From the perspective of preventing the spread of COVID-19 infection, we levelled the number of mobilization by reduction of the scale and extension of construction period in shutdown maintenances undertaken at refineries and complexes. Moreover, we placed priority on utilizing workers from local communities to minimize the workers from remote areas. We have implemented thoroughgoing health management along with stringent countermeasures aimed at safeguarding the workers from COVID-19 infection during their working times as well as during their commutes in all construction works.
In 2019, a serious accident (a fire) occurred at an affiliated company. This accident forced said company to suspend operations for approximately four months. In response, Idemitsu assisted this company in its efforts to investigate the cause of the accident and formulate recurrence prevention measures. We will continue to strengthen our initiatives to prevent serious accidents.
The number of occupational accidents in the Group in 2019 was approximately 20% higher than the number in 2018. This increase is due in part to accidents involving workers at partner companies performing such tasks as shutdown maintenance. With this in mind, we will step up safety initiatives to strictly adhere to Life Saving Rule while identifying hazards and implementing countermeasures in non-routine operations and works. We will also strongly assist partner companies in their efforts to ensure workers safety.
In FY2020, with the aim of achieving the “Challenge of zero accidents,” each department is promoting the PDCA cycle for safety and environmental management on its own initiative, and is working to continue safe and stable operations. To this end, each department takes a comprehensive approach to identifying any potential hazards, including those associated with processes and equipment, while implementing countermeasures via appropriate risk assessment measures.
At the FY2019 Safety & Security Advisory Committee, we reviewed the Earthquake Risk Management Guidelines we have had in place since 2005. In an effort to reduce the likelihood of the Company suffering serious damage due to the occurrence of a major earthquake, this review involved the reevaluation of our traditional guidelines in short-period seismic motions with varying intervals of recurrence. As part of this review, we have also incorporated risk assessment for both long- and short-period seismic motions at the maximum seismic intensities to strengthen our disaster response capabilities. Based on these risk assessments, we launched discussions regarding countermeasures to be implemented to ensure our preparedness for these disasters. In addition, the committee is striving to draw on takeaways from the Hokkaido Eastern Iburi Earthquake in 2018. At the same time, as for disasters including mega typhoons and high tides, studies of the consequence and countermeasures for its reduction are currently under way at our refineries, complexes, oil depots and lubricant-related facilities.
Our refineries and complexes have worked to strengthen our measures in preparation for natural disasters. As for earthquakes, we have periodically assessed the earthquake resistance of our facilities based on the standards required by law to secure resilience against the expected earthquake magnitudes, and strengthen them, if necessary. In addition, having learned lessons from the Tokachi- oki Earthquake and other disasters, we have assessed and enhanced the earthquake resistance of our facilities against expected earthquake magnitudes to an extent that exceeds the standards required by law.
Following the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, laws concerning high-pressure gas equipment were tightened and the standards of earthquake resistance were reviewed. In response to these changes, we have been systematically reinforcing the spherical tanks and other relevant facilities that store LPG at the Group’s refineries and complexes in order to improve the earthquake resistance of their support structures.
In FY2019, we reinforced our facilities at refineries, complexes and oil depots by employing subsidy programs offered by the government under the banner of building national resilience. Looking ahead, our group will consider the further enhancement of earthquake resistance.
At the Group 's refineries and complexes, the Safety & Environmental Protection Section of each site plays a central role in promoting safety assurance of refineries and complexes and environmental conservation. Moreover, in collaboration with business partners of refineries and complexes, we conduct thorough daily safety inspections and take all possible measures to prevent accidents, while forming a self-protection and disaster prevention teams in the event of an accident and carrying out periodic disaster prevention training.
Specifically, in order to promptly implement emergency responses in the event of natural disasters and other disasters as well as disaster prevention activities, we prepare disaster scenarios based on past disasters and carry our periodic disaster prevention training with business partners. We also conduct evacuation drills in consideration of the occurrence of tsunami caused by a large-scale earthquake.
In February, 2020, we deployed a new disaster prevention vehicle to improve the disaster prevention capacity of the Tokyo Oil Terminal. Equipped with a "seawater-based fire-fighting irrigation system", to secure the water supply, this vehicle can use seawater to reach 4000ℓ/min (equivalent to conventional fire pumps) when underground water is unable to be used due to disaster such as an earthquake below the city.
We will continue to work to improve disaster prevention capabilities everywhere we operate.