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.
Online Health Management Support System
Since FY2011, Epson and our Group companies in Japan have effectively and efficiently supported employee health management with an online system. The health management support system provides a site for employees to view their own health information, including health history. This is a useful tool for personal health management. It also helps to standardize health management department operations and boost efficiency.
Mental Health Initiatives
Seiko Epson and Epson Group companies in Japan are pursuing a variety of initiatives that focus on preventing mental health issues and seeking to foster dynamic workplaces marked by rich personal relationships.
We began mental health training in 2000 and have continued it since then. We provided group training for new employees, mid-level employees, and others in senior staff positions. Certain online courses have been designed for all employees. Employees also gather together to read out loud from a mental health textbook. One of the training seminars we offer is called "Around 35: Mental Health for the Prime of Your Career." It is offered to employees around age 35-an age when they typically see significant changes in their role within the company as well as stressful events in their private lives. This seminar aims to help them to better understand themselves, deal with stress, and maintain their own mental health. It is held about 20 times a year between September and February, with more than 300 employees participating annually.
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 employees in Japan have received an occupational stress diagnosis when they get their periodic medical checkup. The main purpose is to help employees practice self-care when they feel stress. Occupational physicians, nurses, and industrial counselors follow up with employees diagnosed as highly stressed. This has facilitated early detection and response to mental health troubles.
Nationally, a stress diagnosis system came into force in December 2015 based on the Industrial Safety and Health Act. We have updated our own diagnoses by adding considerations required by the law. We have established Group stress diagnosis standards that were deliberated by the Safety and Health Committees of Group companies, plants, and offices in Japan. Starting in FY2016, our stress diagnoses follow these standards. We use this process not only to help employees practice self-care against stress but also to improve the workplace environment.
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.
Managing Sanitation in Employee Cafeterias
A food poisoning incident occurred in one of our employee cafeterias in 2011. This prompted periodic inspections of kitchen sanitation management at employee cafeterias at business sites in Japan. Kitchen sanitation supervisors and other related staff work together during these inspections. In this manner we are improving the state of sanitation management and addressing any facility problems. The risk is not only in Japan. If a food poisoning incident were to happen at an employee cafeteria at a large-scale production site overseas (especially in China or Southeast Asia), it could seriously impact employees' health and impede business continuity. Therefore, since FY2012 we have been taking steps at production sites in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines to manage sanitation and risk.
These initiatives have received continuous support from the Head Office in Japan. In FY2015, sanitation managers from Head Office visited affiliates in Wuxi and Fujian, China. They checked cafeteria sanitation in those places and also conducted follow ups. The result of this initiative is that companies in Japan and abroad learn to identify sanitation management issues for themselves and systematically improve on therefore, raising the level of cafeteria sanitation management.
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.
Fire Safety Education for Employees' Family Members (China)
In June 2015, Epson Precision (Shenzhen) Ltd. (EPSL) provided fire safety education to the families of employees living in company housing. The families learned how to use fire extinguishers, practiced how to safely evacuate a burning building, and watched a safety movie. The training not only taught participants proper evacuation practices and emergency actions to take in the event of a fire, it also raised awareness about fire prevention.