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Health & Safety

Oerlikon’s foremost priority is to safeguard the health and wellbeing of its employees as mandated by the Group’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors. The Group’s health and safety ambition remains “Zero Harm to People”, including our employees, contractors, visitors and the communities in which the company operates. The goal is to ensure that no one comes to harm within Oerlikon’s sites or while working for the company at external locations. 

Based on the belief that all injuries, occupational illnesses and diseases can be avoided, the company’s health and safety commitment is to undertake all necessary measures to systematically apply the defined parameters, processes and tools, seek continuous improvement, assess and manage risks, provide training and conduct regular reviews.

Since 2016, Oerlikon has had in place a “Health, Safety and Environmental Sustainability” policy, which applies to the entire company worldwide. In 2021, that policy underwent a review and a new “Sustainability, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE)” policy was approved by the Board of Directors and came into effect in January 2022. The policy was updated to capture the sustain­ability and HSE ambitions, commitments and actions to be taken not only for HSE topics but also for other key sustainability areas, such as diversity and governance. The newly issued policy will be accessible online at

As the pandemic persisted in 2021, Oerlikon continued to enforce rules of operation on safe distancing, hand washing, use of masks and optimization of ventilation and further continued to utilize wearable sensors to reinforce safe distancing. At the same time, the company encouraged employees to get vaccinated at centers on sites or have time off to get vaccinated at a nearby center.

Accident Rates

Oerlikon has been using the total accident frequency rate (TAFR) since 2017 to track the rate of recordable work-related injuries. TAFR is based on 200 000 hours worked by employees. With the 2020 Sustainability Report, a TAFR target was set for 2030. In 2021, Oerlikon’s TAFR was 0.72 (excluding acquisitions), which is a reduction of 18% compared to 0.88 in the 2019 baseline year (compared to previous 2016 baseline: -45%).

The Group also tracks the lost time accident (LTA) severity rate: the number of calendar days lost per each LTA per 200 000 hours worked. The severity rate of 15.80 in 2021 represented a 54% increase over the previous year (which was 10.25) due to a few accidents in 2021 where longer recovery periods were needed.

In 2021, Oerlikon implemented further health and safety measures for employees. The Group organized once again its global HSE day – this time focusing on  risk/hazard identification and proactively contributing to safety by following the four principles of: Spot it; Solve it; Share it; and Learn it. Global HSE days began in 2015 but paused for one year due to the pandemic.

For further information on the Group’s health and safety initiatives and measures, including on product safety, refer to the Group’s 2021 Sustainability Report.



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