Safety, Health & Well-being

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Reporting period

The Sustainability section includes information from the combined entity for 12 months (DSM and Firmenich are reported as of 1 January 2023). The sustainability data in this Report cover all entities that belong to the scope of the Consolidated financial statements. If this is not the case this is mentioned specifically. As this is the first year of reporting for dsm-firmenich, no comparative data is available for 2022. For more information, see Sustainability statements.

The safety, health and well-being of our employees is our key priority and is anchored in our new Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) policy. The merger provides us with the opportunity to learn from each other and harmonize approaches and systems to higher maturity levels. Continued volatility in the world around us resulted in additional challenges, making safety, health and well-being more important than ever.

The merger and global developments in 2023 had a profound impact on our people throughout the year, from higher levels of personal uncertainty to increased workload levels. In turbulent times like these, we maintained a continuous focus on the safety, health, and well-being of our employees. The attention for safety & health focuses on three areas to ensure that they are embedded across our organization. It is our mission to provide an injury-free, healthy and secure workplace to everyone working in dsm-firmenich. As part of the merger process, new company targets on these three areas are under development. The first target to be set under this process will be the Frequency index Total Recordable Incident Rate for employees and contractors (TRIR-all).




Occupational safety



Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR)-all



Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR)-own






Process safety



Process Safety Incident rate






Occupational health



Health rate-all



Health cases-all




Occupational safety

Occupational safety is the safety of our employees and contractors in the workplace.

With a 2023 Safety performance TRIR of 0.31 (for the post-merger period of June – December, 0.30), our result is well above our long-term target level of 0.20 and clearly not where we want to be. Most (~60%) of the 2023 incidents were easily avoidable cases (e.g., slips/trips/bumps/handling of tools and equipment) resulting in only minor injuries. The investigations showed that they were not caused by a lack of procedures, training, or information, but mainly by individual behavior and awareness.

SHE leadership and SHE culture are key to addressing the continuing rise of behavioral incidents. Therefore, company-wide initiatives and discussions took place in many different leadership teams focusing on creating the right mindset and behavior of our people. To support that, we continued improving our SHE culture through the continuing roll-out and strengthening the effectiveness of our Behavior-Based Safety program (Safestart®).

Frequency Index of Recordable Injuries

Frequency of Recordable Injuries (line chart)

Key initiatives

We initiated several close-the-loop activities focusing on intense safety dialogues, especially during the shift handover at our manufacturing sites. We also started scavenger hunts on the shop floor for hand safety risks and the identification of slip, trip and fall situations. Additionally, we kept programs running that we benefitted from in recent history like our issue site programs where we focus on the sites with the most incidents to run dedicated improvement programs. To ensure our programs, initiatives and systems are fit for purpose for the new company, a detailed review, alignment and shaping exercise has been conducted after the merger. Priority was given to get the new organization in place, embracing SHE policy, Life Saving Rules, personal protective equipment (PPE) alignment, reporting and continuation of leadership and culture development programs. We plan to expand this in 2024 to create one set of policy requirements, procedures, and a common language for all of dsm-firmenich.

In the first quarter of 2023, we were honored to receive the prestigious Chemical Industry Sector Award for occupational health and safety excellence in former Firmenich from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). This world-leading accolade is a demonstration of our approach of continuous improvement toward the goal of zero harm and ensuring that all our colleagues and contractors go home safely each day.

To keep our contractors safe, we employ the same strategies as for our own organization, with a focus on learning from past incidents and on the robust implementation of our Life-Saving Rules.

Process safety

Process safety refers to the technical safety of our facilities. In 2023, the Process Safety Incident rate ended at 0.28. Despite improvements in many sites, we had a serious fire incident at our Pinova site in Brunswick (Georgia, USA). Fortunately, there were no injuries, but the facility damage was so significant that it resulted in the closure of the site.

As with occupational safety, we focused on the sites with the highest number of process safety recordable incidents in 2022 and they delivered a significant 77% incident reduction. Improvements were achieved by self-assessment tools addressing common technical root causes and specific site improvement plans. The continuing activities around our behavior-based programs and integration improvement programs contributed as well to this improvement.

