Safety in Production

For occupational and process safety as well as health and environmental protection and corporate security, we rely on comprehensive preventive measures and expect the cooperation of all employees and contractors. Our global safety and security concepts serve to protect our employees, contractors and neighbors as well as to prevent property and environmental damage and protect information and company assets.

The graphic depicts the different stations along the value chain. The topics in each chapter address the station shown in dark blue. (here: BASF) (graphic)


  • Global safety standards
  • Strengthening risk awareness
  • Comprehensive incident analyses and global experience and information exchange

The safety of our employees, contractors, neighbors and protecting the environment is our top priority. This is why we have set ourselves ambitious goals for occupational and process safety as well as health protection.

We stipulate globally mandatory standards for safety, security, and environmental and health protection. A worldwide network of experts supports us in their implementation. As part of our continuous improvement process, we regularly monitor progress toward our goals.

We promote risk awareness for every individual with measures such as systematic hazard assessments, specific and ongoing qualification measures and global safety initiatives.

We analyze accidents, incidents and their causes in detail at a global level to learn from these. Hazard analyses and the risk minimization measures derived from them are an important prevention tool. We also promote regular dialog across different sites to strengthen risk awareness among our employees and contractors, to learn from examples of good practice and in this way, continually develop the safety culture.

By 2022, we will introduce digital solutions and applications at more than 350 of our plants to further increase the safety, security, planning capability and availability of our plants. For example, augmented reality solutions will support daily operations by providing direct, fast access to the required information with mobile end devices and apps. Other digital solutions will enable us to perform predictive maintenance or efficiently simulate maintenance and production processes in digital plant models.

Based on our corporate values, leaders serve as safety role models for our employees. Since July 2018, individual dialogs with experts on environmental protection, health, safety and security have been conducted with newly appointed senior executives to discuss function-specific issues and challenges.

Global safety initiative

  • Focus of Global Safety Days: “Understand risk, take action!”

Our global safety initiative was established in 2008 and plays a key role in the ongoing development of the safety culture. With over 800 activities at 325 sites, the focus of our Global Safety Days was “Understand risk, take action!” in 2018. The aim was to increase risk awareness to identify and eliminate threats before they become a danger – whether at work, on the road or at home. Around 12,000 employees and contractors registered to participate at the Ludwigshafen site alone. This involvement and lively discussion make a major contribution to our safety culture.

Occupational safety

  • New tools and global dialog to prevent work-related accidents
  • Employees and contractors worldwide instructed on safe behavior

We have adapted our incident reporting and goals to the recommendations of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI). Our aim is to reduce the worldwide lost-time injury rate to no more than 0.1 per 200,000 working hours by 2025.1

2025 target

Reduction of worldwide lost-time injury rate per 200,000 working hours

≤ 0.1

To prevent work-related accidents, we encourage and promote risk-conscious behavior and safe working practices for every individual, learning from incidents and regular exchange of experiences (see box below). We are constantly refining and enhancing our requirements.

Global dialog improves risk awareness

A new global tool was launched in mid-2018 to help employees detect threats faster and better assess the risks involved. Our new, global requirement on key safety-related workflows emphasizes risk-conscious, safe working practices. A standardized risk matrix was adopted in 2018 to be able to determine and assess the hazard potential of incidents consistently across the company. We introduced new indicators such as checking work permits on-site to identify trends at an early stage. Around the world, employees and experts regularly share their insights and learnings, including – since 2018 – in short keynote talks.

In addition to the legally required briefings, we also held training courses on safe procedures in 2018 to strengthen risk awareness among our employees and contractors and prevent work-related accidents.

Furthermore, our training center at the Ludwigshafen site in Germany has offered continuous further education on diverse safety and security topics for employees and contractors since 2010. Some 18,000 participants received training there in 2018.

In 2018, 0.3 work-related accidents per 200,000 working hours2 occurred at BASF sites worldwide. The proportion of chemical-related accidents rose slightly to 6% (2017: 5%). Unfortunately, there were three fatal work-related accidents in 2018 (2017: 2). BASF is working together with the authorities to analyze the incidents in depth and is using the findings to derive appropriate measures.

