Epson believes that providing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment and promoting physical and mental wellness are the foundation of a healthy company. Accordingly, we have instituted occupational safety and health programs around the world so that Epson's employees and partners can enjoy working as a team in the knowledge that they are safe and secure.
The core component of this effort is the New Epson Safety & Health Program (NESP), established in FY2000. Covering safety, health, fire/ disaster prevention, and facilities, this original Epson program is based on an occupational safety and health management system (OSHMS) that conforms to International Labour Organization (ILO) guidelines. Since that program came into effect, we have endeavored to conform to the Basic NESP Policy and manage our workplaces with the idea that every workplace is responsible for maintaining its own safety.
Occupational Injury Accidents
The frequency and severity of occupational injury accidents are significantly below the national average.
Occupational Safety and Health Initiatives
Information Sharing about Global NESP Activities
Epson seeks to improve cooperation by providing regular opportunities for information sharing on two levels, managers and workers, at its domestic and overseas production sites.
At the manager level, general safety and health controllers from Epson business sites and Group companies separately meet every six months to share information about their NESP (New Epson Safety & Health Program) activities and to discuss their obligations and responsibilities. Participants give presentations on the activities taking place at their business sites to encourage best practices and self-sustaining activities.
At the worker level, meetings are held to share information within each region. In Japan, workers meet bimonthly to discuss specific activities regarding important topics. In other countries, groups have been established in China and Southeast Asia. In China, workers at each manufacturing site hold information sharing conferences every six months. They share information on common issues and discuss compliance specific to China, and make sure their safety and health activities are in step at all of their business sites. Likewise in Southeast Asia, workers from the manufacturing sites located in the five countries in the region gather once a year for a conference to share information. At the conference, they present examples of activities at their manufacturing sites and tour the factory where the conference is held. Everybody learns from each other by sharing their expertise and experience.
Supplier Safety Management
To reduce the risk of procurement delays and interruptions due to occupational accidents and fires at suppliers' facilities, Epson manages suppliers based on a supplier safety management manual that specifies Epson's rules. In accordance with the manual, we ask suppliers to review their safety management systems using a prescribed checklist. After assessing the results of their self-review, we conclude a business agreement with suppliers who meet the criteria. If we identify an issue in a supplier, we perform an on-site check, discuss corrective actions with the supplier, and conclude a business agreement if we determine that the situation will be improved. All of our new suppliers have performed this self-review.
Raising Employee Awareness Using Safety News Reports
Epson carefully analyzes all occupational injuries and accidents in the Epson Group, identifies causes, and makes plans for preventing similar incidents. We document this information in safety news reports. The reports, which are available in Japanese, English, and Chinese, are posted on the intranet for use in preventing similar incidents. Safety news reports indicate root causes identified using specific analytical techniques. Preventive measures and safety considerations are prescribed.
Professional Development through Safety and Health Training
Epson considers safety and health training vital for protecting employees. The training curriculum is tailored to the position, roles, and responsibilities of employees. Training for non-management employees focuses on practical techniques such as risk assessment and hazard prediction. Training for managers and supervisors focuses on leadership. All Group companies use the same training curriculum. Since we have a variety of businesses, each with its unique needs, we also provide employees with training tailored to their business unit and company.
In fiscal 2016, instructor training was held in Japan for safety staff from China in June, and Southeast Asia in February. Sudomo from Indonesia, who took part in this training, says, "I'm going to teach my colleagues in Indonesia what I learned this time, and in addition to improving the safety level, I'm going to enhance my skills as an instructor."
Maintaining Mental and Physical Wellbeing
Maintaining and improving employee health is a key objective of the New Epson Safety & Health Program (NESP).
In Japan, every five years since FY2001 we have instituted a mid-range plan on health. In April 2016 we established our new mid-range plan, Health Action 2020. The basic ideals of Health Action 2020 are to "emphasize safety and improve the working environment" while "fostering employee and workplace independence and autonomy." Initiatives take place in three focus areas: workplace, physical, and mental health.
Outside Japan, we are working continuously to improve employee health management in ways that fit the situation at each Group company. Occupational health and safety laws vary by country and region, so each overseas affiliate manages employee health based on local law.
Recognized for Health Management Excellence
In February 2017, Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) recognized Seiko Epson under the 2017 Certified Health and Productivity Management Organization Recognition Program (White 500), in the large enterprise category. This program seeks to identify and recognize, by 2020, 500 large enterprises that practice excellent health management in cooperation with their employees. Enterprises are evaluated based on 19 criteria, including whether they have communicated policies on health maintenance and improvement, whether they have set improve goals or indicators for health issues, and whether they can verify the effect of actions taken. To become certified, a company must meet all five mandatory criteria and at least 11 of the 14 remaining criteria. Seiko Epson satisfied all 19 criteria.
Every five years since 2001 Seiko Epson has established a five-year health plan that includes proactive programs for maintaining workplace health, physical health, and mental health. These programs are believed to be an important reason for the company's high marks. Encouraged by this recognition, Epson will further step up its efforts to maintain and improve health to achieve a healthy, pleasant, and safe working environment.
Mental Health Initiatives
Seiko Epson and its group companies in Japan cite mental health as a key area and have introduced initiatives that are focused on prevention and on fostering strong personal relationships in a vibrant workplace culture.
