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Health, safety and wellbeing

Focusing on physical safety in the workplace

Focusing on physical safety in the workplace

In 2020, UCB continued to mature our occupational health and safety program. We continued implementing our global Safety Beyond Zero program, consisting of the three building blocks: safety fundamentals, safety management systems and safety mindset. Since our installations and high-technology equipment are now increasingly safe by design, and since health and safety management systems and procedures at 80% of our industrial sites (i.e. Bulle, Slough, Saitama, and Zhuhai) are now ISO 45001 certified, we continued focusing on growing our safety mindset and lowering the risk tolerance level.

Building upon the review and strengthening of our operational and engineering standards related to several high risk or potentially life-changing activities performed in 2019, we started (re)training colleagues involved in such activities, whether as responsible or executor, using a new training concept focused on the actual execution of the activity and on subsequent coaching.

As part of this training initiative “life-saving” rules were defined and promoted for selected activities including working at height, exposure to hazardous energies, entry to confined spaces, mechanical lifting of heavy loads, and storage and handling of chemicals.

In addition, we organized “Visible Felt Safety Leadership” workshops, facilitated by an external provider, for the Supply and Technology Solutions Leadership Teams, as well as for operational managers at the site in Braine-l'Alleud (Belgium). In 2021, workshops will be organized at other industrial UCB sites.

Our next steps will include the launch of a global safe driving awareness and training program, the continued rollout of the Safety Beyond Zero Program (with a renewed focus on industrial hygiene and the prevention of musculoskeletal disorders), and the assessment of the (behavioral) safety maturity at our production plants.

Another safety-related milestone achieved in 2020 was the start of work to transform our Braine-l’Alleud Research Campus, characterized by several, simultaneous construction projects. A robust governance model was installed to coordinate activities and ensure the safety of all those working on-site, whether they are a UCB employee, contractor or visitor.

Performance-wise, the Lost Time Incident Rate, which is part of the health, safety and wellbeing index, was calculated for 2020 at 1.6 incidents with at least one day of absence per million hours worked. The Lost Time Severity Rate was calculated at 0,009 days lost per 1 000 hours worked. In 2020, UCB set as a goal to reduce life-changing accidents on its sites by 10%, down to 12 such incidents across the year. The number of life-changing accidents with lost time in 2020 was reduced to 5. The figures on Lost Time Incident Rate, Total Recordable Incident Rate and Severity Rate have been pre-assured by the third-party auditor.

In 2020 (for the seventh consecutive year), no fatalities occurred because of work-related accidents that occurred whilst working on behalf of UCB. UCB has no operations where workers show high incidence or are exposed to high risk of occupational diseases.

Please note that risks related to employee health, safety and wellbeing are reported in the Risk Management section of this report.