Health and safety – Performance in 2013/14

We are working hard to instil a culture of safe behaviour and strive towards our objective of zero fatalities.

We have a wide range of programmes and systems to tackle our key risks, often specifically tailored to the particular needs of our markets. Despite this we greatly regret to report that 12 people died while undertaking work on behalf of Vodafone last year. Strengthening programmes to target occupational road risk – one of our biggest risk areas and the main cause of these fatalities – remains a major focus for all markets. However, through increased awareness and a strong focus on managing our top five safety risks, our injury rates have continued to decline in 2013/14.

Making safety part of leadership

At Vodafone, we make it clear that if you want to be a leader in our business, you must personally value safety. We continued to embed safety into leadership programmes such as our Technology Excellence programme, Leading in The Vodafone Way and induction training for senior leaders.

Executives across the Group, local market Technology Directors and local market HR Directors now have annual personal objectives on health, safety and wellbeing, and similar objectives have been extended to senior leadership teams in every local market. This is reinforcing health and safety as the responsibility of our key decision makers, as a core part of what they do and what others need to do to be considered for senior positions.

In 2013/14, executives and senior leaders in each local market were required to conduct at least one site tour per quarter to show that safety is important to them and ensure people know that Vodafone cares about their personal safety.

  • Ongoing
  • Achieved
  • Partial
  • Not achieved
Objective Our performance in 2013/14 Status
Ensuring local and regional executives complete at least two senior management site tours a year An average of one site tour per quarter was conducted by senior management in each market Achieved objective

In focus: Mission Reach makes safety personal in India and Qatar

Our Mission Reach programme in India is raising awareness of our Absolute Rules (see Approach) on safety, checking employees have completed their safety induction and letting them know we care about their personal safety.

People across our business in India each make weekly calls to 10 employees and contractors working in high-risk roles, holding a scripted conversation with them on safety, asking questions depending on what they are doing that day such as “Are you wearing your helmet?” or “Does someone know where you are going?”. In 2013/14, more than 100,000 calls were made.

In Qatar, we ran a week-long awareness raising campaign in 2013/14 to make safety personal for employees. The main focus was the value of being safe for your family, to emphasise the importance of following our Absolute Rules on safety.

Occupational road risk

In 2013/14, introducing and strengthening programmes to reduce occupational road risk, one of our biggest risks and the main cause of fatalities, remained a major focus for all local markets. Road risk programmes tailored to local needs have now been implemented in all our local markets – two years ahead of our 2016 target. Programmes include:

  • Piloting Speed Governor in India which is a device that was fitted onto all field staff’s motorbikes to limit their speed to 60km. Reflector jackets are now included as part of mandatory personal protective equipment for our motorbike riders and travel during the hours of darkness is banned to reduce accidents
  • Launching a Driving Safety Campaign in Portugal to raise employee awareness about responsible driving and the importance of our Absolute Rules – initiatives included inviting employees to try simulators that replicated the experience of rolling over in a car, driving under the influence of alcohol and driving at high speeds, and a Q&A session with a representative of the National Authority for Road Safety
  • Holding a Road Safety Action Day in Germany to educate employees on braking and reaction distances, bike safety and the risks of drink driving – participants wore ‘drunken-glasses’ in a driving simulator to understand how alcohol affects vision and reactions
  • Discouraging texting behind the wheel through our network application, DriveSafe, in New Zealand – the app sends an automated response to all text messages received while driving, to let the sender know the person they have contacted is driving and will not respond immediately
  • Conducting an online assessment for all fleet drivers and employees with a company car in Spain to raise awareness of our Absolute Rules on safe driving and ensure they have the necessary driving qualifications
  • Assessing more than 1,100 of our vehicles and training over 2,360 of our drivers in Turkey as part of our certification to international traffic management standard, BS ISO 39001, for developing and maintaining a road traffic safety management system. Vodafone is the first company to achieve this standard in Turkey.
  • Ongoing
  • Achieved
  • Partial
  • Not achieved
Objective Our performance in 2013/14 Status
Implement occupational road risk programmes in all local markets by 2016 Road risk programmes tailored to local needs are now in place in all our markets. Achieved objective

As well as raising awareness among our employees and contractors, we are consulting with international motoring organisations and other multinational companies about how we can help to improve standards of road safety and share lessons learnt more widely in the countries where we operate. Through our involvement in Fleet Forum, which has over 200 member organisations, we are working with others to improve road safety in emerging and middle-income countries in a coordinated and efficient way.

