Occupational Safety and Health Management
Policy and Basic Concept
Occupational Safety and Health Management for our Employees
ITOCHU believes improving employee health is a cornerstone supporting the enhancement of its human resource capabilities which will, in turn, enable the fulfillment of its Guideline of Conduct, “I Am One with Infinite Missions.” Based on this concept, the Company has established the ITOCHU Health Charter. Moreover, we have developed a robust health and safety management structure aimed at, for example, helping employees who strive to balance cancer care and work. In addition, our industrial physicians support our group companies such as by providing information on occupational health and safety. With the health of each of our employees as our top priority, our entire group will strive to realize a workplace aim to realize a working environment where our employees can work with peace of mind in the future.
ITOCHU Health Charter (Enacted in June 2016)
1. Taking Responsibility for Employee Health
ITOCHU will take responsibility for the good health of each employee by actively supporting initiatives they take to maintain or improve their health.
2. Contributing to Society by Maintaining Good Health
ITOCHU will develop soundly over the long term based on an understanding that the good health of its employees is the foundation of the happiness of the employees themselves as well as their families, customers and wider society.
3. A Legacy for Future Generations
ITOCHU will carry out its infinite variety of missions as a company in which healthy employees who are fulfilled both spiritually and physically unleash their individual strengths.
Going forward we will pioneer various initiatives that lead the way toward work-style reform and health management. And we will build an environment that allows employees to find meaning in their work.
Occupational Safety and Health Management along the Supply Chain
Beyond our employees, ITOCHU Corporation also implements comprehensive measures to ensure the occupational safety and health of the stakeholders within our supply chain, including the companies we invest in and contractors. In 2013, we established ITOCHU Corporation’s Sustainability Action Guidelines for Supply Chains to communicate our expectations for partners along the supply chain. The Guidelines covers key safety and health related issues such as “Management of working hours”, “Management of health and safety”, and “Management of employee health”.
We believe it is important to gain the understanding and cooperation of all of our suppliers and contractors regarding our procurement-related policies. In keeping with this belief, in FYE 2014 we followed up on the Guidelines with approximately 4,000 suppliers with whom we have continuing relationships, in order to raise awareness and understanding of our expectations. In January 2015, we have made it a mandatory procedure to inform all new suppliers and contractors of the Guidelines. We anticipate that these activities will lead to an enhanced understanding among our business partners regarding our approach to sustainability.
Safety and Health Related Risk Assessments for Investment Projects
ITOCHU Corporation considers ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance related) aspects to be crucial in assessing potential risks for investment projects. In addition to financial risks and opportunities, our due diligence and risk assessment process for prospective investments therefore includes the use of a comprehensive ESG Checklist, which covers seven core subjects aligned with the ISO26000, as well as 33 sub-issues. One of the core subjects concerns Labor Practices, which includes sub-topics covering safety and health-related issues, such as labor standards, occupational safety and health, and stakeholder engagement to enhance health and safety practices. Our assessment of safety and health related risks for investment projects does not simply end at the initial investment. We conduct continuous management assessments and ensure that we monitor companies in our portfolio, ultimately to contribute to as much enhancement of business practices among investees as possible.
For more details, please refer to ESG Risk Assessment for New Business Investment Projects.
Combatting Global Health Issues
ITOCHU Corporation has operations worldwide, with about 800 employees stationed overseas. As such, global health issues including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, which are widely recognized as three of the deadliest infectious diseases today, are a major concern to our business, and we have implemented various initiatives in response.
With regards to our employees and their families, we conduct detailed preparatory seminars regarding safety and medical practices prior to overseas dispatch, including information on said global health issues. We also provide employees stationed abroad and their families with mandatory vaccinations aligned to the recommendations published by local governments. Vaccinations are administered by our Health Administration Center or a nearby travel clinic. Once dispatched, our employees and their families have access to specialized health care service companies that we partner with, which can provide information on local hospitals, details on how to avoid infection, and emergency treatment of illnesses.
In terms of community involvement, we have strived to enhance partnerships that can maximize our contribution to combatting global health issues. Since 2017, we are supporting Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ) through our membership in the Japan Center for International Exchange (JCIE), which is responsible for the operation of FGFJ. We also work with Dole Philippines, one of our subsidiaries, to combat global health issues including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, in the local communities. We will continue to expand initiatives in this area to fulfill our social responsibility as a global company.
