Note 11: HSE management processes

Management systems

Operational excellence at our sites is supported by risk-based management systems that follow the Responsible Care® and Coatings Care® principles. Our HSE rules and procedures are set up and updated in accordance with international standards such as ISO-14001, RC-14001, OHSAS-18001 and PAS 55 (public standard for process safety). Many sites and businesses also have external certification for their management systems, which are subject to internal and external audit.

External certification










In % of manufacturing sites



























Maturity framework

We have a common maturity framework for measuring HSE management progress at our sites which includes a self-assessment and audit. The HSE maturity framework is being used to drive continuous improvement. The average improvement of sites was 5 percent in 2013 and 6 percent in 2014, while there was a further reduction of 22 percent in the total reportable injury rate (TRR).

Self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ)

The SAQ, which covers all elements of the HSE management system, has been repositioned as the company-wide HSE improvement planning tool. To maintain relevance to major programs rolled out during recent years (e.g. the PSM framework), the questionnaire was thoroughly revised during 2014. The new version will be effective from January 2015.

HSE audit

The periodic HSE audit for sites uses the same maturity questionnaire as the one sites use for their continuous improvement activity (SAQ). The audits are conducted by HSE experts from the businesses and managed by the global Internal Audit function. All sites carry out an annual self-assessment and the results are used to prepare site improvement plans, while it also provides input for the corporate HSE audits. Together, the corporate HSE regulations and auditing create the assurance framework.

Management audits
number of audits

Management audits, number of audits (bar chart)Management audits, number of audits (bar chart)

For most sites, the audit frequency is every five years. For sites with a high hazard rating, this frequency is every three years. A formal review of the intrinsic hazard rating for all sites takes place every year leading to updates if necessary.

A new introduction during 2014 was the so-called multi-site HSE audits. These are carried out at locations where more than one business is represented. Over the course of the year, we carried out 55 corporate HSE audits (2013: 46), three site closure audits (2013: 4) and five reassurance audits (2013: 6), which are required for sites with high risk findings.

The newly established global Process Safety Management program will support all sites in improving management of asset integrity and process safety, which have been identified as key areas for improvement in recent years. The first results are visible for the high hazard sites.

Early in the year, lead auditors and new trainees from North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia were trained in the different regions.

Safety incidents

Safety incidents are those that involve severe consequences requiring an independent investigation. We investigate all safety incidents to increase the safety of operations. The lessons learned are shared company-wide.

We classify safety incidents based on severity of outcome (Level 1 - Level 3). The total number of Level 1, 2 and 3 safety incidents slightly increased to 15 (2013: 14). Of these 15, there was one Level 2 and one Level 3 incident, compared with 2013, when all incidents recorded were at the lower Level 1 (severe local impact).

Level 3 safety incident:

  • A member of the public, a bus driver, died following a traffic accident involving a bus contracted to AkzoNobel at Itupeva in Brazil

Safety incidents (Level 3)

Safety incidents (Level 3) (bar chart)Safety incidents (Level 3) (bar chart)

Safety incidents (Level 3): Incidents involving loss of life, more than five severe injuries, environmental, assets or business damage totaling more than €25 million, or extensive reputational damage.

Four of the 15 safety incidents involved entrapment in moving machinery, three involved driving and three slips and falls. These reinforce our continued focus on safe driver training, behavior-based safety and Life-Saving Rules. Implementation progress, and compliance, is monitored and shared with the Executive Committee and line management on a monthly basis.

Regulatory actions

We have defined four categories of regulatory actions, from self-reported issues (Level 1) to a formal notice of a criminal prosecution or penalty greater than €100,000 (Level 4). Compared with 2013, the regulatory action Level 4 has been added, since it is more in line with materiality levels for AkzoNobel.

As in previous years, we did not receive any formal notifications of a criminal prosecution or penalty greater than €100,000, which suggests that our people, product and process safety programs, stewardship and behavior-based safety programs continue to have an effect on reducing the number of serious injuries and significant losses of containment.

Regulatory actions



















Regulatory action (Level 4): A formal notice of a criminal prosecution or (conditional) penalty greater than €100,000. These are reported to indicate to management the potential for reputational damage and the effect on our license to operate.

Regulatory actions (Level 4)









HSE capability building

HSE professionals and line managers with critical HSE functions develop their competencies based on our integrated supply chain competencies framework, proficiency levels and job profiles. Core programs are delivered and further developed by using a blended learning approach which includes, for example, assignments, e-learning, classroom training, virtual classrooms and webinars.

In 2014, the HSE offering expanded with learning activities for senior leaders, frontline leaders in manufacturing and non-manufacturing leaders. These activities have been piloted and will become a part of the HSE curriculum in 2015. Next year, emphasis will also be directed towards the impact of change in behavior and learning on-the-job.

We will provide advanced safety leadership training for manufacturing site management, including direct dialog with our most senior leaders on safety performance and improvement plans. The program will provide site managers with the opportunity to benchmark internally, receive coaching from experienced peers and share best practices worldwide.

Awareness of product stewardship among our business management teams has been raised. In 2014, we piloted awareness training with two of our business teams, which focused on identifying product stewardship opportunities that add value to AkzoNobel. We will continue to roll this training out more widely in 2015.

We also continue to build a community of highly capable Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs (PSRA) professionals within the company. In 2014, we finalized a curriculum and competency framework which maps out the skills needed to progress within the PSRA function in AkzoNobel. Our aligned PSRA training programs provide training in the competencies required. We held PSRA Level 1 training (fundamentals) in South America and in Asia. In total, 79 percent of eligible PSRA professionals have now completed this training, while in 2015 we will make it available for other functions. We also held specialized (PSRA Level 2) training in human risk assessment and national substance management regulations, including Korea, Indonesia and China.

In 2015, we will continue to roll out Level 2 and Level 3 (advanced) training for our PSRA community.

HSE capability development












In % of target group








Ambition 2014


Ambition 2015

HSE critical leaders workshop











Level 1 PSRA program