Working with electricity

We continued to roll out our e-learning module on working with electricity in 2013/14 to provide employees with a basic awareness of electrical hazards and risks. Designed to reinforce local training requirements, the module includes information on how to recognise risks as well as appropriate interventions and controls to be used when working with electricity. It is available for all employees.

Working at height

Research has shown that ladder cages used to prevent falls from height can lead to a false sense of security when climbing, cause additional injury in the event of a fall and hinder rescue attempts. In 2013/14, we achieved our target to complete installation of fall-arrest systems on all vertical ladders over four metres high across all our local markets.

Managing our contractors

Contractors’ safety performance is monitored through a combination of site inspections, formal audits and assurance programmes that require them to verify that appropriate safety systems are in place.

Our consequence management system, which clearly shows that if suppliers fail to meet our safety standards they risk termination of contracts, has been communicated to suppliers and is now being implemented across our markets. In 2013/14, 16 warnings were issued to suppliers as a result.

We are also continuing to assess the effectiveness of our Safety Passport system for high-risk projects, which requires sub-contractors to show that they have received appropriate safety training before they are allowed on site to begin work.

See Responsible supply chain for more on our work with our contractors to manage and improve their health and safety performance.

Legacy infrastructure

Our legacy infrastructure upgrade programme aims to improve the safety of base stations built prior to the introduction of our new design standards. In 2013/14, we continued to extend our programme of preventative maintenance across our markets. We estimate that this process was complete for 88% of our sites at the end of its third year, putting us on track to complete the four-year programme as planned. As part of this process, the safety standards we have established for the installation of all new base stations will be progressively rolled out to existing sites.

Reporting and investigating incidents

Lost time injury rates fell by a further 16% to 1.03 per 1,000 employees in 2013/14 as a result of our continued efforts to prevent incidents across the Group by targeting key risks (see examples outlined above). The number of high-potential incidents we recorded – those that do not cause a major accident but could have under different circumstances – has increased by 14%. A general increase in reporting of incidents is a good indication that awareness of safety is continuing to increase and our management systems are working.

We deeply regret that 11 contractors and one employee lost their lives in 2013/14 while working for Vodafone. Nine of these fatalities were the result of road traffic accidents and three from working at height. The majority (eight) were in India, with two in Egypt, one in Portugal and one in the UK. In addition, three members of the public died as a result of vehicle accidents in Ghana and Mozambique.

Any fatality is unacceptable and we continue our efforts to drive a culture of zero fatalities across the Group. Every fatal incident was fully investigated to determine root causes, and reviewed by Vodafone Executives at Group and local market level. Action plans have been put in place to prevent recurrence and lessons learned have been shared across the Group. We also issued three Group-wide Safety Alerts to raise awareness of the causes of major incidents in 2013/14. These were related to lifting operations (using equipment such as cranes), working at height and street works (involving digging up roads and managing traffic).

See Data for more detailed, year-on-year performance.

Strengthening health and safety management

In 2013/14, we established a new safety maturity matrix that provides consistent criteria to measure and compare health and safety management across the Group. The matrix integrates elements of the International Safety Rating System (ISRS), used previously, but is tailored to our business and puts greater emphasis on improving performance rather than simply complying with standards.

The matrix helps our senior leaders measure the health and safety culture in the business against a set of consistent criteria. Results of the assessment will be used to create a tailored improvement plan for each local market, which is regularly reviewed by the relevant Leadership Team. Maturity levels of each market are being assessed to establish a baseline, and these levels will be validated annually through internal audits every three to five years.

In focus: Vodafone India recognised for health and safety standards

Health and safety standards

In July 2013, Vodafone India was recognised as the winner of the Golden Peacock Occupational Health and Safety award 2013 for our commitments to the highest standards of health and safety for both our employees and contractors.