From the Sumitomo/Society Interface

Share the aspirations of people working for the Sumitomo Group
who are devoting their energy and talent to socially beneficial endeavors
in a host of fascinating fields.

Inculcating a culture prioritizing safety,
keeping distressing industrial accidents fresh in people’s minds to keep them safe

Masato Kobayashi
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management Division,

Convey lessons of past accidents to ensure safety

Welcome to the Safety Promotion Center (top). Visits to the Center culminate in the “Pledge to Safeguard Safety.” Group employees are encouraged to consider how they can reflect what they learned at the Center in their work. They write messages to the future on ema (small wooden plaques), pledging to do their utmost to eradicate industrial accidents (bottom).

Every industrial accident is a wake-up call for manufacturing industry and every company has a duty to maximize workplace safety. This conviction animates the Meiden Group and its workforce numbering around 9,300, which experienced a spike in industrial accidents in 2013, prompting Meidensha to establish a department spearheading Group-wide crossorganizational initiatives to ensure safety and health. The Safety Promotion Center at Numazu Works, the Meiden Group’s principal factory, was opened as part of this initiative. It is a venue where the Group’s employees learn the lessons of past industrial accidents that occurred within the Group and wrestle with the issue of safety.

“Immediately after an industrial accident, everyone is determined not to make the same mistakes. But this resolve can weaken with the passage of time,” says Masato Kobayashi of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Management Division. As a safety specialist working in the company, I think my mission is to communicate the distressing yet illuminating facts of each industrial accident so that they remain fresh in people’s minds, a spur to action.”

At the Safety Promotion Center, panel displays focus on industrial accidents classified into three categories—serious accidents, common accidents, and other companies' cases—making it crystal clear that industrial accidents are not someone else’s problem. In the audiovisual zone, videos feature interviews with the people who were involved in the industrial accidents. In their own words, they talk about their thoughts at the time of the accidents and what they learned from the accidents.

The Safety Promotion Center opened in January 2020. “It’s not the destination but the start of our journey,” says Kobayashi.

“We want to cultivate an environment where employees focus on safety as a vital aspect of sustainability. With that in mind, we have plenty of ideas. For example, we envisage offering employees simulated experiences of industrial accidents and using animation as a tool for education and training.”

Reprinted from SUMITOMO QUARTERLY NO.161

Number(From the Sumitomo/Society Interface)