Acting responsibly according to the guidelines of Responsible Care is for us is a long term investment: we want to continuously improve our environmental, health and safety performance and to monitor this progress. Carrying out regular audits at all our sites worldwide helps us to do this.
Audits are a key tool in the effort to make our sites and plants even safer and they help make us a trustworthy partner for employees, neighbors, customers and public authorities.
On behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, experts for safety, environment and occupational medicine monitor all our sites and plants. Using clearly defined criteria, they track how our standards are implemented locally. Safety, environment and occupational medicine audits are conducted separately at BASF sites and at our majority-owned subsidiaries and the results subsequently tallied, giving a comprehensive performance profile for every site.
When performing their audits, our international teams first investigate what measures a site or particular plant have undertaken for environment, health and safety. This ranges from occupational safety and medical facilities to the question of how effectively a site is organized or how responsibilities are defined. The individual safety practices of employees or how ergonomic their workplace is are also taken into account. In addition to providing an environmental and safety profile of a facility, an audit draws up a risk or health profile based on the materials and processes used and the site's immediate surroundings.
Regular audits help ensure uniformly high standards within the BASF Group for environmental and health protection, safety and security. We carry out audits at BASF sites and at companies in which BASF is a majority shareholder. We have defined our regulations for Responsible Care audits in a global Group directive. During our audits, we create an environmental, safety and security profile which shows if our performance with regard to environment, safety and security is sufficient to properly address the existing hazard potential. If this is not the case, we agree on measures and conduct follow-up audits on their implementation soon afterward. Our internal audit system complies with the standards for external auditing procedures ISO 19011 and OHSAS 18001. Worldwide, 196 BASF production sites are certified in accordance with ISO 14001.
In 2013, 132 environmental, safety and security audits were carried out in the BASF Group at 85 sites. We audited 44 sites with respect to occupational medicine and health protection.
To determine whether a site’s environment, safety or health performance is adequate in order to rule out risks, the audit results are illustrated by means of a risk matrix. It immediately becomes clear whether action needs to be taken and how urgently. The options range from urgent improvements to longer-term projects. Once the audit has been completed, the teams consult with their local contacts, advising them on how to implement the proposals and ascertaining whether these have been carried out promptly. If the auditors detect a higher level of risk at a plant, follow-up audits are arranged on the spot to monitor whether the measures are being enforced.