UN Goal 3 - Good health and well-being
Child page UN Goal 3
Introduction UN Goals
In 2015, under the aegis of the United Nations, the international community adopted Agenda 2030. It lays out 17 global goals together with the call to implement measures to achieve those goals. In particular, the Sustainable Development Goals No Poverty, Health and Well-being, Quality Education, Gender Equality, Decent Work and Economic Growth, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, Resonsible Consumption and Production, Climate Action and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions are of great importance to Messer. Both global and local projects and activities, as well as initiatives supported by Messer, contribute to various sustainability goals. The individual projects contribute to long-term improvement and can be viewed here:
Accordion UN goal 3
A network of safety officers at Messer studies and documents all safety-related incidents at Messer and provides, among other things, information and training materials on how to handle our products and applications safely, along with safe practices at the different workplaces. In 2020, Messer reported 44 industrial accidents with loss of working hours – a figure that remained unchanged from 2019. The rate of loss of employee working time per million hours worked (accident frequency rate) likewise remained unchanged at 2.0. The number of working days lost per million hours worked (industrial accident severity rate) rose from 45.6 in 2019 to 56.3 in 2020. We recorded 83 reportable industrial accidents – 14 fewer than in the previous year; the frequency rate of reportable industrial accidents per million hours worked also decreased over the course of the year, from 4.4 to 3.7. As in 2019, Messer’s workforce suffered no fatalities last year.
International Safety Week 2020
For a full week in September 2020, a worldwide safety week was held at all Messer locations to raise the employees’ awareness of operational discipline under pandemic conditions. For Messer, that means the UV-C disinfection of gas cylinders previously used in hospital service, for example, as well as continued strict compliance with hygiene standards, especially with regard to the filling of cylinders with urgently needed medical gases. Messer’s production plants operate in non-contact multi-shift schedules. To comply with these and other pandemic rules, Safety Week conducted local campaigns encouraging our 11,000 employees to act responsibly. The events were held in open air or as webinars.
In early November 2020, the European Industrial Gases Association (EIGA) presented four safety awards to Messer for exemplary work safety:
Messer Hungarogáz (Hungary) earned a “Gold Star Safety Award 2020” for having gone 20 years without an industrial accident at its production site in Kazincbarcika.
Messer Industriegase (Germany) was presented a silver EIGA safety award for having operated accident-free for 10 years at the site of its air separation unit in Salzgitter.
MG Odra Gas (Czech Republic) was proud to receive a “Silver Safety Award” for having worked 500,000 hours without an industrial accident.
Messer Romania Gaz (Romania) received a bronze safety award for five accident-free years at the Mintia site.
The “Compressed Gas Association” (CGA), a North American industrial gases association, presented its “Gold 2-Star Safe Facility Award 2020” to Messer Canada for its plant in Brampton, Ontario. The award recognizes 1,250,000 hours worked – 25 years – without a lost-time accident. Messer North America’s sites in Birmingham, Alabama, and Hopewell, Virginia, were also recognized: for 1,000,000 hours worked – 20 years – without a lost-time accident, both sites earned a “Gold 1-Star Award 2020.” Thirty-one other Messer plants in North America also received silver and gold awards for occupational safety.
On October 8, 2020, Messer Ibérica was honored for the seventh consecutive time with the safety award of the Spanish chemical industry employers’ association (FEIQUE) for another accident-free year. Messer Ibérica has reported zero industrial accidents for more than 18 years now at the Vila-seca air separation unit, more than 11 years at the El Morell site, and more than 10 years at the Alicante filling plant.
In 2019, the companies of the Messer Group including Western Europe held a combined total of 1,452 customer safety seminars, which were attended by 4,392 people in all. The facilities operated at our customers’ sites underwent technical inspections an average of 1.07 times and they underwent safety audits an average of 0.15 times. The 2020 fiscal year will mark the first time that the corresponding data will be available for Messer in North and South America. In 2019, we reissued our “Pocket Safety Guide” brochure series. It provides information about the safe transport and handling of gas cylinders, the safe transport of dry ice, and the content of gas cylinders.
The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of regularly disinfecting hands and surfaces and complying with hygiene measures. In 2020, Messer worked with Heraeus Noblelight to develop a mobile UV-C disinfection system for decontaminating surfaces and shapes of all kinds. To make it as versatile as possible to use, the system is designed as a hand-held device. The system from Heraeus’ Soluva product range can be used to sterilize not only production machinery and vehicles, but also public buildings and offices, as well as numerous fabrics, motor vehicle interiors, and control panels, along with many other surfaces.
Messer itself is relying on the mobile UV-C disinfection system throughout Europe to disinfect gas cylinders for medical oxygen when hospitals or patients return them for refilling. Disinfection with UV-C light offers many advantages over the chemical approach: it considerably reduces the amount of effort required; it minimizes risks for operators, consumers and the environment; and it lowers the risk of material damage to pressure tanks and their accessories.
