Health and Safety first - Bekaert Annual Report 2010

Health and safety first

Health and Safety first

At Bekaert safety comes before everything else. Throughout our long tradition of operational excellence, safety has always played a pivotal role in our activities. Safety objectives are, therefore, a mandatory component in the annual business plan drawn up for each of our plants.

In 2010 Bekaert stayed on track, further improving safety results

Half (52%) of the consolidated plants worked without Lost Time Accidents (LTA).

Bekaert constantly monitors safety performance and executes uniform worldwide benchmarking to implement best practices in all its plants.

Repeatability Index= Number of lost time accidents (LTA) per million worked hours.

Severity Index= Number of lost days due to occupational accident per thousand worked hours.

In 2010 the number of lost time accidents decreased again, the repeatability index decreased to 3.99; the severity index increased to 0.171 due to two bus accidents in China.

A safety model to keep us on track

Bekaert keeps its safety performance on track with the help of its own ‘Safety Tree Model’. The model provides a safety action plan based on four drivers for safety: the involvement of plant managers; the management and control of risks; training and communication; and employee participation. It is a model in which involvement and active safety participation of all employees are key.

After implementing the ‘Safety Tree Model’ in our steel cord plants worldwide, we continued on this path towards increased safety in our other plants by running intensive training programs and seminars in 2010.

We set up initiatives to share action plans and information. In addition, all major steel cord plants in China obtained the OHSAS 18001 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) certification.

We directed further efforts at improving work conditions for Bekaert employees, focusing on office and workplace ergonomics, in particular on load handling. These efforts involved audits, as well as the development of documents and training tools to evaluate and solve ergonomic issues. In order to increase internal traffic safety a ‘fork lift safety checklist’ was developed and implemented.

Two regional safety and environmental round tables were organized, one in Europe and one in North America, at which best practices were shared amongst the different EHS plant, regional and group coordinators.

Drawing attention to Health & Safety on a worldwide scale

In September 2010 we organized for the third consecutive year an International Health & Safety Day, a worldwide initiative to reaffirm our commitment to a healthy and safe working environment.

All our employees around the world participated in lectures, videoconferences and other initiatives aimed at raising safety awareness. The 2010 theme was ‘Order and Cleanliness’, thus underpinning how much a neat workplace contributes to safety. Those employees who had contributed greatly to increasing health and safety were rewarded on this eventful day. Once more, the Bekaert International Health & Safety Day was the high point of a year-round commitment to optimum health and safety conditions.

Safety in our production platforms

Safety in our production platforms around the globe

Our production plants play a pivotal role in deploying safety activities, making results sustainable and improving them even further.

In Latin America, our steel cord joint venture plant at Itaúna (Brazil) achieved an impressive first-time milestone: ten years without any LTA. This achievement is the result of more than a decade of dedicated actions driven by the commitment and efforts of the plant’s employees. They successfully consolidated a culture focused on the workers’ safety.

This was emphasized by a ceremony on our International Health & Safety Day.

Tribute was paid to the achievements of all employees of our joint venture plant in Itaúna (Brazil) for ten years without LTA by unveiling a sculpture of a tree, symbolizing the success of the safety tree model.


Our Karawang plant in Indonesia has held a ‘lost time accidents free’ track record for seven years in a row now, an extraordinary result taking into account the introduction of diverse activities from different business platforms in recent years.

Our Weihai plant in China has worked more than 6 million hours without having a lost time accident, a record in the Bekaert Group.

Despite our efforts in the field of safety in Asia Pacific and good performance on the shop floor, two major traffic accidents occurred in 2010 in China with shuttle buses bringing our employees from the plant to their home.

The accidents had grave consequences: 69 employees were injured. All injured employees were taken to hospitals where they received immediate medical care. Most of them were discharged relatively fast and some of them were even able to get back to work once they had been checked at the hospital. However, a small group had to undergo extensive surgery and is still recovering.

After the accidents, the general managers and HR teams worked day and night to provide optimal support to their injured colleagues. Our teams collaborated diligently with the hospitals to ensure that the best medical care and support was given, as the full and speedy recovery of all the unfortunate wounded colleagues remained a priority.