Targets and Action Plan
Based on our policies regarding the management of occupational safety and health, ITOCHU Corporation aims to achieve zero workplace accidents and death incidents involving employees and contract employees* in FYE 2024 as well, and will work toward the following underlying targets.
- Contract employees are those who work in offices managed by ITOCHU
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- For more details about improving employee health, please refer to “Initiatives for Health Management.”
Structures and Systems
ITOCHU Corporation considers employees to be assets. One of the company's vital responsibilities is to ensure health and safety in the workplace so that employees can reach their full potential. We have built a robust system led by the President & Chief Operating Officer, not just for incidents, accidents, disasters and other emergencies, but also health management. This ensures that both ITOCHU Corporation employees working around the world and their families stay healthy and safe.
To implement our corporate mission of being “Sampo-yoshi,” ITOCHU Corporation also discusses the content of efforts and the implementation situation of occupational health and safety with the ITOCHU Labor Union, which counts approximately 80% of employees as members. (see “Labor Union”). The Labor Union also collects opinions and identifications relating to health and safety in the workplace from employees. Including the content of those, recurrent, active discussion between labor and management makes both cognizant of the challenges facing the company and keeps them on the same page. This builds a healthy relationship that enables them to consider and implement measures for improvement.
See here for the number employees who have undergone training on health and safety standards.
Overview of Itochu Corporation's Occupational Health and Safety Management Organization
We have a standard management and escalation procedure for all matters regarding occupational safety and health, both domestic and abroad. For each of our Companies, Headquarters, and Overseas Blocs, we have appointed an Occupational Health and Safety Officer, who is responsible for overseeing the execution of relevant initiatives. These Officers also serve as contact points to which workplace incidents and death incidents are reported to within their related divisions.
Officers are also expected to relay and escalate these reports to the head office's Human Resources and General Affairs Division. This division identifies dangers in those reports and conducts surveys relating to accidents. It determines and executes corrective measures if necessary.
The Human Resources and General Affairs Division meets with industrial physicians about important matters relating to health (e.g., the infectious disease situation and preventative measures) and risks in working hours and working environments. The Health Committee then meets once a month to share information between labor and management.
With regards to Health Management related initiatives and concerns, we hold a monthly Health Management Council to share progress and any concerns or risks regarding occupational health and safety.
Any critical issues identified in the Health Committee or the Health Management Council are escalated via the Human Resources and General Affairs Division to the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), who holds the highest level of responsibility regarding health and safety. The CAO is responsible for reporting highly important issues to the Board of Directors and the Chairman & CEO. Matters that are not urgent are reported to the Board of Directors once a year, through the same reporting process.
In addition, we periodically report matters relating to health management and labor health and safety to the Board of Directors. We improve our initiatives relating to occupational health and safety based on instructions with respect to health management and occupational health and safety reports from the Board of Directors and operational issues identified by the Health Committee.
Operation of Occupational Safety and Health Management based on the International Guidelines and Standards
Operation based on the EHS Guidelines
The Metals & Minerals Company has established and is operating Environment, Health and Occupational Safety (EHS) Guidelines for its metal and mineral, coal and uranium mining businesses. EHS guidelines supports us to work on sustainable mining development leading to the stable supply of resources.
It is our obligation to avoid and reduce the EHS risks such as environmental pollution, health hazards of workers and operational accidents caused by our business activities (e.g., exploration, development and production). To that end, we have prepared EHS guidelines as technical reference documents summarizing the EHS issues and recommendations for risk management. For throughout implementation of the guidelines, we also utilize checklists available in Japanese and English.
EHS Guidelines apply to new investments, as well as projects in which we are already participating. We communicate intensively with our partners for consultation and improvement on resource development with greater consideration for EHS aspect. In FYE 2023, we performed checks on seven existing projects and one other resource-related project. We then set items requiring continuous follow-up.
We have prepared guidelines in line with global standards such as the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and standardized processes with checklists. Meanwhile, we continuously review the processes so that we can operate the guidelines flexibly to suit the individual risks of each project.
Most of all, it is important that organization members have an in-depth awareness of the importance of EHS compliance. Accordingly, we aim to thoroughly share information on this throughout our organization by conducting awareness activities using concrete case studies every year. We held internal training courses for supervisors and company employees belonging to sections engaged in resource development in FYE 2023. The attendance rate of those subject to this training was 100%.
Subsidiaries that have ISO 45001 Certifications
Our Group companies also maintain occupational health and safety by establishing and operating management systems in accordance with ISO 45001, the international standard for occupational health and safety management systems. As of March 31, 2023, six (accounting for 1.3%) of our company's domestic and overseas consolidated subsidiaries had acquired ISO 45001 certification.
