Conducting business responsibly


The continuous improvement of a safe work environment is both a high priority and a key component of Covestro’s corporate responsibility and corporate culture. Our primary goals include preventing injuries, disruptions at plants and accidents during transportation, as well as safeguarding the health of all employees in the workplace and during work-related activities. This also applies to third-party employees (contractors) who work for our company within the scope of operational activities. Detailed rules and regular checks are instrumental in meeting these goals, as are safe production processes, plants and transportation. There is an equal focus on protecting the environment and the well-being of everyone who comes into contact with our products. In addition, we developed and launched the SafeGuard program, which allows us to address all aspects of safety of importance to Covestro in a comprehensive and global manner. Please continue reading for details on SafeGuard.

For more information, see section “Safety” in the GRI Supplement

Occupational health and safety

A harmonized reporting system implemented throughout the Group exists for reporting and processing work accidents and potential hazards. The classification complies with U.S. OSHA standard 1904 “Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illness”. After an accident is reported to the plant or site officer, the data is then consolidated in the Integrated Information Management System (IIMS), a software application developed by Covestro. IIMS makes it possible to identify both positive and negative developments and trends in the area of safety in real time so that corresponding short-term corrective and long-term improvement measures can be implemented if necessary. Covestro’s safety experts, supported by external expertise if needed, analyze the background circumstances and the consequences of an incident. The results of the cause analysis conducted after an incident occurs and the corrective measures taken are published throughout the Group in order to raise employees’ safety awareness; as a result, everybody can better assess comparable hazards and situations as well as proactively remedy them.

Covestro processes workplace accidents involving the company’s own staff and contractors as part of the (RIR) and lost time recordable incident rate (LTRIR), as per OSHA 1904. This statistic measures the number of accidents per hours worked (standard of 200,000 hours per year). It takes into account all work accidents with injuries requiring medical treatment beyond first-aid measures.

We continuously work to keep the accident figures as low as possible in the future as well. In recent years, for example, we have developed a comprehensive concept of measures to prevent accidents by employees of external companies. Through special safety programs for contractor employees and the consistent inclusion of outside companies in ongoing safety activities at our sites, we have helped to ensure that the number of accidents involving contractor employees has declined significantly. In recent years we have reached a year-on-year safety plateau with our own employees. In other words, the accident figures show only minor positive or negative changes. We began developing a program in 2018 with an eye to breaking through this plateau and ushering in a long-term positive trend. This program intends to reduce the incidence of errors and improve the consistency of decision-making in crisis situations. By implementing the SafeGuard program, we expect to generate further momentum that will help to raise the safety level and consequently register fewer accidents. To this end, Covestro is currently defining 24 focal points and developing corresponding, discipline-specific solutions.

Since 2016, we have analyzed all near-misses for their potential risk of a serious accident. We expanded this procedure in 2018 to include all other types of events, which we evaluate according to a defined set of criteria with regard to an event’s potential which, under other circumstances, could have led to a High Potential Event (HPE). Events classified as HPEs are thus treated as events that have actually occurred; they require a detailed cause analysis and must be communicated. The analysis of the data in 2018 resulted in the same priority activities that had already been identified in 2017. The priorities concern protecting employees’ hands at work and human-machine interaction. Promoting safety awareness among employees is essential for minimizing hazards during day-to-day operations. In 2018, Covestro celebrated an anniversary, awarding the CEO Safety Award for the tenth time. All employees were once again called upon to submit suggestions for improving safety and to apply for the annual internal CEO Safety Award. All of the ideas were evaluated by a jury of in-house participants; the Chair of the Covestro Board of Management, Dr. Markus Steilemann, presented awards to the winners.

Process and plant safety

We aim to ensure the safety of our processes and plants in a way that avoids unacceptable risks to our employees, our neighbors and the environment. We conduct extensive, systematic safety inspections at regular intervals. A globally standardized KPI, (LoPC), applies to all Covestro plants and is an early indicator integrated into Group-wide safety reporting. LoPC refers to, for example, chemicals in amounts above defined thresholds leaking from their primary containers, such as pipelines, pumps, tanks or drums. We use the LoPC Incident Rate (LoPC-IR) to determine the number of LoPC incidents per 200,000 working hours per year in areas relevant to plant safety. The continuous improvement in plant safety at Covestro is also reflected in the decline in the LoPC rate compared with the previous year.

Rate of Plant Safety Incidents











1 LoPC IR (Loss of primary containment incident rate): Number of plant incidents per 200,000 working hours annually

2 The number of hours worked was calculated by multiplying the average number of employees for the year by average values determined using OECD statistics and other figures. The number of underlying working hours was retroactively adjusted for fiscal 2017.

LoPC IR1, 2





Every LoPC incident as well as minor and near-miss incidents are carefully analyzed to determine their causes, and the results and corrective actions taken are publicized throughout the Group. The criteria (e.g. very low threshold or nonhazardous substance releases) were selected so that even releases of substances or energy that have no impact on employees, neighbors or the environment are systematically recorded. This contributes to maintaining the integrity of our facilities. The findings of last year’s analyses were evaluated in a company-wide program called SafeGuard, and a Group-wide initiative was launched focusing on “Development of the organization and qualifications,” “Process and plant safety,” “Technological standardization” and “Process control technology and process analysis technology.” The global exchange of experiences relevant to safety and the definition of globally binding standard processes and their uniform implementation are intended to help maintain the existing high standard of procedural and plant safety within the company.

Environmental and transportation incidents

Side by side with continuous improvement of process and plant safety and safety in the workplace, we are constantly working on making the transportation of our products safer. We report all incidents at all sites operated by Covestro worldwide in line with our internal directives. These are documented according to defined criteria such as quantitiy of loss of containment, material hazard class, degree of personal injury and blocked transportation routes. In the case of hazardous materials, we voluntarily record and categorize all leaks starting with as little as 50 kilograms. In addition to numerous regional monitoring activities, a gap analysis was conducted in 2018 to verify compliance with the rules of the Group-wide guideline entitled Transport and Logistics Safety. Corresponding corrective measures were derived from the findings and implemented.

RIR/recordable incident rate
Total number of workplace accidents per 200,000 working hours
LoPC/loss of primary containment
Leaks of chemicals in amounts above defined thresholds leaking from their primary containers, such as pipelines, pumps, tanks and drums