Embracing safety as priority No.1 in Belgium

In our wire plants in Zwevegem (Belgium), too, we have been able to turn safety results around. The enabler of this change was a dedicated action plan, a joint effort of operational managers and supervisors. The fact that safety was developed as a management priority No.1 was another decisive element in reaching today’s results. For the third year in a row we were able to reduce the number of accidents and frequency rate by more than 50%.

Bekaert plants that distinguished themselves by successive years without lost time accidents


  • Bekaert Engineering, Hlohovec (Slovakia): 7 years
  • NV Bekaert SA – building products, Moen (Belgium): 3 years
  • Bekaert Hlohovec Steelcord activities, Hlohovec (Slovakia): 2 years
  • Bekaert Advanced Coatings, Zulte (Belgium): 2 years

North America

  • Bekaert Corporation, Kennesaw (US): 8 years
  • Bekaert Corporation, Shelbyville (US): 3 years

Latin America

  • BMB-Belgo Mineira Bekaert Artefatos de Arame Ltda, Itaúna (Brazil): 10 years
  • BBA-Belgo Bekaert Arames Ltda, Sabará (Brazil): 4 years
  • BBA-Belgo Bekaert Arames Ltda, Hortolândia (Brazil): 2 years

Asia Pacific

  • PT Bekaert Indonesia, Karawang (Indonesia): 8 years
  • Bekaert Asia Research and Development Center, Jiangyin (China): 4 years
  • Bekaert Industries Pvt Ltd, Pune (India): 3 years
  • Shanghai Bekaert-Ergang Co Ltd, Shanghai (China): 3 years
  • Wuxi Bekaert Textile Machinery and Accessories Co Ltd, Wuxi (China): 3 years
  • Bekaert (Jiangyin) Advanced Coatings Co Ltd, Jiangyin (China): 2 years
  • PT Bekaert Advanced Filtration, Karawang (Indonesia): 2 years

Bekaert plants that produced in 2010 without any lost time accidents


  • Solaronics SA, Armentières (France)
  • Bekaert Combustion Technology BV, Belfeld (The Netherlands)
  • Bekaert Bohumín sro, Bohumín (Czech Republic)
  • Bekaert Advanced Coatings NV, Deinze (Belgium)
  • NV Bekaert SA – Engineering, Ingelmunster (Belgium)
  • Bekaert Progressive Composites SA, Munguia (Spain)
  • NV Bekaert SA, Waregem (Belgium)
  • Bekintex NV, Wetteren (Belgium)
  • Bekaert Slovakia sro, Sládkovičovo (Slovakia)
  • NV Bekaert SA – fiber technologies, Zwevegem (Belgium)
  • NV Bekaert SA – Bekaert Technology Center, Deerlijk (Belgium)

North America

  • Bekaert Corporation, Rogers (US)
  • Bekaert Carding Solutions Inc, Simpsonville (US)
  • Bekaert Corporation, Spring Green (US)

Latin America

  • BBN-Belgo Bekaert do Nordeste SA, Feira de Santana (Brazil)
  • BBA-Belgo Bekaert Arames Ltda, Osasco (Brazil)
  • BMB-Belgo Mineira Artefatos de Arame Ltda, Vespasiano (Brazil)

Asia Pacific

  • Bekaert Ansteel Tire Cord (Chongqing) Co Ltd, Chongqing (China)
  • Mukand Bekaert Wire Industries Pvt Ltd, Lonand (India)
  • Bekaert Shenyang Advanced Products Co Ltd, Shenyang (China)
  • Bekaert New Materials (Suzhou) Co Ltd, Suzhou (China)
  • Bekaert (Shandong) Tire Cord Co Ltd, Weihai (China)

2010 sees safety reversal in Colombia

Proalco (Colombia) became a consolidated plant in 2007. Still in 2009, it was one of the four plants responsible for 50% of all Bekaert accidents on a worldwide scale. A change of culture and the implementation of our standard tools, including the Safety Tree approach and Bekaert Observation Program (BOP), combined with enhanced communication on the topic, resulted in a reversal in safety results by the end of 2010. To achieve this, Proalco has been actively working on the identification, evaluation and control of risks. The number of reported potential risk situations tripled in 2010.

The increased safety awareness and change in mindset became very visible from the second half of the year, with a 60% drop in LTAs and 84% fewer lost days compared to 2009. Nowadays all levels of the organization correct each other whenever they are performing an unsafe action.

  • Print