Dedicated to safety
Employee safety is an integral part of an employer’s responsibility. Novartis Group companies are committed to providing our associates with safe workplaces.
Reducing accidents is a top priority for Novartis. We have systems in place to prevent accidents and ensure our operations are safe. Ongoing training programs for employees and annual targets aim to bring us closer to our goal of an accident-free environment for all Group company associates.
Occupational safety is influenced by employee behavior. Programs emphasizing safe behavior support an integrated approach to personal health and safety, because accidents and incidents are endpoints in a chain of events. The root cause may be technical, but decisions and behavior can have a significant impact on the frequency and severity of accidents or incidents.
Novartis strives to create a safety culture including:
- Continuous improvement: Promoting a safety culture is an ongoing effort.
- Adaptability: Effective safety culture programs are adapted to the individual circumstances of a country, site or department.
- Involvement and accountability: Associates on all levels must be engaged to create ownership and commitment. All lost time accidents as well as incidents and near-misses with high potential to result in accidents are reported and recorded as learning opportunities.
- Problem-solving: Novartis aims to create an open and honest culture, where problems and risks can be identified and resolved by involving Group company associates at all levels.
Work-related injuries and illnesses among affiliates’ associates are measured and reported as two distinct indicators:
- Total recordable case rate (TRCR): the total rate of injury and illness cases with and without lost work time
- Lost time injury and illness rate (LTIR): the rate of absenteeism cases due to occupational injury and illness
As a result of systematic improvements in processes and protective measures, these numbers have declined each year. In 2013, our TRCR was 0.42, exceeding our improvement target of 5% compared to 2012. Our LTIR was 0.12, exceeding our target of 0.14.
Handling biological materials is an integral and essential part of research, development and manufacturing programs at Novartis. Biological materials can include human or animal pathogens, and experimental or transgenic animals.
We take great care to ensure we prevent material misuse. Our biosafety program sets out standards, tools and practices for associates to manage potential risks when handling biological materials. Risk management and safety measures are stipulated in our guidelines on biosafety and in our detailed guidance notes. These standards are binding and based on best practice. We regularly assess compliance through audits at sites conducting biological activities.
Novartis also supports the goals and objectives of the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BTWC) as well as the protocol on compliance with the convention.