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Maintaining strong safety performance

Safety awareness is deeply rooted in Sulzer’s culture and shared by all. Our existing systems and programs to ensure employees can work in a safe and healthy environment helped us react quickly and effectively to the challenges caused by COVID-19. In 2020, we achieved an accident frequency rate (AFR) of 1.9 cases per million working hours, slightly above last year’s record low number of accidents – despite the additional challenges posed by the pandemic.

In 2020, we undertook huge efforts to ensure the health and safety of our people and to protect them from the risk of COVID-19 infection. These efforts included the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks and additional supplies such as hand sanitizers and disinfectants. A COVID-19 protection plan and procedures were implemented across Sulzer globally, and ways of working were adapted to enable safe interaction between colleagues, customers and suppliers.

Following our swift action to keep our people safe and healthy and to ensure operational continuity for our customers, authorities around the world granted our businesses license to continue operations during lockdowns. For example, Chemtech’s Shanghai factory was among the first companies in the region to resume production at the beginning of February 2020.


In 2020, AFR increased by 11.8% to 1.9 cases per million working hours. With COVID-19 putting unexpected additional pressure on our safety organization in 2020, we still managed a good overall safety performance for the year.

The overall accident severity rate (ASR) has declined significantly for two consecutive years. In 2020, the ASR declined by 35.7% to 37.5 lost days per million working hours.

Due to local and national lockdowns, with many managers forced to work from home, safety walks could not be conducted as planned, leading to a significant reduction of behavior-based safety observations (–54.3%).

Upscaling ESG reporting

To reflect our increased focus on ESG (Environment, Social, Governance), we upscaled our reporting capabilities with an integrated tool in 2020. The new automated ESH Incident Management system will further increase our capabilities in electronic reporting and automated analysis and trending. In 2020, 79 Sulzer sites moved to the new software. As we continue to roll out the platform across the organization, we will have more sophisticated data to enable a greater understanding of complex and multicausal factors related to unsafe behaviors and accidents.

Thanks to the increased use of online collaboration tools, best practices on COVID-19 measures as well as prevention and control techniques were quickly and effectively shared across the organization.

Divisional initiatives to manage safety risks

Due to the diversity of Sulzer’s businesses and different working areas, there are potentially unique hazards within each division. In 2020, the divisions undertook the following activities to manage these specific risks:

  • Rotating Equipment Services launched the RES Life-Saving Rules to communicate non-negotiable safety rules related to high hazard equipment and activities;
  • Chemtech concentrated its efforts on its supervisor leadership initiative (EYE 5);
  • Pumps Equipment took targeted measures at all operational sites to further improve safety and introduced a mandatory field service standard for confined space working;
  • Applicator Systems continued to focus on implementing ESH processes and procedures as well as driving safety leadership.

Key figures









Change in +/–%

Accident frequency rate (AFR)


Cases per million working hours







Accident severity rate (ASR)


Lost days per million working hours







Behavior-based safety observations (including safety walks)









Please find further sustainability data at www.sulzer.com/sustainability.

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