The road transport of gases carries many risks. For that reason, the Messer Group signed the Road Safety Charter and has committed itself to placing special focus on transportation safety. In addition to the statutory regulations governing the operation of a fleet of vehicles, Messer’s own transportation safety concept has proven effective.
Logistics develops safety measures at the national and international level and logistics and safety personnel continuously exchange information about their experience relative to improving our safety performance.
For the most part, Messer employs external carriers to transport our gases. Legally required driver training courses fall under the responsibility of the carriers and are supplemented with a driver training program developed by Messer Corporate Logistics.
An on-board computer system installed in the trucks since 2019 records safety-related driving data that contribute to specifically targeted instruction. The system evaluates the vehicle’s driving data and the system’s own sensors, displaying warnings when necessary to encourage more defensive driving while out on the road. That makes transport operations safer and – through lower fuel consumption – also more eco-friendly.
At Messer, the number of preventable accidents worldwide during the transport of our cylinder gases in 2020 was 64 – that means 3.05 accidents per million kilometers driven (4.91 accidents/million miles driven). The number of preventable accidents during the transport of liquefied gases was 194; accordingly, the frequency rate per million kilometers driven during the same period was 0.89 (1.43 accidents/million miles driven).
This relatively high number is attributable to the fact that some of Messer’s statistics also include reported near misses, which constitute a non-negligible share of the incidents. Part of Messer’s safety strategy involves learning not only from accidents, but also from unsafe behavior. Logistics encourages the proactive reporting of these near misses.
Appropriate supplier management and the previously mentioned driver training courses – including ones supported by the new on-board computing system – will help to reduce the number of incidents further. In addition, all drivers receive a driver’s manual specific to their work (bulk, cylinders or service vehicles). This ensures that all important information relating to their job is readily accessible.
Messer is active in the medical business in over 20 countries and provides services ranging from consultation on the delivery of medicinal gases or gases as medical devices through to the planning, installation and maintenance of supply systems – a complete service package from a single source. Medical accessories and consumables round out the offering.
As a company that is also active in the pharmaceutical sector, Messer complies with all national, European and international regulatory requirements. For gases as medicinal products, this specifically includes the requirements of (European) Good Manufacturing Practice (EU-GMP) and the specifications of the European Pharmacopoeia. Our gases as medical devices comply with the Medical Device Regulation (EU 2017/745), the previously applicable Medical Device Directives, and the corresponding national laws.
Internal audits, a standardized pharmacovigilance system, and validated procedures and computer systems ensure our product and supply quality.
The supply of medical oxygen to hospitals for ventilation purposes for people suffering from Covid-19 was and is especially important:
Supply to the patients during the crisis can be assured by significantly increasing production capacities, installing additional tanks and evaporators at our customers’ facilities, and providing additional transport equipment. These measures are being implemented while applying additional protection systems for our employees.
With a new filling center in Saint-Georges d'Espéranche near Lyon, Messer in France was able to satisfy the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic-driven increase in demand for medical oxygen in cylinders and bundles. The successful start-up of the filling center in early-March 2020 followed several months of preparation along with obtaining the necessary approval from the French regulatory agency for medical devices and health products.
Spain is one of the countries most affected by the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. Like many of our neighboring chemical companies in the Tarragona chemical complex, Messer in Spain reacted rapidly and increased our production of urgently needed products. In the first weeks of the emergency, we doubled our production of medical oxygen. We delivered oxygen to 170 medical centers in all – 32 of which are hospitals with liquid supply – but also patient transport services and home care providers. We signed a new agreement with a home care provider to supply nursing homes in the Barcelona area. Our engineering and installation specialists are working intensively to expand oxygen supply to hospitals and nursing homes and to install gas supply systems in field hospitals.
Messer in Hungary supplies medical oxygen to some 140 medical facilities nationwide, nine of which are hospitals that primarily treat people suffering from Covid-19. Our teams in Filling regularly and systematically sterilize our medical gas cylinders along with the filling stations. And they carry out their work under extremely strict precautionary measures.
Messer in Serbia has been able to meet the increased demand of hospitals and clinics: as an integral part of the equipment for stockpiling and supplying medical oxygen, we installed additional tanks in the Clinical Center of Serbia, in Karaburma Military Medical Center in Belgrade, and in the military hospital in Niš. At Zemun Clinical Center, we expanded supply capacities by also adapting the central pipeline supply and three substations to the increased demand for medical oxygen. In addition, transportable cryogenic tanks were installed in the Clinical Center in Kragujevac, in Zvezdara Clinical Hospital Center, in the Infectious Disease Clinic in Belgrade, in “Dragiša Mišović” Clinical Hospital Center – the maternity and children’s hospital in Belgrade – and in Karaburma 2 Military Medical Center.