Frequency Index of Process safety incidents

Frequency of Process Safety Incidents (line chart)

In addition to the above, sites integrated all process safety information into a single process safety management system. We continued to monitor and manage the process safety life cycle, including promoting a ‘first-time-right’ approach and evaluating its effectiveness. Alongside merger activities we adapted the networks for process safety experts, started to review our process safety procedures and guidelines.

We continued to strengthen the development of regional and local competences. For example, we delivered dedicated process safety training modules for shop floor teams and staff, for example, on LOTOTO (Lock Out, Tag Out, Try Out), handling of self-heating materials, safe powder handling, and bonding and grounding. Furthermore, we conducted 39 fire protection integrity assessments at affiliates world-wide, reflecting the importance placed on protecting our people and assets from fire and natural hazards. Audits cover both organizational and technical readiness.

Health & well-being

Occupational health and industrial hygiene

Industrial hygiene focusses on eliminating or minimizing work exposure to health hazards by engineering controls and/or personal protective equipment while occupational health deals with the effects of exposure, avoiding occupational diseases and providing needed health care for our workers. In 2023, we recorded a health incident rate for employees and contractors of 0.14 consisting of 50 occupational health incidents of employees and contractors.

Occupational health and industrial hygiene (line chart)

A significant share of health incidents recorded this year (8 out of 50) involved hearing losses recorded in one of our production sites located in China. This site was acquired in the recent past and this was the first time that hearing tests had been carried out locally based on dsm-firmenich standards, which are stricter than local legal standards.

Ergonomics remained the leading cause for occupational health injuries. In total 63% of the recorded cases were related to ergonomics issues. To address that, we are implementing in selected sites a program dedicated to ergonomics, which covers elements such risk assessment, engineering controls, medical surveillance, and training. In addition, we are rolling out an innovative training method based on the use of wearable devices that can detect and immediately feedback unhealthy posture and movements. These devices provide the opportunity to train workers on what constitutes healthy movement, and to identify tasks that might need to be reengineered.

Besides ergonomics, we have continued to focus on prevention of health hazards in the workplace. We have established an internal committee that brings industrial hygienists, toxicologists, and product stewardship experts together. This committee oversees our internal occupational exposure limits for substances not regulated by government agencies. Another preventive action in 2023 was participating in the global Mental Health and Well-being Program in alignment with the Global Vitality Office and HR.

To strengthen industrial hygiene for the years to come, we initiated the implementation of a single management system for all industrial hygiene risk assessments. The system will be rolled out in 2024 and will enable a better sharing of relevant health data, to easily find and implement our best practices as well as identifying needs for further improvements.

Employee health & well-being

At dsm-firmenich, living our purpose starts with creating a culture of health and well-being at work, where every employee is encouraged to make healthy choices. We continuously strive to support our people in pursuing a proactive and preventative approach to health and well-being, especially during periods of change.

The Global Vitality Office was established in 2023 to help our people make positive choices for their long-term health, creating a culture of health at work. Drawing on dsm-firmenich’s expertise in nutrition, health and beauty, the Office will use the health, beauty and nutrition knowledge and experience from the dsm-firmenich organization, and ‘walk the talk’. It supports this by providing ‘state of the art’ health and vitality information, creating global campaigns, frameworks, and standards to guide preventative healthcare measures across the company. Most importantly, it will connect all Vitality ambassadors in the organization to learn from each other and to make more impact for all colleagues.

Recent activities and implementations include:

  • BoostYourVitality: a dsm-firmenich global vitality platform which connects all vitality initiatives and offers exclusive access to many informative articles, engaging webinars, lifestyle test, and cutting-edge products to all dsm-firmenich employees free of charge, as well as, access to products in an integrated webshop for reduced prices
  • dsm-firmenich’s partnership with Thrive Global, a leading behavior change company, to support our people with resources to improve their well-being and productivity, available to all employees
  • To mark World Mental Health Day in October 2023, we organized a global webinar together with Thrive to help employees spot the warning signs of mental health challenges so that they can build mental resilience, make the changes they need, and live a happier, healthier, more productive life
  • In 2023 we set up a global Mental Health and Well-being Program in alignment with the SHE and HR departments. In 2024 we will launch this further aiming to increase both employee and leadership awareness, fostering a supportive and safe workplace, and to provide a support system

We will also develop, implement and sustain practices in this area and monitor their effectiveness and positive impact.

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