Health & safety

Providing employees with safe working conditions is of paramount importance to the group. The group’s target is to achieve zero fatalities and a continuous reduction in lost time incident (LTI) rates.

The group is aiming to achieve the Indonesian Health and Safety Work Management System (SMK3) accreditation with the intention of securing certification in 2023. Implementation of the international standards of Operational Health and Safety Management System (ISO 45001:2018) was again delayed in 2022 as the required external trainers were not available due to Covid-related travel restrictions and certification is now also scheduled for 2023.

It takes time for health and safety practices to become fully embedded in workforce practices. As part of this process a series of audits and Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HIRARC) exercises have been conducted at REA’s mills and established plantations by both external consultants and the group’s safety team. A range of measures have been implemented to address the issues identified during these assessments. These include:

  • Introduction of a more comprehensive safety induction for new employees and contractors
  • Provision of training to ensure that high risk tasks are carried out safely, including working at height and in confined spaces
  • Integration of the actions necessary to eliminate and control hazards into existing Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), as well as the development of new SOPs
  • Introduction of a more rigorous and inclusive incident investigation procedure, which is designed to ensure that the cause of any incident is identified and the senior management team and operations team understand the remedial action needed to prevent such an incident from recurring
  • Structural improvements, particularly in the mills, to control physical hazards.

With safety a high priority, the group has already embarked on a programme of investment to make the structural improvements required to control the hazards identified. The biggest limiting factor to obtaining ISO 45001:2018 is the speed at which the fundamental behavioural change necessary for safety considerations to become a habitual part of every employee’s working routine can be realised. This is fundamental to the group’s ability to uphold the ISO 45001:2018 standard on a daily basis.

Monthly internal occupational health, safety and environment inspections and training are conducted in accordance with ISO 45001:2018 standards in order to better understand, highlight and manage potential health and safety hazards that may occur. Routine training covers safe working practices throughout the operations, fire risks and management, and first aid.

Roads in and around the group’s operations can be hazardous, particularly after heavy rain, so drivers of all vehicles are required to pass a company test for driving competency. Motorcycle safety training is also provided for employees and their family members as motorcycles are their standard mode of transport. Additionally, the group provides training on action in the event of natural disasters, the impact of which could potentially be significant given the remote location of the group’s operations.

Hours committed to occupational health and safety (OHS) training across all of the group’s operations amounted to 7,585 in 2022, compared with 7,860 in 2021. The main objectives of training are to increase employee awareness and understanding of safe working practices and behaviours. government mandated regulatory safety training also continued throughout the year for certified safety managers, vehicle and heavy equipment operators, users of pesticides, and first aid and fire prevention officers.

The group recorded 993 work incident cases in 2022, compared with 656 cases in 2021. Regrettably, one such resulted in a fatality at the end of 2022 when an oil palm harvester was electrocuted by cutting through an overhead power line. Following a fatality, Indonesian safety regulations stipulate that a mandatory 6,000 lost working days must be recorded in the group’s annual safety performance records. Accordingly, working days lost in 2022 increased from 1,010 in 2021 to 6,830 in 2022. Any fatality within the group’s premises is treated extremely seriously and the group responds in the same way irrespective of whether or not the incident is considered to be work related. The group has a rigorous accident reporting and investigation procedure to ensure that the cause of any incident is properly identified, and senior management and operational teams implement any necessary remedial actions across the group to prevent, or minimise the risk of, repeat occurrences.

During 2022, the group continued to promote and provide Covid vaccinations through either the Indonesian government programme, for those who were eligible, or a private programme funded by the group with the aim of securing vaccinations for all employees and families living on the group’s estates. With the decreasing trend of Covid infections throughout Indonesia and the easing of the government’s control measures, the group has relaxed some testing and tracing activities to focus on emergency cases that may require hospital referral. In line with government guidelines, however, disease prevention protocols were still implemented during 2022 to limit face to face interactions, to promote the use of face masks and to encourage social distancing, regular hand washing and sanitation of work and communal facilities. For a second year, the group received a platinum rating from the Director General of Manpower Supervision and Occupational Health and Safety at the Ministry of Manpower in 2022 in recognition of the group’s programmes for the prevention and control of Covid in the workplace.