In February 2018, one employee died from injuries sustained in falling from a tank container at the Antwerp site in Belgium. Measures to prevent such accidents were taken following the incident. For example, existing training was updated to make working at heights an even greater focus. One employee of a contractor died during loading work at the Flotzgrün landfill site near Ludwigshafen, Germany, in February 2018. He became trapped during work with a construction vehicle. In November, one employee of a contractor died from injuries sustained after being struck by a falling sliding door at the Jacareí site in Brazil. In all cases, BASF is supporting the relevant authorities in their investigations into the circumstances and causes of the accidents. We use the findings of investigations into accidents to take appropriate measures to prevent these from happening again.

1 Hours worked by BASF employees, temporary employees and contractors. Our previous goal was to reduce the worldwide lost-time injury rate per one million working hours (BASF and temporary employees) to 0.5 at most by 2025.

2 Hours worked by BASF employees, temporary employees and contractors. We previously reported on the number of lost-time injuries per one million working hours worldwide (BASF and temporary employees). In 2017, 1.4 work-related accidents per one million working hours occurred at BASF sites worldwide. The rate of work-related accidents for contractors was 1.4 per one million working hours in 2017. The 2017 figure has been adjusted due to updated data. Under the updated indicator definition, the rate of work-related accidents for 2017 would have been 0.3 per 200,000 working hours.

Process safety

  • Regular review of plant protection plans and performance of safety inspections and safety-related measures
  • Global initiatives to reduce process safety incidents
  • Network of experts and global training methods foster dialog

Process safety is a core part of safe, effective and thus future-proof production. We meet high safety standards in the planning, construction and operation of our plants around the world. These meet and, in some cases, go beyond local legal requirements.

Our global process safety standards provide the framework for the safe construction and operation of our plants as well as the protection of people and the environment. Our experts have developed a protection plan with the appropriate safety inspections for every plant that considers the key aspects of safety, health and environmental protection – from conception to startup – and stipulates specific protection measures.

In order to maintain the highest level of safety at our plants across their entire life cycle, we review the implementation of our protection plans in all facilities at regular intervals and depending on risk potential, as well as the on-time performance of the required safety inspections and any resulting safety-related measures. We regularly update our plants’ safety and security concepts in line with changing technologies and as necessary.

2025 target

Reduction of worldwide process safety incidents per 200,000 working hours

≤ 0.1

In 2018, we adapted our reporting on accidents and process safety incidents to the recommendations of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) and the German Chemicals Industry Association (VCI). We now apply stricter reporting thresholds and use the number of process safety incidents per 200,000 working hours as a key performance indicator. We have set ourselves the goal of reducing process safety incidents to a rate of no more than 0.1 per 200,000 working hours by 2025. In 2018, we recorded 0.3 process safety incidents per 200,000 working hours 2 worldwide. We pursue continual improvement by investigating every incident in detail, analyzing root causes and using the findings to derive suitable measures.

Effectively reducing process safety incidents starts with knowing the potential risks. Around the world, we promote initiatives to discuss incidents and their causes, as well as to sensitize others to potential safety risks. In North America, for example, a key priority in 2018 was detecting all leaks. At the Ludwigshafen site in Germany and at other European sites, the focus was on sharing measures to improve operational safety. In addition, our training methods are constantly refined and enhanced to increase risk awareness.

We are working on increasing the availability of our plants and determining the optimum point in time for maintenance measures and revamping/refurbishment. The aim is to further reduce unscheduled shutdowns. To achieve this, we launched a digitalization project in 2017, which was implemented at a number of plants in Ludwigshafen, Germany in 2018. In 2019, we plan to expand this to further plants in Ludwigshafen and at our sites in Schwarzheide, Germany, and Antwerp, Belgium. We want to roll the project out worldwide in 2020.

We play an active role in improving process safety around the world in a global network of experts, through our involvement in organizations such as the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), and by fostering dialog with government institutions.

3 Hours worked by BASF employees, temporary employees and contractors. Our previous goal of reducing process safety incidents to a rate of no more than 0.5 per one million working hours (BASF and temporary employees) by 2025 largely followed the definition set by the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC). In 2017, the process safety incident rate per one million working hours was 2.0.

