CSR Charter Ⅰ Creating Value for Customers
Safety and Security 4: Consumption Stage
Principle and Outline
Ensuring safety and security in providing gas services to customers is a city gas provider's mission. Osaka Gas conducts periodical checks and inspections of gas facilities set up on the customers' site. The company has also put in place more advanced safety measures against possible large-scale earthquakes and other disasters. We are disseminating information on the safe use of gas, while striving to enhance the safety levels of our gas equipment and services, and are diffusing such equipment and services.
Products and Services Ensure Safe Use by Customers
Informing customers about gas appliance safety
To ensure that customers can use their gas appliances with peace of mind, we take every opportunity to talk to them about the safety of their appliances: during regular safety inspections, when providing a new gas service, and when conducting repairs.
The Osaka Gas website has a section with important announcements on gas appliances, where we talk about the proper use of gas appliances, and post prompt notices about product modifications or defects.
Report on an accident involving the generation of carbon monoxide in Osaka Prefecture and requests to customers regarding how to use gas appliances safely
In August 2016, there was an incident of incomplete combustion in a towel steamer set up in a business-use building in Osaka Prefecture, generating carbon monoxide and resulting in one person being admitted to hospital and diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning.
Following the incident, Osaka Gas reported it to the Kinki branch of the Chubu Kinki Industrial Safety and Inspection Department of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry in line with the relevant law, and disseminated a brochure, “How to use gas appliances safely,” through its website.
The following are preventive measures we have decided to take following the incident.
①A brochure detailing how to use gas appliances safely is sent to customers by direct mail.
②Osaka Gas staff explain how to use gas appliances safely to customers when they visit their houses for
periodical checkups, and stress the importance of ventilation via a sticker placed on gas appliances
set up at each house.
③Osaka Gas staff obtain customers' comments on the use of gas appliances when they visit their homes
to start the service.
Dissemination of safer equipment, services ensure customers' safety
Osaka Gas strives to bring customers products and services that ensure they are using gas safely.
Osaka Gas would like to take all the old gas appliances that have no safety mechanisms out of the market. In particular, we are visiting customers using old appliances without incomplete combustion prevention devices, such as small tankless gas water heaters and wire-mesh gas stoves, and recommending that they upgrade to a safer gas appliance. We also offer to bear a part of the cost to ease the financial burden on the customer.
We also provide gas alarm systems that warn of gas leaks and carbon monoxide emissions caused by incomplete combustion, and we have a range of services that dispatch staff to a home when trouble is detected.
With the aim of eradicating gas fires originating from gas stoves, starting in April 2008 we have equipped all products with a function that automatically turns off the flame when the user forgets to. We have been working to spread the use of this product, called the “Si” Sensor-Equipped Cooking Stove.
As of 1999, 86.9% of gas stoves in Osaka Gas's service area had this safety feature and this number has been increasing ever since. In FY2017, it reached 95.6%. While almost all new models have this feature, some users have not yet upgraded from their old models.
Taking old gas appliances with no safety mechanisms off the market
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning accidents, in fiscal 2008 Osaka Gas began visiting customers to replace their old appliances with ones equipped with incomplete combustion prevention devices. We use every opportunity to inform customers about the dangers of carbon monoxide and recommend they upgrade to safer products: during individual home inspections or at other meetings with customers, through direct mail and newspaper ads, and during meter readings. We also offer to bear a part of the cost to ease the financial burden on the customer.
In order to accelerate the recovery of old appliances not equipped with incomplete combustion prevention devices, we plan to continue our efforts to recommend customers to upgrade to safer products through meetings with customers and direct mail.
Newspaper Ad Informing Customers How to Use Gas Appliances Safely and Recommending They Replace Older Appliances
Spreading the use of “Si” Sensor-Equipped cooking stoves with safety functions
With the aim of eradicating fires that start from gas stoves, all cooking stoves that were manufactured on April 1, 2008 or after are equipped with a device to prevent the overheating of cooking oil, equipment for ensuring flame failure safety, automatically turning off the flame when the user forgets to do sooner if the pot becomes overheated. We have been working to spread the use of this product, called the “Si” Sensor-Equipped Cooking Stove.
Osaka Gas provides users with information about these safety features, using illustrations in our brochures and on the website, as shown below.
Since March 2008, all residential gas stove models (except for stationary single-hob stoves) sold by Osaka Gas supply chain are equipped with a sensor for each burner. As of the end of March 2017, we had sold approximately 1,020,000* of these. And in March 2010, Osaka Gas began the Rakutoku Lease service, which allows customers to lease the latest “Si” Sensor-Equipped Cooking Stove (built-in type) or a gas oven (built-in type).
- *About the amount of sales
- This includes sensor-equipped models that we were already selling before March 2008.
“Si” Sensor-Equipped Cooking Stoves with Safety Functions
Providing a range of alarm systems and services for residential customers
By providing various services, Osaka Gas has helped people continue their daily life safely and without concern, even in the event of an accident.
