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During the night of August 12 2015, a serious blast occurred at a chemical warehouse in proximity to the SGS Tianjin office.

The violent blast caused casualties and serious property loss, as well as damage to buildings up to three kilometers away.

SGS Tianjin deployed an emergency response team to assess the impact of the blast and coordinated emergency responses. Safety officers from each line of business contacted employees and discovered that one employee, from our Governments and Institutions Service business, had been injured in his home. As well as accompanying the employee to hospital, the company reserved hotel rooms to accommodate more than 20 employees and their families who were displaced as a result of blast damage to their homes.

With a number of our SGS laboratories having also been damaged, emergency maintenance was carried out on our buildings. However, residual concerns about air and water quality, coupled with the prospect of poor weather conditions that might exacerbate risks to health, it was decided that employees should not return to work until further notice.

SGS Tianjin initiated a business continuity plan (BCP), which saw a number of employees relocated to another SGS site in the Konggang Economic Zone. The company also arranged for frontline staff to meet clients outside SGS offices. It also purchased emergency supplies of 400 air purifying respirators and 1,000 masks for employees. The OI team then undertook proactive inspections of each business unit on the use and storage of hazardous products and assessed stocks of emergency supplies.

Following the incident, employees did their best to resume normal services for customers. This meant deploying call forwarding technology to transfer calls made to the SGS office number to employees’ own mobile phones.

On September 9, once the environment had been assessed as safe and stable, employees were able to move back into their offices and resume normal operations.

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