6.1.3. Health management
Solvay implements conservative, internationally vetted methods to identify, assess, and manage potential exposures to hazardous chemicals, including when new hazards are revealed. Over 80 occupational physicians provide risk-based medical surveillance for Solvay workers. This means supplying local medical teams with tools and dedicated medical protocols. Another significant effort is the well-being program currently getting under way.
Solvay’s advanced health policy requires the increasing adaptation of every employee’s periodic medical surveillance to individual health risk profiles, with a particular attention paid to SVHC, noise, and persons with safety-sensitive tasks*.
sites with with an advanced risk-based medical surveillance
sites performing the human biomonitoring of exposure
*Safety-sensitive task: tasks where health problems could impair correct execution and lead to severe or fatal injuries to others. They are driving forklifts, cars, or trucks; operating cranes, including overhead cranes; working with explosives in quarries; and excavation while mining.
Occupational disease prevention at the workplace
Prevention of work-related adverse health effects starts with a good knowledge of the risks for health, including ergonomic risks. For decades, Solvay has deployed standards and guidelines aiming to prevent health risks at work. The focus is put on identifying potential risks at both the design and manufacturing stages and giving recommendations in due time, taking into account human capabilities and restrictions.
General health promotion
Sites implement evidence-based actions for health promotion that are not specifically linked with potential risks at work, adapted to local contexts and issues. The main health awareness programs focus on addiction prevention in general, anti-smoking programs, nutrition campaigns, prevention of cardiovascular diseases, maternity care programs, seasonal flu vaccination, and reducing sedentary behaviours by increasing physical activity. Globally, seasonal flu vaccination is very widely deployed, while other health actions are implemented on a case by case basis.
Advanced health surveillance for employees
Solvay's policy promotes adapting each employee’s periodic medical surveillance to their individual health risk profile. Risk profiles are created as part of Solvay’s industrial hygiene program.
Solvay produces practical guidance to help occupational physicians use industrial hygiene data. The Group screens and prioritizes the information based on hazardous agents’ properties and exposure data to provide accurate individual risks profiles, which are then sent to the medical team.
of production and R&I sites with advanced risk-based medical surveillance
Manufacturing and R&I sites with advanced medical surveillance
Since 2017, the progress indicator for advanced risk-based medical surveillance has been redefined. It now includes the completion of exposure assessments, the effective transmission of this IH information to the medical service for OH, and the performance of the medical surveillance accordingly.
Human biomonitoring of exposure (HBM)
sites performing human biomonitoring of exposure
HBM consists in measuring the concentration of a substance or its metabolites in human fluids (such as urine or blood). HBM can be used to assess exposure to specific chemicals. Unlike monitoring the atmospheric presence of certain contaminants in work spaces, HBM takes into account what has really been absorbed by the human body via all exposure pathways (inhalation, skin penetration, etc.) and under different working conditions (physical effort, PPE, etc.). HBM helps to verify whether protective measures are working. It is particularly useful for substances that penetrate the skin, have a systemic effect, or accumulate in the body. Thirty five sites are currently performing HBM of exposure.
International travellers’ health - best practices
Solvay’s preventive approach regarding travel health risks is communicated to all employees via Solvay’s Travel Policy. Travelling can negatively impact health, or at least require preventive measures. Solvay seeks to ensure medical surveillance for travellers that is consistent with local regulations, internal standards, best practices, and the latest scientific knowledge:
- Periodic medical visits are recommended for all frequent travellers to evaluate their health status and give recommendations.
- Pre-travel medical visits are recommended for destinations with risks of key infectious diseases, for travel with a duration of more than four hours, and when crossing several time zones. Medical recommendations are made to alleviate jet lag and/or other possible sleeping problems.
- In addition, Solvay has contracted an Assistance Service that provides all business travellers with 24/7 access to world-class medical and security services via a single provider (International SOS). One call puts them in touch with doctors, nurses, logistics co-ordinators, and security teams. Also, Assistance Service will contact individuals in the event of strikes, epidemics, catastrophies, attacks, or conflicts. They may also be alerted in the event of troubles in a particular area.