In 1980, the Company began selling the “Piko Piko” residential gas alarm system, which detects and warns of gas leaks. Since that time, various functions have been added to the original “Piko Piko” system to spread the use of alarm systems, including a function that warns of carbon monoxide emissions caused by incomplete combustion. Also added were a function that detects heat from fire and a function that detects smoke. In May 2015, Osaka Gas launched a battery-driven gas alarm system as part of another efforts to diffuse alarm systems. Such upgraded “Piko Piko” systems have mainly been used in kitchens.
In response to home fire alarms now mandatory under Japan's revised Fire Defense Law, we launched the “Kemu Piko” home fire alarm system, which is installed in bedrooms and stairways as smoke detectors. With our “Kuru Piko” service, if a problem is detected, emergency staff are dispatched to the site. We also offer home security systems such as “Osaka Gas SP (Security Partner)” in which homes are connected through the Internet to our monitoring center, which dispatches staff when problems are detected.
In May 2016, we launched the “Sumikata Service (Home Support Service),” a package of services and products we have developed to ensure customers' safety and security in emergencies.
“Ru Ru Ru Call M” service operated through smartphones and other mobile phones to ensure the safety and security of gas supply services
Osaka Gas's “Ru Ru Ru Call M” is intended to monitor the use of gas at customers' homes around the clock, using telecommunications lines, to keep customer's lives safe and carefree. If any irregularity is detected, the customer is informed of the problem and proper action is taken. “Ru Ru Ru Call M,” the upgraded version, is operated using a mobile phone such as a smartphone.
If customers find after leaving their homes that they are not confident about having turned off the gas, they can confirm the status of the use of their gas appliances while away from home using smartphones and other mobile phones. If a problem is confirmed, they can shut off the gas supply using a remote control gas meter system operated by mobile phone. Under “Ru Ru Ru Call M,” customers are swiftly warned of gas leaks and other irregularities by e-mail.
In addition, “Ru Ru Ru Call M” has a function in which if the customer's home is found to have used no gas in the previous day, the registered person will be informed of the fact by e-mail. The service is intended to protect family members living in different places by keeping a close watch on the use of gas.
How “Ru Ru Ru Call M” Works
Start of sale of household-use fire extinguishers
To contribute to customers' safety and security, Osaka Gas began selling household-use fire extinguishers in May 2016.
The fire-extinguishing agents used for the device come not in powder but in liquid form, making them safe to human health and environmentally friendly. The use of liquid also makes it easy to clean the discharged agent. Installation is also easy due to its compact size, and various color variations are available.
Lending ventilation alarm systems to commercial cooking facilities
In Japan, a number of cases are reported every year of carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of faulty air supply or unused exhaust equipment in restaurants and other commercial facilities, partly because many people work in restaurants, and some work in kitchens without checking the conditions of the air supply and exhaust equipment installed. As a result, defective air supply or non-use of exhaust equipment is a frequent cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.
In order to reduce such accidents, Osaka Gas conducted a survey of our approximately 120,000 customers (in the restaurant, hotel, bakery, and school lunch catering industries) who use commercial gas cooking equipment, and, from January 2009, rented out business-use ventilation alarm systems (CO sensors) free-of-charge whenever deemed necessary.
In view of the effectiveness of business-use ventilation alarm systems, we will continue to rent out such alarm systems free of charge.* When our staff visit households to conduct regular inspections, we will replace old alarm systems with new ones while installing new alarm systems in houses where no such equipment has been installed in the past, in line with meticulously crafted plans.
- * Free rent
- Free rent covers a six-year period following the installation of the ventilation alarm system.
Accuracy in Advertising
Ensuring complete accuracy and honesty in advertising based on the code of conduct
Recognizing that our customers rely on our advertisements and product descriptions to make informed decisions when choosing products and services, Osaka Gas strives to provide accurate information on its products and services in line with the item No. 9 (Ensuring safety of products and services) of the “Osaka Gas Group Code of Conduct.”
Responding to rising popularity and demand among our customers for environmentally friendly products, whenever the degree of environmental friendliness of a product is printed in our catalog, as a rule we ensure the accuracy by double-checking the manufacturer's claims of the product's performance data and confirming those numbers internally.
As for the safety of products and services offered by Osaka Gas, we are managing their development and quality control as well as labeling and information disclosure in line with the technological standards stipulated under the Gas Business Act and the Law Concerning the Securing of Safety and the Optimization of Transactions of Liquefied Petroleum Gas, and guidelines set by the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) and the Japan Gas Appliances Inspection Association (JIA) as well as in-house rules.
When Problems Occur
Prompt announcements, inspection and repair
When there is a product accident or other problem with a gas appliance that Osaka Gas sold, installed, or repaired, we immediately inform the media and place notices in newspapers and on our website. At the same time, we proceed with the inspection of the product in question and if necessary repair it or replace parts.
Response to a problem in FY2017
One problem involving our products was reported in fiscal 2017, and we took response action.
The problem involved Osaka Gas brand bathroom heating and drying equipment (36-558 type). It was discovered that a tracking phenomenon had occurred in the terminal portion of the inside of a fun motor installed in the equipment to circulate warm air in the bathroom. The equipment in question was found to have a design problem, potentially causing it to catch fire when in use which is the case not yet occurred in our service area. Following the incident, we asked customers to stop using the product and proceeded the replacement of the part in question.