We have offered ongoing mental health training since 2000. We give group training for new employees, mid-level employees, and others in senior staff positions. Certain online courses have been designed for all employees. Also, employees gather together to read out loud from a mental health textbook. One example of training is "Around 35: Mental Health for the Prime of Your Career." This training is given to employees who are around 35, an age at which their role in the company tends to change and when there tend to be important events in their personal lives. This training helps them to better understand themselves, deal with stress, and maintain their own personal mental health. The training has been provided a total of 139 times since the 2012 fiscal year, and 1,731 employees have participated.
Our business sites have health management offices, where medical professionals (occupational physicians, nurses, and clinical psychologists) offer employees advice on mental and physical health issues. Industrial counselors are on duty in our employee counseling offices. They provide all types of advice as well as career counseling to help employees achieve self-realization and chart their careers.
Since 2004, all Seiko Epson employees undergo an occupational stress evaluation when they take their annual physical examination. Medical professionals and industrial counselors follow up with employees found to be highly stressed. The primary purpose is to help employees manage their stress. This evaluation facilitates early detection and early treatment of mental health issues.
From December 2015 amendments to Japan's Industrial Safety and Health Act require certain employers to offer stress checks to employees. In response, we revised the content of our evaluation to meet the new legal requirements and enacted a Group standard for the stress check system, which is overseen by the safety and health committees of domestic Group companies and sites. Seiko Epson began implementing stress checks in line with this standard in 2016.
Employees whose mental health troubles have caused them to take time off from their jobs can benefit from our back-to-work program. Since FY2007, the program has helped smooth the transition back to the workplace and avoid recurring troubles. Depending on their situation, employees may meet with medical professionals and industrial counselors, working with them as a team to plot their approach. Moreover, the employee's primary care physician, workplace manager, and human resources department work together closely to provide better support. In FY2016 we updated the back-to-work program and extended the maximum length of leaves of absence due to personal injury or illness from 18 months to 30 months so that employees can focus on recovery and recuperation.
Hygiene and Health Training Overseas
Epson considers the potential of food poisonings in employee cafeterias and the spread of contagious diseases in the workplace to be serious risks that could interfere with business activities.
In the 2016 fiscal year, we strengthened actions to better manage hygiene and risks. We had occupational health staff from eight Epson manufacturing companies in China and six in Southeast Asia gather in Japan to undergo training to ensure effective management of hygiene and prevent the spread of contagious diseases. Using what they learned and the information they received, they then developed their own education programs and awareness campaigns for their respective companies.
Standard Life-Saving Training
Since the end of the 2015 fiscal year three employees of Epson Group companies in Japan have suffered cardiac arrest while on the job.
We had been providing standard life-saving training to personnel at all sites, but the number of people receiving training was limited. So, from the 2016 fiscal year we began training all personnel at all Epson Group sites in Japan in CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED). The training is hands-on and enables our people to provide the best first aid and emergency medical care in the event they should need to. About 7,500 employees had received training by the end of March 2017.
Fire and Disaster Prevention
Epson is resolved not to be the source of any disaster. That is why we have declared to be an accident-free workplace. Under our slogan of "Protecting our business through our own efforts," we have organized independent fire brigades to help protect ourselves and our property. Epson Disaster Prevention Day falls on the last work day of each August. On that day, we run fire and disaster drills based on a Group-wide plan to prepare for a wide-scale disaster. Our emergency communication systems use IT equipment to check up on the safety of employees and their family members. We conduct drills at getting information out via satellite phones or other emergency communication equipment. Through these approaches we are strengthening our disaster prevention systems and raising employee awareness.
Formation of Independent Fire Brigades
Epson has had independent fire brigades in place for more than six decades. The first formed in 1955, with 15 members dedicated to protecting their factory from fire. As our business has grown, so have these fire brigades. There are now approximately 900 employee firefighters active at business sites in Japan and at facilities around the world. Fire brigade members train continuously to protect life and company property.
Purpose and Significance of Independent Fire Brigade Initiatives
- Regular training teaches members about firefighting techniques and skills and raises their safety awareness so they can take immediate and proper action in an emergency. This is part of company safety education.
- Initiatives help employees take the lead during fire or natural disasters. Members help to ensure personal safety (relief work) and minimize damage to facilities and equipment (initial fire-fighting).
- Employees who learn about safety and firefighting techniques and skills become key members of the workplace to instruct others there. They model fire/ disaster prevention and safety for all employees, which raise workplace awareness of the same.
- Initiatives to fight fire enhance communication. Fire brigades are a good place to foster friendships between members from different departments, develop character, and cultivate human resources.
Fire Brigade Competitions
Epson has held an annual fire brigade competition for the past 30 years. The competition gives brigade members a chance to show off what they have learned from their training. It also energizes us as an organization and fosters a sense of solidarity.
The year 2016 marked the 30th anniversary of the event. President Minoru Usui and a number of directors were on hand to commemorate the event and watch the 700 participants compete. In total, 37 teams appeared, including 22 in the small pump division (male and female), eight in the indoor fire hydrant division (female), and seven in the bugle band division. We had a record number of teams from overseas participate in 2016. There were 13 teams from 11 manufacturing sites in the Greater China Region and Southeast Asia, including first-time participants from four manufacturing sites who visited as observers last year. This year's competition provided proof of the steady progress being made overseas in terms of skills and awareness.
Epson has moved major production lines offshore. If a fire were to occur at a manufacturing site outside Japan, it could have a significant impact on product supply and other business activities. It is therefore essential for Epson to improve firefighting skills and disaster awareness at manufacturing sites outside Japan. Competitions are an excellent opportunity to raise fire and disaster prevention and management awareness and capabilities and to better understand the Group's stance on fire-fighting and disaster preparedness. Epson will continue to take action to improve its disaster prevention efforts.