BASF Report 2022

Material Topics in Focus: Occupational Safety, Process Safety and Health Protection

Safety is always BASF’s number one priority. In addition to conventional precautions, we also use digital plant safety technologies to identify potential risks and further reduce the number of process safety incidents through predictive maintenance, for example.

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

For occupational and process safety as well as health protection, we rely on comprehensive preventive measures. We count on the active involvement of all employees and contractors here. Our safety concepts are designed to provide the best possible protection for employees, contractors and our sites’ neighbors, and to prevent damage to property and the environment.

At a glance


Lost-time injuries process safety incidents per 200,000 working hours1


Process safety incidents per 200,000 working hours1

  • Global health and safety standards
  • Strengthening risk awareness and mindful behavior
  • Intensive dialog on safety topics

1 Hours worked by BASF employees, temporary employees and contractors

Strategy and governance

The safety of our employees, contractors and neighbors, and protecting the environment is our top priority. That is why we set binding global standards for occupational and process safety as well as health protection. Our sites and Group companies are responsible for implementing and complying with Group-wide guidelines and local requirements. They are supported in this task by a global network of experts. The Environmental Protection, Health, Safety and Quality unit in the Corporate Center performs regular audits to ensure compliance with the requirements.

We pursue ambitious targets for occupational and process safety as well as for health protection. As part of our continuous improvement process, we regularly monitor progress toward our goals. We critically reviewed our occupational and process safety targets and key performance indicators in 2022. As a result, we will update our targets and report according to a new system in 2023. This will focus on high-severity work-related accidents and incidents and provide greater transparency. Our reporting continues to be based on established industry standards, with a stronger focus on people and our plants.

We document and analyze accidents and incidents as well as their causes and consequences in detail at a global level to learn from these. We see hazard assessments and the risk minimization measures derived from them as an important prevention tool.

With a culture of dealing openly with mistakes, systematic hazard assessments, division and site-specific safety activities, ongoing qualification measures and dialog across BASF’s global network, we want to strengthen risk awareness among our employees and contractors, share examples of good practice and in this way, continually develop our safety culture.

Leaders are important role models for employees, which is why environmental protection, health, safety and security are discussed with newly appointed senior executives. Senior executives with a particular responsibility for such topics, for example, in production, also receive specific further training to be able to meet their responsibilities. Other events and initiatives in 2022 also focused on the high relevance of safety topics and dialog among our leaders. These included regular regional and global employee events and the “Safety call to action” initiative in North America.

Occupational safety

To prevent work-related accidents, we encourage and promote risk-conscious behavior and safe working practices, learning from incidents and regular dialog. That is why we are constantly refining and enhancing our global requirements and training.

In addition to the legally required briefings, BASF requires new employees and contractors to complete compulsory health and safety training. Employees at our production sites also receive regular training on the safe handling of chemicals and the correct use of personal protective equipment.

We use the number of lost-time injuries per 200,000 working hours (lost-time injury rate, LTI) as a reporting indicator. Our target is to reduce lost-time injuries to a rate of no more than 0.1 per 200,000 working hours by 2025.1 In 2022, 0.3 work-related accidents per 200,000 working hours occurred at BASF sites worldwide (2021: 0.3). The share of chemical-related accidents increased to 8% (2021: 4%). Unfortunately, there was one fatal work-related accident in 2022 (2021: 1). At the Dachangsha site in China, an employee suffered fatal injuries while performing cleaning activities. BASF is assisting the authorities in determining the circumstances and cause of the accident.

We do everything we can to prevent accidents and use our findings to take appropriate measures to prevent these from happening again, as far as possible. These include regular campaigns and informational events to raise employees’ awareness.

2025 target1

Reduce the worldwide lost-time injuries per 200,000 working hours


1 Hours worked by BASF employees, temporary employees and contractors. In 2023, we will update this target and report according to a new system.

We actively share insights to further increase occupational safety and continually improve our processes and methods. For example, we evaluate trends in data, analyze accidents and potential incidents, and share knowledge and best practices within our global network of experts and as part of safety initiatives. We also seek dialog with government institutions and are actively involved in external occupational safety initiatives and networks around the world led, for example, by the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC) or national associations such as the German Chemical Industry Association and the American Chemistry Council.

