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Note 8: HSE management

Management systems

Operational management systems at our sites are integrated for quality and HSE. They are risk-based and follow the Responsible Care® and Coatings Care® principles. Our HSE management standards are set up and updated in accordance with international standards such as ISO-14001, RC-14001 and OHSAS-18001. In 2011, we verified our corporate HSE process safety framework against the PAS 55 (public standard for process safety). Any identified gaps will be closed in 2012. Many sites and businesses have additional external certification for their management systems, which are subject to audit by our internal audit group and external audits from certification authorities.

External certification






in % of production















HSE audit

The HSE audit process combines a continuous improvement tool for sites with a periodic audit managed by our internal auditing department. For most sites, the audit frequency is every five years. For sites with an intrinsic high hazard rating, this frequency is every three years.

Management audits
number of audits

Management audits number of audits (bar chart)

During 2011, we carried out 62 (2010: 51) corporate HSE audits and four (2010: 10) reassurance audits, which are required for sites with high risk findings. Learnings from the 2011 audits indicate that we need to continue to improve our management of occupational health, asset integrity and, to a lesser extent, security.

We run regional training sessions for auditors in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia to calibrate the classification of audit findings, and share good practice and new developments.

Safety incidents

We classify incidents based on severity of outcome, from local impact (Level 1) to the highest category (Level 3). All safety incidents are investigated to identify root causes, take remedial action and share learning. Sharing takes place via direct notifications and the issue of HSE alerts, as appropriate, across our sites.

Safety incidents

Safety incidents (bar chart)

There were eight (2010: 10) safety incidents (Level 3). We regret that two employees, one independent contractor and four members of the public died as a result of these incidents. The number of Level 1, 2 and 3 safety incidents totaled 36 (2010: 32).

  • Two colleagues died while carrying out their jobs. One while performing inspection tasks at a customer shipyard in China, and a second at one of our sites in Singapore
  • One independent contractor died in Pakistan while performing community work on behalf of AkzoNobel outside our premises in Pakistan
  • Four distribution incidents (in Colombia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Germany) involved the loss of life of four members of the public
  • There were two environmental incidents. Both involved the loss of ethylene oxide to surface waters in Sweden: one is classified Level 1 and the other Level 3 (see “Process safety”)

The majority of safety incidents this year happened outside our own premises. A greater focus on haulage contract management and implementation of safe defensive driving practices has therefore been initiated.

(For further details on preventive action, see “People health and safety” and “Product stewardship”.)

Regulatory actions

We have defined three categories of regulatory action, from self-reported issues (Level 1) to formal legal notifications with fines above €10,000 (Level 3).

Regulatory actions















Regulatory actions Level 3







There were no Level 3 regulatory actions in 2011 (2010: 4).

Security management

Security of assets, people and information is an integral part of our HSE management system. Security assessments help our sites to identify risks and put in place appropriate security protection, as well as meeting the demands of increasingly strict legislation in the US and Europe.

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