Health Administration Center
The Health Administration Center serves as the clinic for our headquarters in Tokyo and employs a total of 20 medical specialists, as well as x-ray technicians and pharmacists. For more than 30 years public health nurses have acted as “border-less medical concierges” who provide individual health guidance customized to the situation of every employee, both in Japan and overseas. This is based on close cooperation with medical specialists for various lifestyle-related diseases. In this way, the center supports ITOCHU Corporation health management through individual health management for each employee. Specifically, in addition to the specialized disease management, the center provides general practice medicine (internal medicine, orthopedic surgery, psychiatry and dentistry), checkups (regular medical checkups, half-day complete checkups, cancer checkups and medical checkups for employees traveling overseas or returning from abroad on a temporary or permanent basis), various vaccinations such as for COVID-19, and examinations. It also offers medical counseling and provides information. We achieve a rate of regular medical checkups for employees in Japan of almost 100% every year.
Concerning mental health, we have set up a stress management room in the company and offer counseling by a clinical psychologist. Employees can also seek counseling from a company physician or see a psychiatrist in-house. Our Health Insurance Union has set up a health consultation website called “Health & Mind Online” that enables employees to seek consultations by phone or over the net. In addition, we have been conducting stress checks once a year since 2015. The rate of those taking these checks has reached 98.2% (FYE 2023).
Safety Measures for Employees on Travel or Stationed Overseas
ITOCHU Corporation operates worldwide with roughly 800 employees stationed overseas. We also send as many as ten thousand people a year on overseas business travel (data before the COVID-19 pandemic). Therefore, we are also working to offer health management to overseas staff to establish an environment where they can demonstrate their abilities with peace of mind even in unfamiliar situations. Since close communication between overseas locations and Japan is vital to overseas security management, we have stationed overseas safety specialists at our headquarters. They regularly exchange information about politics, economics, public safety and other factors with personnel and general affairs representatives assigned to each of the seven blocs worldwide. They then disseminate appropriate measures internally and to group companies. We have also been taking measures to ensure the safety of employees through a meticulous response since the spread of COVID-19. For example, we have been obtaining information on the local medical environment – especially the local infection situation and the number of hospital beds – and also the operating status of international flights. We have also established a system to cover regions where information is more difficult to obtain through contracts with international security consultant firms. In addition, we have been conducting overseas crisis response training in-house since FYE 2020. We mainly provide this training to those who we plan to station in countries and regions with poor security and employees who we expect to frequently send on business trips to such countries and regions.
Measures to Address Medical Issues and Prevent Infectious Diseases
Prior to being dispatched, all employees stationed abroad are required to undergo mandatory vaccination in line with governmental recommendations for each international region/country. ITOCHU's Health Administration Center provides employees with vaccination services – in case specific vaccinations are not available, we direct our employees to nearby clinics that specialize in vaccinations. All vaccination costs are also covered by the company. We provide both the employees and their families with thorough preparatory seminars on health and safety matters regarding the countries they are assigned to. Global health issues such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS are especially crucial for certain countries. Therefore, we ensure that the preparatory seminars cover these issues, and also provide follow-up seminars following their return to Japan.
Once our employees and their families arrive in their assigned countries, we provide medical support in various ways, such as partnering with a specialized health care service company (International SOS, Emergency Assistance Japan), to provide information on any potential issues that may occur, information on how to address and manage health emergencies, and support during emergencies, such as those that require emergency transportation.
COVID-19 workplace vaccinations
We have been working hard on securing vaccines, doctors, nurses and volunteers, building a reservation system, and operating it on a daily basis to be able to provide vaccinations in the workplace to protect the health of our employees during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic in recent years. We are providing three vaccinations to all employees who desire them. Moreover, we have widely disclosed the manual for workplace vaccinations we created in-house and our response to operational issues to serve as a useful tool for regional communities and other companies.
Basic Health Management Support
- Border-Less Medical Concierges: Employees and their families can reach out via e-mail or phone call to occupational health nurses supported by specialized physicians, and receive advice on health-related issues as necessary.
- Introduction of Local Medical Facilities: We are able to introduce reliable local medical facilities in the countries we operate in, where employees can receive necessary medical services.