Process safety

Process safety is a core part of safe, efficient and thus sustainable 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 requirements provide the framework for the safe construction and operation of our plants as well as the protection of people and the environment. Our experts develop a safety concept for every plant that considers the key aspects of safety, health and environmental protection – from plant design to the end of the production phase – and that sets out specific safety measures.

In order to maintain the highest level of safety at our plants worldwide across their entire life cycles, we carry out implementation checks to verify that our protection concepts, safety reviews and resulting safety measures have been carried out in all our plants at timely intervals based on risk potential. We regularly update our plants’ safety and security concepts, taking into particular account new findings, technological opportunities and regulatory developments.

We use the number of process safety incidents (PSI) per 200,000 working hours as a reporting 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 2025.1 In 2022, we recorded 0.3 process safety incidents per 200,000 working hours worldwide (2021: 0.3). We investigate every incident in detail, analyze causes and use the findings to derive suitable measures. We share the findings in our global network in the interest of continuous improvement.

2025 target1

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


1 Hours worked by BASF employees, temporary employees and contractors. In 2023, we will update this target and report according to a new system.

To reduce process safety incidents, we focus in particular on technical measures, digital solutions (see box on the next page) and on a leadership culture that places even greater emphasis on process safety and dealing openly with mistakes. In addition, we are continually refining and expanding our training methods and offerings to increase risk awareness and strengthen our safety culture.

We play an active role in improving process safety around the world in internal and external networks, through our involvement in organizations such as the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), the European Process Safety Centre (EPSC) and the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS), and by fostering dialog with government institutions.

Health protection

BASF’s global corporate health management serves to promote and maintain the health and productivity of our employees. The BASF health checks form the foundation of our global health promotion program and are offered to employees at regular intervals. We also raise employee awareness of health topics with offerings tailored to specific target groups. One example of this is the annual Global Health Campaign, which in 2022 was dedicated to the motto “Good morning – regeneration through sleep.” The program included a wide range of virtual and in-person seminars and interactive events on the different factors that influence restful sleep. Over 440 sites took part, offering events such as workshops, courses, lectures and exercises.

We measure our performance in health protection using the Health Performance Index (HPI). This has five components: recognized occupational diseases, medical emergency drills, first aid, preventive medicine and health promotion. Each component contributes a maximum of 0.2 to the total score, meaning that the highest possible score is 1.0. We aim to reach a value of more than 0.9 every year. With an HPI of 0.96, we once again reached this in 2022 (2021: 0.96).

In 2022, 38 work-related illnesses among BASF employees worldwide were documented as recognized occupational diseases (2021: 36). The main recognized occupational diseases are occupational asthma, hearing loss, skin diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and cancer.

We successfully continued our proven activities to combat the coronavirus pandemic in 2022, adapted in each case to local infection rates and the on-site risk. Measures included vaccination services, for example with our own vaccination center at our largest site in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Another focus in 2022 was on influenza prevention. BASF employees could be vaccinated against the seasonal flu at many sites around the world. At the Ludwigshafen site in Germany, for example, around 6,200 employees participated in the influenza vaccination campaign.

Good to know

Digitalisation in production – photo shows a work meeting (photo)

Digitalization in production

Numerous digital solutions and applications are used in BASF’s production plants to further increase safety, security, availability and efficiency. One example is creating virtual replicas of production facilities using 3D modeling (digital twinning). This enables us to carry out maintenance and servicing work more efficiently and safely, for example, or further improve employee training. More than 30 3D models are in continuous use at BASF around the world, covering all phases of a plant’s life cycle.

Digital tools are also used to access large amounts of data from different sources, intelligently link them together and prepare them for further analysis. This data is analyzed using methods like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, for example, to detect and rectify anomalies relating to the plant at an early stage (predictive maintenance). This reduces unplanned repairs and downtime and optimizes the coordination of maintenance and production processes. Data can also be evaluated using AI methods to improve the production process to reduce energy use or emissions.

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