Grace's commitment to the highest Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) standards as well as all applicable laws is codified in our global EHS Management System. While every employee is responsible for safe behavior, Grace provides a safe and healthful workplace and ensures that safety and environmental priorities are incorporated in the planning and daily execution of the company's business.
Dedication to the highest standards
We are dedicated to the highest standards of EHS practices. Our Global Environment, Health Safety & Security Policy confirms our commitment to the Responsible Care® initiative and the Responsible Care Global Charter, including, among other things, our commitment to:
- design and operate facilities in a safe, secure, and environmentally sound manner;
- promote pollution prevention, minimization of waste, and conservation of energy and other critical resources at every stage of the life cycle of products;
- make continual progress toward a goal of no accidents, injuries, or harm to human health and the environment from products and operations, and openly report health, safety, environmental, and security performance.
Adherence to this policy and to the highest EHS standards is overseen by the Grace EHS Steering Committee. The committee meets quarterly to track progress on EHS Management System effectiveness, improvement initiatives, and key performance indicators (KPIs). EHS teams provide executive briefings on EHS programs and KPIs to Grace Leadership at monthly and quarterly business review meetings.
Our customers and neighboring communities can be assured that we have established robust environment, health, and safety programs and that we continue to reduce the environmental impact of our facilities and products. At all manufacturing locations, we have institutionalized programs to increase process efficiency, reduce waste, and save energy. Grace has implemented energy management systems, certified to the ISO 50001 standard, at our facilities in Worms and Duren, Germany.
The global framework for our EHS activities is our EHS Management System. Adherence to the EHS Management System is audited annually and certified every three years by third-party registrars to demonstrate regulatory compliance and conformance with the requirements of the American Chemistry Council's Responsible Care® initiative.
The Responsible Care Management System is an all-encompassing management system specific to the chemical industry designed to cover health, safety, process safety, product stewardship, and logistics. Facilities undergo re-certification audits by the third-party registrar to ensure conformance to RCMS / ISO45001 requirements. The facilities covered under both RCMS and OHSAS 18001/ISO45000 encompass 34 percent of our operations.
Sixty percent of Grace's 22 manufacturing sites (Grace’s manufacturing sites are in the U.S., Germany, Canada, Sweden, Spain, Brazil, South Korea, and Malaysia) are currently certified to the technical standards of the Responsible Care® Management System or the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 14001. Certification involves the identification of a plant's environmental impacts and the establishment of targets for continuous improvement. Other sites are undergoing the certification process, and our goal is to increase the number of sites with certified management systems in each of the coming years.
Our facilities are also subject to periodic customer and regulatory audits to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements as well as ISO and Good Manufacturing Process (GMP) standards.
Training is fundamental to ensuring our workforce has the skills to meet our goals of No One Hurt, Nothing Out of Place, and No Harm from our Products. The Grace Responsible Care Management System establishes minimum global requirements for identifying, providing, and tracking training of employees to minimize environmental, health and safety impacts. These requirements are supplemented by specific training requirements contained is corporate implementing procedures for specific situations. Each Grace facility is responsible for maintaining a site-specific training program covering both Grace employees as well as contractors.
We regularly communicate our EHSS performance, programs, and initiatives to our internal and external stakeholders. As part of our Responsible Care Management System, our facilities participate in community action panels, work with our suppliers to promote robust environment, health, safety and security management systems, conduct audits of their programs, and work with suppliers to improve their performance.
In alignment with our Responsible Care Management System, Grace maintains implementing procedures to ensure our facilities operate in a safe and environmentally sound manner, meet or exceed applicable regulatory requirements, and foster continual improvement in our operations around the world. Our facilities develop and implement programs to meet the requirements outlined in our implementing procedures. Below is an illustrative list of topic areas that our procedures cover:
- Lock Out Tag Out
- Confined Space Entry
- Hot Work
- Fall Protection
- Hearing Conservation
- Line Breaking
- Contractor and Visitor Safety
- Emergency Response Plans
- Safety Stand Downs
- EHS Training
- Personal Protective Equipment
- Portable Ladder Safety
- Safety Observations
- Powered Industrial Trucks
- Respiratory Protection
- Process Hazard Analysis
- Mechanical Integrity
- And many more
Grace has a fully integrated enterprise risk management (ERM) process. Amongst other evaluations, this process assesses business continuity risks such as key sites or systems being compromised or failing due to any number of potential initiating events. Our risk assessment process includes the evaluation of transition risks arising from emerging regulations, market acceptance and technological trends including the transition to a lower-carbon future and acute and chronic physical risks such as extreme weather events and heat stress. All of these are evaluated as potential hazards and ranked in conjunction with all other risks.
As part of its Responsible Care Management System, Grace regularly determines the environmental aspects of its activities, products, and services and their associated environmental impacts that are relevant to the organization, including its current and planned operations, and any abnormal conditions that may arise as a result of impacts directly related to climate change. Risks are communicated to the relevant stakeholders within the ERM process for review.
Material risks pertaining to climate are reported on an as-needed basis to the Corporate Responsibility Committee and on a semi-annual basis.
Emergency response program
Emergency preparedness is a key component to our Management System. All Grace facilities are required to maintain emergency response programs and plans. We conduct emergency response drills involving cross-functional teams up to and including the Grace Leadership Team on a regular basis to continually improve our emergency response programs and plans.
All of our facilities have one or more of the following: specialized onsite emergency response teams, contracts with local third-party response providers or a close working relationship with local governmental authorities to be prepared for emergencies. Several locations with onsite teams also participate in local mutual assistance programs. Additionally, Grace has HAZMAT specialists trained and available to quickly respond to off-site incidents of certain high hazard chemicals.
Grace uses CHEMTREC as its 24/7/365 emergency response call center and has several country/regionally specific arrangements in Asia. All known incidents are tracked, and investigations conducted following the procedures employed for other incidents.