Safety

At Koppers, we think, plan, and operate in a culture of Zero Harm, always working to place the safety and health of our employees, communities, and environment first. Koppers team members, from the CEO through the employee on the front lines of our facilities around the world, make decisions driven by the foundational philosophy of Zero Harm, namely, that people come first.

  • Overall safety performance at Koppers, as measured by the total recordable injuries, improved with a reduction of 4 injuries to 58 in 2017. The total recordable incident rate had a slight increase from 2.96 in 2016 to 2.99 in 2017 due to fewer hours worked by our employees.

    2017 2016 2015 2014
    Days Away Case Rate 1.03 0.91 1.21 0.76
    DART Rate 1.96 1.91 1.90 2.03
    Total Recordable Rate 2.99 2.96 3.45 3.91


  • Koppers defines Serious Incidents and Serious Incident Precursors as injuries or events that have the potential to alter a person’s life. We encourage reporting of all incidents. Precursors describe high-risk situations that may result in a serious incident if allowed to continue, and are normally reported as a near-miss or minor event that — under slightly different circumstances — could have resulted in a Serious Incident. Our Serious Incident Precursor count dropped slightly, but our rate was up, due to fewer hours worked, from 8.97 in 2016 to 9.59 in 2017. Our Serious Incident Rate dropped significantly from 2.15 in 2016 to 1.03 in 2017. We believe these results represent a positive sign that our efforts to prioritize training and education around identifying and mitigating the most potentially dangerous exposures are showing results.
  • In 2017, Koppers had three Tier 1 Process Safety Incidents with a rate of 0.40, and 10 Tier 2 incidents. Tier 1 events are defined by the American Petroleum Institute (API) as a loss of primary containment with the greatest consequence. Over the past several years, Koppers has been working to improve many of our operations by implementing process safety procedures recommended by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and under the American Chemistry Council’s Responsible Care® initiative. These procedures cover a variety of operating principles such as employee training and testing, mechanical integrity standards, and management of change within an operating unit. Tracking and reporting Process Safety Incidents improves the transparency of our operations as well as helps us maintain accountability towards our improvement goals.
  • Koppers leaders in 2017 received Zero Harm training to spur an examination of the science behind why and how people make decisions, why people take short cuts when they know better, and why those decisions seem to make sense at the time. More than 310 leaders around the world received this training, which also explained how an analysis of an observable act (antecedent, trigger, consequence) can be used to understand what led to the at-risk behavior. It also provided ideas on how to influence the person in the right direction, and build in more positive antecedents. The training, offered in a “no-blame” environment, is meant to help managers ask the right questions when incidents occur, so that making the right decisions gets easier and becomes a habit. Modules from the training, and a description of each, can be found in the table below:

    Training Module Description
    Foundations Establishing the “why” behind leaders putting safety into everything we do.
    Observations Enabling relationship building between leaders and employees through a mutual goal of reducing exposure.
    Understanding & Influencing Behaviors Developing the understanding around the Behavior model: Antecedent, Behavior, Consequence.
    Life Saving Rules (2018) Koppers has established 7 critical rules that prevent life-threatening behaviors.
    Physical Hazards Workshop (2018) Using workplace inspections to: assess physical and conditional risks; reinforce safe conditions; use protective measures; create a personal safety vision.
    Job Safety Briefings (2019) Interactions focusing on specific safety requirements and exposures associated with a work task.

  • Roughly 1,000 times each month, Koppers supervisors around the world conduct safety observations with their teams on a one-to-one basis, with a goal of every employee experiencing one of these personalized safety discussions each year. These encounters are about engagement and finding solutions together by increasing dialogue, feedback, and trust — the foundation of a stronger safety culture. Continuously focused on what we’re doing right, along with identifying and correcting safety exposures, the observation program plans to concentrate next on Life Saving Rules.
  • In 2017, Koppers completed an analysis of every single task at every facility around the world, to arrive at a risk assessment and appropriate controls and procedures to mitigate exposures that could lead to Safety, Health, or Environmental incidents in the future. This program provides a baseline of practical, immediately usable information that can be shared among facilities. Some 1,500 activities were assessed, yielding more than 2,000 procedures reviewed and developed.