- Routine Health Checkups: In addition to pre-dispatch comprehensive medical examinations, we provide employees and their families with annual health checkups. These checkups can either be conducted upon short-term return to Japan, or in the countries where they are stationed in – including surrounding countries.
- SECOM Furusato Care Service: We provide support for the elderly family members remaining in Japan of employees we have stationed overseas. Our support covers a medical care system run by SECOM, which can be accessed year-round, at any time of day. The service allows for elderly family members to receive phone-based health support from a specialized nurse center.
- Provision of a Fitness App: We provide an app for smartphones and tablets to allow employees and their family members stationed overseas all around the world to enjoy exercising while listing to audio guides and popular music. Many cities have implemented restrictions on going out due to the spread of COVID-19. Against this background, the provision of this app has led to solving the issues of a lack of exercise and stress for those stationed overseas.
Health-Related Emergency Support
- International SOS, Emergency Assistance Japan: This is a service that we provide employees and their families to support them in addressing acute medical conditions. The service provides access to a multi-language call-center where users can inquire about any local issues regarding safety, including terrorism, social disturbances, and medical concerns. Additionally, if our employees or their family members encounter any emergency such as injuries or acute medical conditions, they can access International SOS to request relevant support, which includes arrangements for appropriate transportation, accompanying doctors and nurses, as well as access to medical institutions that are equipped to address the emergency.
Addressing Health and Disease Related Issues in Local Communities
ITOCHU Corporation engages in community investment in the Philippines to address global health concerns. This is conducted mainly through the Mahintana Foundation Inc. (MFI), an NGO that was developed by the Dolefil* SR Division of Dole Philippines, one of our subsidiaries. Along with MFI and local municipalities, ITOCHU has engaged in comprehensive development initiatives for over 40 years, including the creation of industries and labor markets, environmental conservation and reforestation, education, provision for basic needs, enhancement of employee benefits, and health and safety. Specifically regarding health and safety, global health concerns such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are particularly crucial, and we have implemented the initiatives listed below to prevent outbreaks of infectious diseases among employees and the local community:
- Dole Philippines's Pineapple Division
Vaccinations, education and training for dengue fever prevention, disseminating insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), extermination of insects, and promotion of vitamin A consumption
Promotion of vitamin A consumption, provision for pregnancy support, dental services, and education and training on adolescent health issues
Regarding malaria, the positive impacts of these prevention initiatives are continuing to spread, with an increasing number of surrounding regions reporting to be free of malaria infections.
Safety initiatives in Japan incorporate countermeasures against large-scale disasters like earthquakes. These include creating a business continuity plan, preparing disaster supplies such as drinking water, food, and toilets, conducting emergency drills, and training employees to use our safety confirmation service. We encourage employees to prepare for large-scale disasters by making sure they have a way to contact their families in the event of an emergency, keeping a pair of comfortable walking shoes at work, and being sure they know their way home on foot.
Initiatives for Health Management
We established the ITOCHU Health Charter in FYE 2017.The charter states that each employee is responsible for maintaining and improving their health, that ITOCHU will actively support their efforts to do so, and that the good health of our employee is the foundation of their happiness as well as their families, customers and society more broadly. ITOCHU has set up Health Administration Centers at its Tokyo and Osaka Headquarters and is distinguished by the “concierge” assistance it extends to individual employees with the involvement of industrial physicians and health nurses in a way that transcends regional boundaries. We are aiming to raise the health awareness of each employee with the ITOCHU Health Navi (Health Management System) we introduced in February 2021. This system allows all employees to view health checkup results via a PC or smartphone and permits centralized management of lifestyle data, such as the number of steps walked in a day, weight, blood pressure. In addition, we created the Strategy Map for Health Management in ITOCHU in August 2021. This map visualizes the positions and effects of various measures. These steady initiatives have been recognized. We received the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Prize during the Award for Companies Promoting Cancer Control in the Action Plan for Promotion of Cancer Control sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in February 2018. We have also been highly praised such as by being selected as a Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization (White 500) every year since FYE 2017 when we started applying to the program.
The relevant laws and ordinances (e.g., the Industrial Safety and Health Act and Health Promotion Act) form the basic premise of all our initiatives. We comply with laws and ordinances – from the implementation of regular health checkups and stress checks to the protection of personal information.
The Strategy Map for Health Management
ITOCHU recognizes that employees, our irreplaceable management resource, are diverse in terms of their race, gender, religion, nationality and age. We promote health management focused on the following initiatives so that each of our employees achieves their infinite missions and so that we realize a permanent improvement in our corporate value.