Gas Equipment Inspections
Expanded scope of gas equipment inspections
We ask for cooperation from customers in our inspections of their gas facilities, which are important for the maintaining safety and security of our service.
During our regular safety patrols* to carry out legally-required gas equipment inspections, we have not only been checking on the condition of gas equipment and the presence of any gas leaks but have also been expanding the scope of these inspections to include checking on the inflammation of certain appliances and measuring the level of carbon monoxide emissions. We have also been endeavoring to give people reminders on using gas safely.
- * Frequency of regular safety patrols
- We patrol general buildings at least once every 4 years and specified underground malls/rooms at least once a year.
Custom-Made Safety Check Service for Commercial –Use Gas Appliances
For customers using gas and gas appliances in factories and retail facilities such as restaurants, in addition to inspections required by law, we conduct special customized surveys in response to customer requests and provide a "custom-made service" to meet individual customer needs.
For example, after a special survey of customer needs and wants, we draw layouts of the customer's facilities, carry out anti-corrosion work on gas pipes, and organize joint safety training.
“All-Employee Gas Safety Initiative” Ensures Customer Safety
Employees with safety knowledge ensure safety for customers
Osaka Gas believes that the foundation of the gas business is the pursuit of safety by each and every employee. That's the reason behind our "All-Employee Gas Safety Initiative". The initiative is aimed at giving all employees the knowledge to handle customer inquiries about gas and to eliminate the risk of gas accidents caused by leaks and products with no safety features. (For details, see “Objectives of the All-Employee Gas Safety Initiative” below.)
The company intranet informs all employees which safety measures to take, and gives basic information about gas and gas appliance safety. Osaka Gas distributes a handbook on safety to all employees, as well as installation contractors and service shops.
Our website has a wealth of ways for employees to learn about safety and provides a training course on how to find gas appliances with no safety device for preventing incomplete combustion, and how to recommend that customers replace such appliances.
Objectives of the “All-Employee Gas safety Initiative”
- Ensuring employees acquire accurate knowledge of safety so they can explain the safe use of gas appliances to customers.
All employees, regardless of their jobs, should have a proper knowledge of gas and gas appliance safety, and Osaka Gas's approaches and efforts for safety. This will enable them to use every opportunity to confidently address customer concerns and questions about gas and to explain how to use gas safely and securely.
- Finding unsafe appliances and equipment
If unsafe appliances or equipment (those with no incomplete combustion prevention devices) are discovered, everyone in the Osaka Gas group should be able to take the proper measures to ensure customer safety; this includes communicating the dangers of such appliances and recommending their replacement.
Across the organization, we are striving as a business to cultivate proper public understanding by providing accurate information on Osaka Gas's efforts for safety not only to our customers but to government/municipalities officials and opinion leaders as well.
“Four Safety Provisions”
At Osaka Gas, our ultimate mission is to ensure that customers can use gas safely and with peace of mind. To this end, in November 2009 we established the “Four Safety Provisions” to strengthen actions we had previously been taking. The aim is to reduce accidents and problems by meticulously following four universal codes of conduct: adherence to rules, re-confirmation, work stoppage when encountering contingencies, and safety awareness training. We will follow these provisions to keep ourselves continuously aware of our responsibilities for customer safety.
Provision of Services Aimed at Ensuring the Safety and Security of Customers
Osaka Gas Security Service Co., Ltd.
Emergency Notification Systems for Elderly Persons
We run a project to install emergency notification systems in the homes of elderly persons. The project also offers health consultations and responds to emergencies. The “Nurse Call Center,” run by our company, is staffed by certified clinical and health nurses who handle consultations and emergency calls 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The systems allow customers to contact the “Nurse Call Center” and speak hands-free merely by pressing the emergency button. Depending on the situation, we send out our emergency workers to the caller's home or arrange for an ambulance to pick them up, and we contact their registered relatives. We also offer an “Ogenki (Hello) Call” service, in which we make a phone call to users on a regular basis to confirm their safety and living conditions as well as providing consultation.
The “Emergency Notification” service is outsourced to us mainly by municipalities in the Kansai region, and it is currently utilized in the homes of some 40,000 customers. We also have a service that we contract directly with the customer, called the “Omamori (Protection) Call” service. Through these initiatives, we are committed to guarding the safety and security of elderly persons.
The Emergency Notification Service System
OGIS-RI Co., Ltd.
“Template to Confirm Safety,” a Useful System during Disasters
OGIS-RI Co., Ltd. is offering “Business GURUCHIZU,” a map system service built on Google Maps that allows for the central management of various kinds of information.
OGIS-RI also offers a “Template to Confirm Safety,” a system to connect “Business Guru Maps” with emergency calls to ensure emergency contact or confirm safety. This system allows companies to obtain accurate information on the whereabouts of their employees and to visually grasp the scope and extent of damage caused by a disaster. When a disaster occurred recently, this system was effectively used by companies to call on employees living near their companies to come to the office and tell those living near the disaster-hit area to evacuate their homes.