Safety and environmental protection

  • 1,400 audits for environmental protection, safety and occupational health

  • 80% of Linde sites certified to ISO 9001 quality standard

  • 49% of employees trained on environmental protection and safety

Safety is a top priority for us, both in our own business processes and the use of our products by customers. The aim of the Group-wide safety and environmental protection management systems is to keep people and the environment from harm. We are focused on minimising safety risks, minimising the Group’s environmental impact and ensuring the efficient use of energy, resources and materials. Our innovative technologies and products help our customers tackle ecological challenges, such as climate protection and water resource management. Our safety and environmental management systems also extend to contractors and other business partners. To further improve our performance in these areas, we continuously assess potential weak points, conduct risk analyses and implement concrete risk mitigation measures.

Linde has also implemented a global process to record, evaluate and communicate safety, health, environment and quality incidents worldwide. Near-misses from which the Group can learn lessons for the future are also recorded in this way. In 2012, the Group circulated 38 information sheets internally with a description of the relevant incident or near-miss, the main reasons for its occurrence and the measures introduced as a result. In addition, we prepare global risk avoidance plans. These are designed to protect employees and neighbours, as well as the Group’s property and information.

Alongside safety indicators, we measure resource consumption and environmental impact at all sites around the globe. We thereby maintain a steady focus on efficient business practices and on minimising the ecological impact of our operations. Between 2008 and 2012, we conducted around 1,000 environmental protection projects, of which 300 were during the reporting year. Areas of particular priority in 2012 included efforts to reduce water consumption.

Audits, trainings and certified sites (in percent)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2012

 

2011

 

2010

 

2009

1

The figures disclosed relate to internal and external audits conducted at production sites worldwide.

Sites where occupational health and safety audits have been conducted 1

 

62.4

 

54.5

 

53.2

 

55.1

Sites where environmental audits have been conducted 1

 

53.6

 

49.1

 

47.8

 

48.3

Employees of Linde Gas who have taken up HSE training opportunities

 

49.1

 

50.3

 

47.2

 

48.8

Sites certified to ISO 9001

 

80

 

76

 

72

 

71

Sites certified to ISO 14001

 

31

 

33

 

28

 

27

Sites certified to OHSAS 18001 or SCC

 

25

 

22

 

22

 

22

Audits and certifications

Linde has developed global guidelines and standards for safety and environmental protection. We verify compliance with these voluntary commitments and legal requirements through audits. In 2012, more than 1,400 safety, environmental protection and health protection audits were carried out at Linde sites, either by the Group itself or by third parties. Occupational health and safety audits were performed at more than 62 percent of our sites, and environmental audits at around 54 percent. Linde’s internal audits follow norms such as the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 international standards on quality, environmental management and health protection. External certification also endorses the high standard of the Group’s safety, environmental protection and quality systems:

  • During the year under review, 80 percent of our sites were certified to ISO 9001, the set of international standards for quality management (2011: 76 percent).
  • 31 percent of Linde sites were certified to the international environmental management standard ISO 14001 in the reporting year (2011: 33 percent).
  • 25 percent of our sites hold certification in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 or SCC (Safety Certification Contractors) standards for their systematic health and safety management system (2011: 22 percent).
  • Over 220 of our sites were awarded Responsible Care certification as a hallmark of acting responsibly regarding safety, environmental and health protection during the year under review.
  • All Linde Gas Germany production sites were certified to the new ISO 50001 standard in 2012, confirming a systematic approach to energy management with well-defined aims and responsibilities.
  • Since 2011, almost 100 percent of Linde sites delivering carbon dioxide to the beverages industry have been externally certified within the framework of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) – which incorporates the ISO 22000 food safety standard – proving compliance with the relevant quality standards for gases as food additives or processing aids.

Raising environmental protection and safety awareness

Linde systematically trains staff in the areas of occupational health and safety, as well as in product safety and environmental risks. Almost half of our employees in the Gases Division participated in training courses in these areas during the year under review. Moreover, we devise schemes to raise employees' awareness of safety and environmental issues and to encourage them to display greater initiative in these areas. In 2012, for example, Linde held employee workshops worldwide on how to handle acetylene safely.

> More on trainings on transport safety

Collaboration and awards

When it comes to safety and environment, we also work with local communities. In 2012, for instance, Linde launched a series of safety talks in China at the invitation of local authorities. In Poland, we exchanged knowledge with the regional fire brigades about the safe handling of gas cylinders and potential response plans in accidents involving acetylene. The Group provided training materials to around 300 firefighters here.

Linde received various awards during 2012 in recognition of its environmental and safety management activities, including its successful approach to safety management in Thailand and its responsible handling of hazardous substances in China. The European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) also presented awards to several Linde sites in acknowledgement of safety excellence.

Complaints related to the environment

We consistently follow up on suggestions for improvement. During the reporting year, we received 14 environment-related complaints (2011: 28). These mainly concerned noise levels. In addition, 29 environmental incidents occurred that had to be reported to the authorities (2011: 32). These resulted in small environmental fines and warning fees amounting to around EUR 29,000 (2011: EUR 84,300).

Responsibility along the value chain

Highlighted: areas in the value chain connected to the topics covered on this page