Support for Balancing Cancer Care and Work
We have been working from the three perspectives of prevention, treatment and coexistence as support for balancing cancer care and work since FYE 2018. The aim of this is to build workplaces where employees can truly feel at home even if they have cancer and where they can continue to work with peace of mind. Furthermore, in addition to conducting periodic special cancer examinations in partnership with the National Cancer Center, we also provide scholarships along with employment at ITOCHU group companies to bereaved families of employees who had such diseases. These initiatives are leading to an improvement in the sense of security felt by our employees.
ITOCHU Corporation Support System for Balancing Work and Cancer Treatment
Overview of “Support Measures for Balancing Cancer Care and Work”
Application to Group Companies
Due to our consolidated management, our initiatives with regards to occupational health and safety, and safety management, cover not only our employees (including contract employees) but also those of our group companies.
Specifically, Group companies also conduct things like stress checks, safety initiatives in Japan, information on safety measures overseas, collaboration with overseas security and medical service companies, and seminars prior to overseas assignments. Group companies are increasingly adopting a morning-focused work style, and the group overall is striving to reduce the total number of working hours and promote employee health. In addition, we are working to strengthen the labor management of the overall ITOCHU Group by regularly conducting workshops that hone the knowledge and expertise of our personnel, and assessments of labor and human resources.
Details of Personnel and Labor Support Provided to Group Companies in FYE 2023
- Labor management case study workshops
These workshops focus on case studies that highlight possible labor management cases including mental health problems and working hours management. Participants gain specialized knowledge and learn how to handle these types of problems. In FYE 2023, we held seminars on topics of high interest such as side jobs in addition to these workshops. There were approximately 100 participants (July to December).
- ITOCHU Group Human Resources and General Affairs Liaison Council
This council aims to allow those in charge of human resources and general affairs from our Group companies to exchange information and strengthen relationships. Activities include discussing the latest trends in human resources and general affairs, sharing information about ITOCHU Corporation measures and support situation, and updating one another about the content of revisions to laws. In FYE 2023, the council met on the theme of mental health measures. Industrial physicians and lawyers explained about practical measures from their respective viewpoints. There were 195 participants.
- Human resources and labor management assessments
These are health assessments aimed at checking whether rules, systems, and management related to overall personnel and labor affairs are operated in an appropriate manner. These include labor contracts, internal rules, occupational health and safety, and time management. We have conducted assessments of 64 companies since starting this initiative in FYE 2017.
- ITOCHU Group Human Resources and Labor Management Portal Site
We provide a portal site to share the regulations and expertise of ITOCHU with group companies. The aim of this site is to strengthen the human resources and labor management in group companies.
ITOCHU received the Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare Prize during the 2017 Award for Companies Promoting Cancer Control in the Action Plan for Promotion of Cancer Control, which is sponsored by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The award was granted in recognition of our Support Measures for Balancing Cancer Care and Work, which began in FYE 2018. We were selected as a Company with Outstanding Cancer Control Promotion in the initial year in the Companies with Outstanding Cancer Control Promotion Recognition Program that was newly established in FYE 2021. We also won an award of excellence, during the Tokyo Metropolitan Government awards commending companies that implement excellent initiatives to help cancer patients balance cancer treatment and work.
Moreover, our Balancing Cancer Care and Work Support System was acknowledged in FYE 2019. We received the Award of Excellence in the Corporate Human Resources category at the Nihon no Jinjibu HR Awards 2018. The Nihon no Jinjibu HR Awards are awards that honor innovators in fields such as human resources, personnel development and labor management. We also received the Gold Award at the 1st gan-ally-bu Awards. The gan-ally-bu Awards are awards aiming for workplaces and a society where it is possible to work actively while receiving cancer care.
In FYE 2016, ITOCHU Corporation was selected as a Health and Productivity Stock for two years in a row in 2016 and 2017 in the Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization Recognition Program that is chosen by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Tokyo Stock Exchange. In addition to honors such as those, we have been selected as a Health & Productivity Management Outstanding Organization (White 500) for seven years in a row up until FYE 2023 since FYE 2017 when we started applying to the program.
We succeeded in these areas thanks to positioning work-style reforms and Health and Productivity Management as important management strategies. We introduced a morning-focused working system ahead of other companies, and cooperated with industrial physicians and the Health Insurance Union to promoted aggressive measures for improving health throughout company.
For more details, please refer to Evaluation by Society (Occupational Safety and Health Management).