New York was affected by the coronavirus pandemic like no other metropolitan area in the USA. Due to the tremendous demand for medical oxygen, we increased production in our own plants. Newly configured truck routes ensured continuous delivery. Our teams monitored the systems every day, reacted rapidly, and collaborated closely with every hospital. This also included the solicitation of new demand quantities along with information on how to recognize when our bulk equipment might need maintenance.
The “Expofutura” convention center in Pereira, Colombia, was temporarily converted to a field hospital to treat people suffering from Covid-19. This added 45 patient beds to the region’s capacity. Messer in Colombia also installed a piping network to supply medical oxygen.
During 2020's “National Nurses Week”, Messer honored the healthcare personnel who work for the company’s own REMEO Medical Services. The REMEO program of Messer in Colombia offers life-saving medical oxygen and home care for people on artificial ventilation. Messer also remains firmly committed to supplying products to people suffering from Covid-19 – both in REMEO centers and in hospitals throughout Colombia that depend on Messer’s medical gases and services.
In Colombia, Messer is the market leader for stationary and home care, supplies hospitals with medicinal gases, and helps them develop their gas supply systems. Although the systems generally run only as far as the hospital rooms or operating rooms, in Colombia the supply is designed for the patients themselves. Along with the permanently installed infrastructure, Messer also supplies inhalers and ventilators as well as other accessories needed for the supply of medicinal gases or breathing air to individual patients. In so doing, Messer supports more than 36,000 people at home, who rely on supplemental oxygen to breath. In addition to gas in cylinders, most of them receive oxygen concentrators that filter oxygen from the surrounding air. Within the framework of its REMEO program, Messer also maintains six clinics of its own for some 350 people whose severe chronic respiratory diseases necessitate continuous care. The REMEO clinics also have sleep laboratories for treating nocturnal respiratory disorders. In all, Messer employs some 1,200 nurses and caregivers in Colombia, who are specially trained and can develop their expertise considerably through their work with REMEO.
In the Province of Tarragona, the Spanish foundation “Fundació La Muntanyeta” supports people with cerebral palsy, in order to defend their rights and improve their quality of life. More than 100 people receive care in a school, a day care center and a dormitory. In 2019, Messer actively supported the construction of a day care center and additional dormitory rooms and provided a vacuum system and medical oxygen supply for all rooms. People with cerebral palsy often suffer from respiratory trouble. According to a concept from Messer, the supply system makes it possible to provide the healthcare in the room that the affected person occupies. They can remain in their own private space, and therefore in a comfortable environment, when they need medical assistance.
Health is about more than just medicine – a positive work environment is also important for one’s well-being. For that reason, Messer in the Czech Republic furnished its headquarters in Prague with a new break area that includes a kitchen, a rest zone and two telephone rooms in 2019. And the offices of the Czech joint venture MG Odra Gas in Ostrava-Vratimov have also been renovated and equipped with sport areas. With these investments, Messer in the Czech Republic has been creating the right conditions for a satisfying, healthy workplace – and thereforealso for a motivated, effective team.
Since 2019, through its company health insurance fund, Messer Hungarogáz offers its employees the full range of private medical services. The high-quality healthcare services of Medicover are available to the employees in all medical areas, including examinations, state-of-the-art diagnostics, and hospital care. The agreement is supplemented by the full spectrum of emergency services throughout the capital city of Budapest. In this way, even in an emergency, employees and their families have ready access to high-quality medical services without waiting periods.
In 2019, once again, Messer companies in Germany donated some 5,500 euros – profit from the sale of food, beverages and stainless steel art – to the association “Hilfe für krebskranke Kinder Frankfurt e.V.” (“Frankfurt Helps Children with Cancer”). November 2019 marked already the fifth time that Messer has organized a Christmas market on Messer Square at the corporate headquarters.
In 2019, Messer started supporting the “Montbike Messer Kids” mountain bike club, where girls and boys from 5 to 14 years of age practice. They already have competed in mountain bike and cross-country races in Catalonia and other regions of Spain as well as in international competitions in France and Belgium. Three club members are already classified as Catalonian champions.
For many years now, Messer in Switzerland has been supporting the association PluSport Behindertensport Schweiz. That commitment to the promotion of disabled sports in Switzerland was recognized once again in 2019.
Messer in Slovenia supports regional sporting events in which employees of Messer Slovenija also participate. One of them is Dani Bastašic, who works as a warehouse clerk in the cylinder gases area. Each year he runs in more than ten races throughout Slovenia – including the 2019 edition of the “Vetrov tek” race, which was the 11th time it has been held in Ruše. Supported by Messer, the competition attracted many running enthusiasts of all ages.