Operational incidents at our worldwide production sites

Henkel openly reports operational incidents when the consequences include at least one of the following:

  • Endangerment of the neighborhood or the environment,
  • Tangible losses of more than 50,000 euros,
  • A high level of public reaction.

The measures and corrective actions initiated as a result are also disclosed.


Enoree, South Carolina, USA, January 2011

Occupational incidentMeasures Initiated
In 2011, one serious incident occurred at a Henkel site. At one of our hotmelt adhesive production plants in South Carolina, USA, a fire broke out in one of the mixing units. The local fire department was, however, able to quickly bring the fire under control. Two operators had to be treated for burns at the local hospital. The plant was shut down for several days for root cause analysis. A team of independent experts confirmed that the fire was triggered by an electrostatic charge from filling solid materials to the mixer, causing a combustible dust cloud.As corrective measures, we installed modified filling equipment and new controls. Also, a new, stricter procedure was launched to improve process safety at our worldwide hotmelt plants and prevent similar incidents in the future.

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Oitti, Finland, June 2010

Occupational incidentMeasures Initiated
In 2010, one serious incident occurred at a Henkel site. After a factory in Oitti, Finland, had been closed down, potentially harmful emissions were generated when an external service provider was carrying out cleaning work on tanks. The emissions also settled on the neighboring area.Henkel informed the local residents, supervisory bodies and the media about the incident and the measures to be taken. We also set up a central hotline so that we could respond rapidly to residents’ questions. An independent external expert analyzed soil, water and plant samples; the results showed that no health risks to those living around the site and no long-term damage to the environment were expected. All actions were taken in close cooperation with the Finnish authorities. We have thoroughly analyzed this incident and, as a consequence, revised the specifications for site closures accordingly.

Saveh, Iran, December 2010

Operational IncidentMeasures Initiated
At our site in Saveh, Iran, there was a fire in a warehouse for packaging materials.Thanks to the rapid action of employees, and with the support of the fire department, the fire was brought under control and farther-reaching damage prevented. As a consequence, the fire protection equipment at the site was thoroughly examined. This incident underscores the importance of regular SHE training for our employees.


Japan, Ireland and the USA

Operational IncidentMeasures Initiated
In 2009, no serious occupational incidents occurred at any of the Henkel sites. We recorded three relatively minor incidents. In two cases, small amounts of wastewater or emissions with potentially adverse effects were released. In one case, our safety precautions turned out to be insufficient.

At our site in Hino, Japan, wastewater from an overflown tank spilled into a nearby ditch. The affected areas were cleaned up immediately.

At Ballyfermot, Ireland, four kilograms of gas from adhesives production were emitted during cylinder changeover. In line with the existing emergency procedures we ensured that our employees were appropriately evacuated and that neighbors were informed of the incident.

After a fire incident within our production facility at St. Louis, Missouri, USA, four workers were injured during the subsequent clean-up work.
All incidents were reported to the local authorities and thoroughly investigated. Final safety analyses confirmed that no lasting adverse environmental impacts occurred. A list of preventive actions was drawn up to avoid the occurrence of such incidents in the future.


Posen, Poland, August 2008

Operational IncidentMeasures Initiated
A major fire occurred at our central warehouse for cosmetics and adhesives in Posen. The building and many of the finished products and advertising materials stored there were destroyed. Thanks to the well-trained response of our employees, everyone in the building was able to exit safely. The warehouse had actually been inspected by the local fire protection authorities the day before the fire, and no deficiencies had been identified. The fire most probably started in an office area that belongs to the warehouse but is not leased by Henkel. The professional reactions of our employees confirmed the relevance of our safety, health and environment (SHE) training courses, which we intend to intensify.

Boituva, Brazil, March 2008

Operational IncidentMeasures Initiated
At our site in Boituva, about two cubic meters of a mixture of water and solvent overflowed from the containment system, ran into the site’s rainwater drainage system, and emerged on land outside the site. The Henkel emergency team reacted at once in a professional manner and cleaned up the area, therefore the local authorities did not impose a fine. A final analysis of the soil and groundwater showed no further pollution of the affected area.A root cause analysis showed that a failure in the system for monitoring the addition of the solvent caused first a vessel and then the containment system to overflow. We immediately informed the environmental authorities and took all necessary action to minimize the consequences outside the Henkel premises. The plant was repaired, and a list of preventive actions was drawn up to improve the safety of this and similar processes, and to avoid the occurrence of such incidents in the future.


Nemours, France, November 2006

Operational IncidentMeasures Initiated
At the Nemours site, fabric softener was swept into a nearby stream along with rainwater and caused an increase in the level of organic substances in the stream.Henkel reacted immediately, and the polluted water was pumped out and treated. In March 2007, an automatic monitoring system was installed to check the rainwater before it is discharged into the stream.

Last updated: March 8, 2012