Product stewardship

We monitor product safety along the product value chain, from the procurement of materials via production through to use by the customer. Our activities are based on our globally applicable product stewardship guideline. To this end, we analyse such aspects as the ecological impact and the toxicity of substances, documenting the results in a central database. This database serves as a data source for transport safety measures and also as a source of information that we provide to our customers and the general public.

Linde holds more than 18,000 product safety data sheets in a variety of languages. Over the next five years, we plan to continue to improve these data sheets and to refine the labelling of our products for transportation purposes. A budget of more than EUR 3 million has been earmarked for this purpose.

For those sites where highly hazardous chemicals are produced or handled, we have also developed specialist product safety risk assessments, carried out on a uniform basis across the world. The corresponding audits were so far conducted in 17 countries. Our main focus during the reporting year was South-East Asia. To date, such risk assessments have been carried out for sites that account in total for more than 75 percent of revenue from chemicals in this region.

1,200

participants completed training of our customer safety programme in Germany

Depending on the risk, specially trained Linde staff assess whether the conditions are in place for proper gas handling prior to delivery to the customer’s site. We also offer training to customers in the safe handling of our products. Both employees and customers take advantage of these training offers. Through our own customer safety programme LIPROTECT®, for example, around 1,200 participants in Germany received training in 2013 in how to handle gases responsibly. During the year, we also launched a new e-learning programme devoted to the safe handling of chemicals.

In addition, Linde customers have access to a range of services covering all aspects of handling gases, with the key areas including risk assessments, as well as inspection, maintenance and repairs. Our emergency teams are available to support customers should help be required at any time of day or night.

Linde complies in full with the requirements of REACH, the EU regulation on chemicals. By the second registration deadline on 31 May 2013, we had registered five substances with an annual production volume of more than 100 tonnes with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). We are also actively working together with the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) and other trade bodies with the assistance of customers and suppliers. Using our global Internet platform, we provide comprehensive information about what we are doing to comply with its statutory obligations and which substances we have registered. Around 4 percent of our revenue is attributable to products subject to registration under REACH.

Through our product stewardship programme, we also support the Global Product Strategy (GPS) devised by the International Council of Chemical Associations for the safe handling of chemical substances and the United Nations’ Globally Harmonised System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals. In 2013, we implemented new statutory regulations in the United States, based on the GHS rules.