A strong track record places Yara among the industry leaders with respect to health, environmental and safety performance. Yara believes every accident is preventable. This is the basis for a focused safety program within the company. Similarly, environmental challenges, particularly those relating to greenhouse gas emissions, are key elements of Yara’s activities in the field of health, environment and safety.
In 2009, Yara achieved an LTI rate (lost-time injuries per million hours worked) of 1.5 for employees and contractors combined, up from 1.2 in 2008. The accident rate is still in the range of the best performance of Yara, and is 1/3 of the average LTI rate for other fertilizer producers in Europe. The TRI rate (total recordable injuries per million hours worked) for Yara employees was at 2.7, down from 3.5 in 2008.
The TRI rate includes lost-time injuries, restricted work cases where the person was allowed to carry out other task than the normal duties, and medical treatment cases. Absence due to sickness at Yara’s production plants was 4.3 percent in 2009, up from 3.8 percent in 2008. The 2009 results include for the first time the performance of Yara Belle Plaine. Joint venture companies are included where Yara has operational responsibility. Lifeco in Libya will be integrated in the Yara statistics from the beginning of 2010.
Yara experienced one fatal accident in 2009, when a contractor working on a turnkey project in Finland fell down 20 meters from a roof. Furthermore, in June 2009 an explosion occurred in the ammonia plant in Yara Tertre in Belgium totally damaging the primary reformer, but without serious human injury. The plant is under reconstruction for start-up by second quarter 2010.
Recognizing that such accidents should not occur and the seriousness of several other recent incidents, Yara established a task force to identify necessary improvements in the company’s safety work. As a result, Yara is strengthening its focus on process safety, with (1) safety integrity analyses of all hazardous process operations, (2) more attention to operational discipline, and (3) review of the competence requirements of operators and leaders. Yara is also taking lessons from other international companies (DuPont and Alcoa) and has introduced a set of Golden Rules for a number of high risk work activities.
At the same time, Yara continued the implementation of its BBS (behavior-based safety) program in 2009, supported by the safety campaign ‘Think Ahead’ to make employees and contractors more aware of safety risks and individual responsibility for safety. These activities will take Yara closer to the ambition of reaching the goal of zero accidents.
In 2009 the management of Yara’s business units and production plants were trained in crisis management, and two handbooks were distributed across the company: Yara Safety Handbook and Yara Crisis Handbook.
On climate change, Yara’s goal has been to reduce its carbon footprint by 25 percent from 2004 to 2009. Yara obtained a 37 percent reduction, including the newly acquired plants in Finland, Belgium and Canada and adjusting for market related capacity reductions in 2009. This has been achieved by the installation of Yara’s technology for reducing nitrous oxide N2O from nitric acid plants.
At year-end, the technology was installed in 19 of Yara’s nitric acid plants. Three more plants remain. Yara had direct emissions of 12.5 million tons of CO2-equivalents in 2009, down from 16 million tons in 2008. The carbon footprint in terms of tons of CO2-equivalents per ton of fertilizer produced, has been reduced from 1.4 tons in 2004 to 0.9 tons in 2009. The target for 2013 is to reduce GHG emissions by 45 percent compared to 2004.
Yara’s total energy consumption in production in 2009 was 208 million GJ. This was approximately the same as in 2008. However, in terms of energy consumption per ton of finished product, the consumption rose by 11 percent from 2008 to 2009. This is explained by reduced capacity utilization in several plants in 2009 due to the market situation.
While Yara’s production emits greenhouse gases, it must be recognized that modern agriculture and fertilization techniques provide important solutions for combating climate change. In 2009, Yara continued its emphasis on providing tools and knowledge to assist farmers in profitable and environmental sustainable farming.
Yara’s operations are subject to many environmental requirements under the laws and regulations of the various jurisdictions in which Yara conducts its business. Such laws and regulations govern, among other matters, air emissions, wastewater discharges, solid and hazardous waste management, transportation of hazardous materials and remediation of past activities. In 2009, no material legal claim was made against Yara in respect of health, environmental or safety matters or in relation to operational permits.
Yara has a number of facilities that have been operated for a period of years. Subsurface impact to soil and groundwater and other conditions are common to such sites and may require remediation or give rise to liabilities under the laws of the various jurisdictions in which the facilities are located. Yara examines such impacts where they are apparent and is carrying out remediation or containment procedures in coordination with the appropriate authorities. No major cost issues are expected.