Health and Safety

PPG is committed to operating safe and healthful workplaces.

  • 0.26injury and illness rate
  • 10.3percent decline from prior year

A key PPG value is to ensure our people return home safely each day by:

  • Engaging with them to improve our operating practices around the world;
  • Investing in a safe work environment; and
  • Running our business with sound operating practices.

Our environment, health and safety (EHS) policy and standards define our expectations, and we implement programs and initiatives to reduce health and safety risks in our operations. To ensure progress against our goal of zero injuries, we strive to achieve an improvement of at least 5 percent per year in our injury and illness rate. Our 2018 rate of 0.26 was 10.3 percent below prior year.

We implement our EHS policy at all locations using our EHS management system, which we developed in accordance with Coatings Care, Responsible Care and ISO standards. Our 12 EHS elements form the cornerstone of the management system and contain underlying principles and a set of expectations. In 2018, we enhanced the system, which covers all employees and supervised workers globally, to ensure standardization across our locations.

We continued to improve our EHS requirements in 2018 with the development of standardized procedures for life-critical operations. We also implemented a new EHS data system that includes a suite of modules to streamline the collection, tracking and dissemination of critical information.

Historically, motor vehicle accidents are one of our highest-severity injury risks. We offer safe driver training and education programs to ensure our operations in every country have the tools and resources to manage this safety risk. All company vehicles have excellent crash ratings, and we invest in advanced safety features like collision-avoidance systems and backup cameras. In 2018, we began piloting dashcams to improve driver behavior and reduce the risk of vehicular incidents.

The importance of these efforts was reinforced when an employee in Denmark lost his life in 2018 due to a traffic accident while on company business. Following an internal investigation, we increased communication and training on our safe driving policies globally.

Our global EHS alert system allows us to quickly convey learnings from incidents and near-misses to all locations and, when appropriate, take specific actions to mitigate similar potential risks in their operations. We also use the system to share learnings from other companies that relate to our business. We issued 41 global EHS alerts in 2018.

Strains and sprains are another leading type of injury among our employees. Our focus on ergonomics includes ergonomics training, monthly knowledge sharing and our annual PPG Ergonomics Award competition, which recognizes initiatives that minimize or eliminate ergonomic risks within our operations. Top entries go on to compete in the ERGO CUP® competition presented by the Institute of Industrial and System Engineers.

In 2018, we modified our competition to include externally sourced ergonomic solutions in addition to internally developed ones. This greatly expanded the number of award applications and cost savings associated with the safety and efficiency improvements.

Our focus on slips, trips and falls continued in 2018. We asked each site to review its history and data to identify hazards and conditions that could lead to such incidents and then implement corrective measures.

We refreshed our multi-year safety awareness and communications initiative called Safety 365, which empowers our people to be safe and speak up if they see something that could be made safer. The revised program now centers around a monthly culture-based safety theme that is supplemented with weekly tips. Theme examples included operational excellence, employee engagement and personal accountability.

We implemented human and organizational performance at additional sites in 2018 and also established a global steering committee to drive implementation, share successes and monitor progress. The initiatives teach employees how to predict, prevent and manage errors that could result in injury. In 2019, we will be developing internal consultants to further drive implementation.

To increase leadership engagement and dialogue about our health and safety efforts, we created a checklist of 20 items that leaders should ensure are in place when visiting a site. These include traditional items like clearly marked emergency exits, proper use of personal protective equipment and appropriate machine guarding. Other checklist items are safety awareness communications and use of the standardized EHS management system scorecard.

Another 2018 initiative was reinvigorating our global EHS Advisory Council, which brings together talented young EHS professionals for development and engagement opportunities with their peers from around the world. In 2018, council members enhanced a recognition program,  an onboarding process and an employee engagement initiative. They also worked on our potential catastrophic incident review process, identifying ways to better share the learnings from these types of events and engaging with the locations to ensure effective and sustainable corrective actions.

Global Health and Safety Performance
Employees and Supervised Workers
  Number Rate PPG Injury and Illness Rate Total Recordable Incident Rate Lost Workday Rate Occupational Disease Rate
2014 0 0 0.35 1.86 1.35  
2015 0 0 0.31 1.41 0.91  
2016 0 0 0.31 1.47 0.98 0.07
2017 0 0 0.29 1.26 0.90 0.05
2018 1 0.0019 0.26 1.25 0.85 0.09

The fatality rate is the number of fatalities multiplied by 200,000 and divided by the number of work hours. A PPG injury and illness (I&I) is defined as an injury or illness that is significant enough that it is unlikely to go unreported, regardless of the reporting culture in the region or site. PPG I&Is include fatalities, fractures, surgeries, hospitalizations, 30 or more days of lost work and other similar criteria. The PPG I&I rate is the number of injuries and illnesses that meet this definition multiplied by 200,000 and divided by the number of work hours. Total recordable incident rate is the number of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recordable injuries multiplied by 200,000 and divided by the number of work hours. Lost workday rate is the number of injuries and illness that resulted in days away from work or restricted activity multiplied by 200,000 and divided by the number of work hours. Occupational disease rate is the number of illnesses multiplied by 200,000 and divided by the number of work hours. A new data management system enabled a more comprehensive collection of occupational disease data beginning in 2016.

2018 Health and Safety Performance by Region
Employees and Supervised Workers
  Fatalities PPG Injury and Illness Rate Total Recordable Incident Rate Lost Workday Rate Occupational Disease Rate
Asia Pacific 0 0.13 0.48 0.33 0.06
Europe, Middle East and Africa 1 0.16 0.98 0.62 0.09
Latin America 0 0.11 0.38 0.17 0.02
North America 0 0.43 2.17 1.55 0.13

Industrial Hygiene

We protect the health of our employees and supervised workers through our comprehensive industrial hygiene program, which has been in place for more than 50 years. The program centers on the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of long-term (chronic) and acute occupational health risks.

We employ credentialed toxicologists and industrial hygienists to oversee all aspects of our global program, and we continually improve it as knowledge of potential hazards and risk-control processes evolve.

We use formal processes to identify potential occupational health hazards by reviewing and analyzing information provided by suppliers of raw materials used in our manufacturing processes, as well as publicly available scientific literature. We also regularly review changes to published exposure limits from suppliers, governmental bodies and organizations, such as the American Conference of Governmental Hygienists, to determine the basis for assessing exposure to chemical substances. We use exposure-limit changes and risk assessments of process tasks to define annual exposure monitoring plans for each manufacturing location. 

Our manufacturing facilities are required to assess exposures to a defined list of substances and tasks where potential health risks are presented. We evaluate the results of these assessments to identify the need for improvements in manufacturing processes, facilities, training, personal protective equipment and medical surveillance.

We also work to eliminate substances of concern from our products and processes. Additional information can be found in the Product Stewardship section.

Our internal laboratory for analyzing air exposure samples is accredited by the AMERICAN INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE ASSOCIATION® (AIHA). We also use contract laboratories accredited by AIHA or applicable national governmental bodies. We maintain our exposure measurement results in a centralized data management system used by our operations teams globally. This system tracks our compliance with the annual sampling plan, results relative to applicable exposure limits and implementation of any corrective actions necessary to reduce exposures.

Customer Health and Safety

Our commitment to health and safety extends to our customers.

Our products are not only manufactured safely in our facilities, but also transported, used and disposed of safely by our customers. Safe use and disposal instructions and safety data sheets are available for all products. Our product stewardship and technical experts are also available to provide one-on-one consultation on safe product use and disposal.