Health protection

  • Global standards for corporate health management
  • 2018 Global Health Campaign “Life. Saving. Heroes.” focuses on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

Our global corporate health management serves to promote and maintain the health and productivity of our employees. Our worldwide standards for occupational health are specified in a directive that is implemented by a global network of experts. This was once again supported by numerous emergency drills and health promotion measures in 2018.

We measure our performance in health protection using the Health Performance Index (HPI). The HPI comprises five components: recognized occupational diseases, medical emergency preparedness, first aid, preventive medicine and health promotion. Each component contributes a maximum of 0.2 to the total score. The highest possible score is 1.0. Our goal is to reach a value of more than 0.9 every year. With an HPI of 0.96, we once again reached the ambitious goal of exceeding 0.9 each year in 2018 (2017: 0.97).4

Annual target 4

Health protection Health Performance Index Maximum score 1.0

> 0.9

Our 2018 Global Health Campaign “Life. Saving. Heroes.” focused on cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). We sensitized our employees about the issue with the ultimate aim of increasing the rate of CPR initiated by laypersons. This significantly increases a person’s chances of survival if they suffer cardiac arrest in private life or at work. Over 480 sites worldwide took part in the health campaign and offered CPR training.

We raise employee awareness of health topics through offers tailored toward specific target groups. The BASF health checks form the foundation of our global health promotion program and are offered to employees at regular intervals.

4 Our updated corporate strategy realigns our goals from 2019 onward; as a result, we will convert the Health Performance Index goal into a reporting indicator. For more information on our strategy and goals.

Emergency response, corporate security and cybersecurity

  • Regular review of emergency systems and crisis management structures
  • Comprehensive protection measures against third-party interference

We are well prepared for crisis situations thanks to our global crisis management system. In the event of a crisis, our global, regional or local emergency response plans and crisis management structures are engaged, depending on the impact scope. We involve situation-related partners and suppliers as well as cities, communities and neighboring companies.

We regularly check our emergency systems, crisis management structures and drill procedures with employees, contractors, local authorities and emergency rescue workers. For example, in 2018 we conducted 224 drills and simulations in Ludwigshafen, Germany, to instruct participants on our emergency response measures.

We analyze the potential safety and security risks associated with investment projects and strategic plans, and define appropriate safety and security concepts. Our guiding principle is to identify risks for the company at an early stage, assess them properly and derive appropriate safeguards.

We protect our employees, sites, plants and company know-how against third-party interference. This includes, for example, potential terrorist risks in the communities surrounding our production sites and addressing in depth the issue of cybersecurity. BASF has a comprehensive program in place to continually improve its ability to prevent, detect and react to cybersecurity incidents. By establishing a global Cyber Security Defense Center, BASF significantly expanded the availability of its cybersecurity experts to ensure around-the-clock protection. We cooperate closely with a global network of experts and partners to ensure that we can protect ourselves against cyberattacks as far as possible. In 2018, we therefore expanded our IT security certification according to ISO 27001, which was introduced in 2008.

Around the world, we work to sensitize all employees about protecting information and know-how. For example, we further strengthened our employees’ awareness of risks in 2018 with training, case studies and interactive offerings. We have defined mandatory information protection requirements to ensure compliance with our processes for protecting sensitive information and perform audits to monitor this.

Our worldwide network of information protection officers comprises more than 600 employees. They support the implementation of our uniform requirements and hold events and seminars on secure behaviors. We provided information protection instruction to more than 33,000 participants in 2018. Our standardized Group-wide recommendations for the protection of information and knowledge were expanded to include additional guidance for employees and updated in line with current developments.

We inform business travelers and transferees about appropriate protection measures prior to and during travel in countries with elevated security risks. After any major incident such as a terrorist attack or a natural catastrophe, we can use a standardized global travel tracking system to locate and contact employees in the affected regions.

Aspects of human rights related to site security are a component of the global qualification requirements of our security personnel. Respect for human rights is a mandatory element of any contract with service providers of the BASF Group who are active in this area.