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IndustriALL and Rhodia-Solvay meet to improve safety

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9 July, 2012IndustriALL and Rhodia, part of the Belgian-based Solvay chemicals group, held the third meeting of the Global Safety Panel at the company’s operation in Chalampé, France on 26 to 27 June 2012.

The panel was established as part of the provisions of the Global Framework Agreement, to monitor Rhodia’s health and safety policies and practices, as well as to continue ongoing dialogue between the company and its workers and make recommendations on improvements. The Chalampé site occupies an important position within Rhodia as one of the largest sites for the production of polyamide (nylon) precursors and intermediaries.

Following the union side’s own pre-meeting, the IndustriALL and Rhodia groups briefed each other on the status of their respective merger processes. Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL expressed the expectation that the Rhodia Global Framework Agreement would be extended to the broader Solvay family.

The Panel discussed at some length a recent adipic acid accident at Rhodia's operations in Brazil. Rhodia's Jean-Christophe Sciberras made an important presentation on Rhodia's response to workplace stress. IndustriALL's regional representatives made short reports on their perspectives from their regions.


There is a well-developed system at Chalampé that encourages employees to propose solutions to safety problems that they perceive. These are reviewed and prioritized, and the necessary resources are allocated to implement the best ones. Following presentations about the Chalampé site were several reports on local and regional safety performance and programmes.

As part of the programme, IndustriALL representatives on the Panel met with elected local health and safety representatives of the Chalampé site concerning industrial relations and the health and safety situation. Local representatives reported how they handle health and safety matters through their joint committees.

After the participants toured the facility, the Panel discussion delved into some of the philosophical underpinnings of some of Rhodia's other safety programmes, including process safety management, industrial hygiene, and behavioural safety. IndustriALL representatives pointed out the drawbacks of behavioural approaches to safety.

At the conclusion of the meeting, IndustriAll's Brian Kohler and Kemal Özkan thanked the Rhodia team for hosting the meeting. Kohler stated that he considered the meeting more interesting than preceding ones, with substantive discussions starting to emerge on the overall philosophy and direction of best practice safety programmes, and hoped that the Global Safety Panel would continue on this path with cooperation to extend the work of the Panel to Rhodia and Solvay operations globally.

The IndustriALL delegation was composed of Juarez Nogueira of Sindquim, Brazil; Scott Harrington of the United Steelworkers (USW), USA; Jean-Luc Rué (replacing Maurice Tritsch) of CFDT, France; Jie Dong from China; and Kemal Özkan and Brian Kohler from IndustriALL headquarters.

Rhodia/Solvay management was represented by Jacques Kheliff (Vice-President, Sustainable Development), Jean-Christophe Sciberras (Vice President, Human Resources), Michel Washer (Senior Exec. VP; Gen. Mgr. Corporate Strategy & Development, Solvay), Patrick Cleret (Directeur, Rhodia Belle-Etoile (Lyon), Savino Leone (Directeur, Rhodia Chalampé), Jean-Louis Vanier (Responsable Sécurité, Rhodia Chalampé).