2019 Annual Integrated Report

Risk description

A major accident on site (occupational, process) or chronic exposure of employees (industrial hygiene) can cause fatalities, irreversible injuries, or damage to the environment or assets.

Prevention and mitigation actions

During 2018 and 2019 Solvay redefined its strategy for HSE and issued a new set of Solvay HSE Minimum Requirements to create a shared understanding and approach to mitigating our major risks. As part of this new approach, Solvay also implemented a new way of working, including a more collaborative and supportive approach to HSE across the Group.

Solvay’s HSE strategy is based on the following four levers:

  • Culture: Promoting the desired safety culture across all employees and contractors,
  • Continuous improvement: Utilizing networking, best practices sharing, use of common methods and tools, Solvay HSE Minimum Requirements, external watch and benchmarking to grow our HSE performance,
  • Competency: Ensuring all employees have the right level of knowledge and understanding to take decisions that impact HSE, beginning with key positions; and
  • Compliance: Detecting and mitigating regulatory and non-regulatory compliance issues with a focus on priority risks in both operations and products.

There are three industrial risks considered:

  1. An occupational safety incident which results in a fatality or irreversible (life-altering) injury.
  2. A significant process safety incident which results in fatalities, irreversible injuries, environmental harm, and/or loss of physical assets.
  3. A chronic release of chemicals that results in irreversible harm to people or the environment.

Occupational safety

Solvay has always maintained a strong focus on occupational safety. While the Group has seen a consistent reduction in the number of workplace injuries over the years, Solvay has averaged one fatal injury (including contractors) per year since 2010. In order to make a sustainable change, in 2018, Solvay began its journey to creating a Safety Culture where all employees work together and care for one another. The initial results have been positive with a 30% reduction in the number of injuries over two years and no fatalities for the past two years (first time since 2000 that the Group has had two consecutive years without a fatality).

Solvay’s Safety Excellence Plan supports the development of a strong safety culture through the involvement and engagement of all Solvay employees. The Safety Excellence Plan includes such activities as Safety Days, Leadership Safety Visits, Behavior Based Safety programs, and an individual HSE objective for each employee.

All Solvay HSE Minimum Requirements for the Solvay Life Saving Rules (SLSR) have been implemented. The implementation process included onboarding, gap assessments, and follow-up audits at the local level.

Occupational Safety results are reviewed monthly by GBUs and at the Executive Committee level.

Process safety management

Solvay applies a preventive risk-based approach founded on systematic process safety risk analyses and management of change processes.

Industrial hygiene

Solvay has implemented a comprehensive approach to reducing chemical exposure risk in the workplace. Our approach includes: chemical risk assessments, risk based medical surveillance, using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, pandemic preparedness plans, and human biomonitoring when warranted. In addition, for some chemicals (e.g. nano materials), Solvay defines more conservative exposure limits.


As a minimum requirement, the discharges of substances from our plants meet all local applicable emission limit values. In addition, for chronic releases of potentially dangerous chemicals, risk assessments are made on a periodic basis to ensure that the impact on the environment or on the neighbouring population falls within strict limits, determined by environmental quality standards or by exposure limits.

2019 main actions

Occupational safety

  • Release of new Minimum Requirements for Solvay Life Saving Rules, including onboarding and gap assessments in all sites,
  • Ongoing deployment of "Creating Safety" Culture (training and sharing),
  • Medical Treatment Accident Rate: 0.44.

More info: 2.3 Health, safety and environmental management

Process Safety

  • Over 80 e-learning courses for process safety,
  • 26 new Process Safety Risk Analysis leaders trained,
  • 92% of all sites have had a process hazard assessment in line with Group requirements within the last five years (2020 target – 100%),
  • No high-risk situations (Level 1 risk sheets) older than one year.

Critical incident risk management

Industrial Hygiene

Further roll-out of a new global tool, SOCRATES (Solvay OCcupational Risk Assessment Tool to EmployeeS) to (1) give widespread, easy access to IH methods, tools and databases, (2) consistently perform and document IH risk assessments, (3) enhance traceability of an individual’s potential exposures throughout their working life. 

Employee health & safety


  • Detailed reporting of environmental emissions (air, water and waste), as well as water management annually (SERF).
  • Report and track environmental releases that exceed permit limits.
  • Release and deployment of Group Standards on Waste Management and HSE Management Systems.