Caring for the people, places, materials and processes thank make our products possible
We are passionate about the role of plastic products in making everyday life healthier, easier and safer. We are equally passionate about caring for the people, places, materials and processes that make these products possible.
Responsible Care and talented people are the foundation of our business. NOVA Chemicals has consistently demonstrated that we genuinely care for the well-being and growth of our employees and the communities where we live. That’s why we view employment at NOVA Chemicals as a partnership. We foster employee commitment to our company, its mission and to our collective success through this relationship. That begins by demonstrating personal care for the safety and well-being of our employees and extends to providing a responsible, collaborative and engaging workplace.
We take care to attract and develop talented people who are committed to the safety and well-being of themselves and those around them. More information about our Responsible Care Performance Data can be found in our Sustainability Report.
Health, Hygiene & Occupational Safety
At NOVA Chemicals, we believe we are responsible for our own personal safety and for the safety of the people around us. Although our total recordable injury performance is relatively strong, we continue to pursue our goal of an injury-free workplace. Our company-wide approach to safety programming encourages a consistent culture across our operations. We use several programs to instill a safety culture and use consistent communications to reinforce learning models.
In addition to operating our facilities safely each day, we are committed to providing health and wellness programs that allow employees to shape their future for a healthier and happier lifestyle. Our occupational health and wellness programs are designed to protect employees and contractors from both immediate on-the-job and long-term health risks.
Our industrial hygiene programs are designed to anticipate, recognize, evaluate and control chemical, physical and biological hazards in the workplace. Chemical management and hazard communications programs, worker training, worker exposure assessments, engineering control solutions and personal protective equipment are integrated to minimize workplace hazards.
Working with NOVA Chemicals
NOVA Chemicals’ occupational safety programs are designed to protect employees and contractors. Learn more about working with NOVA Chemicals.
For NOVA Chemicals, we emphasize process safety in order to prevent catastrophic accidents, particularly explosions, fires and toxic releases, and also minor accidents associated with the use of chemicals. We believe our operations can be managed to ensure that personal and process incidents that could harm people, property or the environment, are prevented.
“Layers of protection” is the engineering, operating and maintenance management model we follow for preventing process safety incidents. This model is based on the concept of multiple lines of defense, and addresses safety throughout the life cycle of the facility. Process safety starts with good process designs that tap into inherent safety concepts and align with industry best practices.
To ensure the safety of the communities in which we operate, we develop emergency response plans, processes and teams for each manufacturing site. Every plan addresses responsible parties and decision-making, resource mobilization and communications, among other procedures. Site-specific emergency training includes testing and inspection, and response activities for a variety of emergency scenarios. We conduct regular emergency response exercises in collaboration with local public safety authorities.
Safety extends from our own operations to communities and beyond, to the transportation of our products. Since we depend on carriers for the transportation of our products, we engage and review them extensively to help ensure safety. We ask carriers to do a self-assessment on their handling, routing, security and other safety concerns. We use industry-leading vendors to obtain third-party evaluations as well. Where possible, we work with suppliers that have a code or public declaration that they belong to Responsible Care.
Our NOVA Chemicals Logistic Emergency Response Team (NOVAlert) manages our emergency response capabilities to ensure our logistics activities comply with legislation and industry codes with respect to providing support and advice to authorities in charge of a transportation emergency incident.
In addition, NOVAlert maintains our transportation emergency response assistance plan (ERAP) and capabilities for all of the commodities shipped via all modes of transportation to or from NOVA Chemicals’ facilities. The team is on-call 24-hours-a-day and is distributed on a regional basis so they can quickly respond to any situation.
Throughout North America, we engage with TRANSCAER (Transportation Community Awareness and Emergency Response), a voluntary national outreach effort that makes sure that communities are informed about the products being moved through their area by road and rail, and what measures are in place to ensure their safe transportation. We work with TRANSCAER to access best practices, share our experiences, engage with communities about emergency preparedness and to train first responders. To help ensure the security of our international supply chain, we are a registered partner of the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism and the Canada Border Services Agency Partners in Protection program.
Rail cars transport our finished products (pellets) and intermediate chemicals (such as butadiene and propylene). Many of our transportation safety activities are aimed at preventing routine leaks (i.e., non-accidental
releases or NARs). In 2019, we achieved six consecutive years of zero NARs. This achievement is the result of our dedicated team, employee training, and rail car inspection and maintenance program that includes a strict fluidsealing management program.
In 2019, we focused on strengthening our incident response procedures, and demonstrated our commitment to avoiding plastic loss to the environment through the development of a pellet spill response checklist.
To date, there have been no industry standards for cleaning polyethylene (PE) spills. Our team applied hazardous material response principles (often applied to chemicals) to create a PE spill response checklist, following a transportation incident. The checklist covers initial response, containment, ground and water clean up and remediation activities. We have shared the checklist with our transportation carriers to ensure they have clear proactive guidelines for use in the unlikely event of a pellet release.
To ensure the safety of the communities in which NOVA operates, the company maintains emergency response plans, teams and equipment for each manufacturing site. As we upgrade our own emergency equipment, the older equipment is re-purposed to help students learn new skills. The 2000 model year fire truck has a 1,000-gallon foam tank capacity, Williams Hot Shot foam system and a 2,000 gallon per minute deck gun, among other features.
We know that safety is the top priority for the communities in which we operate. That’s why we make it a priority to be a good neighbor. For the last ten years, our employees have volunteered at the Emergency Preparedness Day in Sarnia, Ontario. The event is an opportunity for the community to learn about emergency preparedness through displays, demonstrations and conversations with local professionals.
Our Joffre, Alberta Site has hosted three annual Emergency Preparedness Awareness Community BBQs for the community. This is a good way to share information about our level of emergency preparedness, answer questions and allow our neighbors to tour our site emergency equipment.