of our sites are health- and safety-certified in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) or SCC (Safety Certification Contractors) standards (2010: 22 percent).
Safety and environmental training
We systematically train our employees in the areas of occupational health and safety as well as in product safety and environmental risks.
Proportion of employees who have taken up HSE*
training opportunities (in percent)
The need for training is regularly assessed at our sites, and our training is tailored to current requirements. In 2011, over 50 percent of employees in our Gases Division took part in occupational health, safety or environmental protection training courses – more than 20,000 employees. We also run campaigns that strengthen employee awareness of safety and environmental protection and encourage them to take the initiative in these areas. Each year, for example, we hold the Linde Group Safety Awards, recognising selected sites in three separate categories: The Site Safety Award for the best location or facility, the Company Safety Award for the best company within the Group, and the Improvement Award for the site or company that has made most progress in reducing lost time injury rates.
We received several awards in 2011 in recognition of our safety and environmental performance. In Pakistan, for example, the National Forum for Environment and Health – a partner organisation of the United Nations Environment Programme – presented Linde with the Environment Excellence Award. Linde also received an environmental award from the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA). The award recognises the environmental improvements that Linde has made at its production sites in the UK under the framework of its "Rising to the Challenge" project, an initiative aimed at promoting communication and raising awareness of safety risks. In 2011, Singapore’s Workplace Safety & Health Council and Ministry of Manpower awarded Linde a Gold Award in the Workplace Safety & Health Awards for the third consecutive year.
Complaints related to the environment
We always follow up suggestions for improvement that we receive. During the reporting year, we received 28 environment-related complaints (2010: 19). Most of these concerned noise or odour issues. In addition, we were aware of 32 environmental incidents that had to be reported to the authorities (2010: 31). These resulted in small environmental fines and warning fees to the total amount of around EUR 84,300 (2010: EUR 38,900).