Demonstrate defensible safety practices

WHY this matters

Safety is a standard requirement in client contracts given the nature of the diverse products managed by Imperial Logistics. Products range from fuel and chemicals (including hazardous substances like cyanide) to food, alcohol and medication (including chronic medication like antiretrovirals). Transporting and warehousing these products require robust safety controls to protect consumers and our employees.

Our aim is to drive a safety culture in all our business activities as a key differentiator in our client and employee value propositions.

We provide clients with customised safety solutions ranging from the storage and distribution of hazardous materials and products, which require temperature-controlled facilities, to warehouse design that enables better inventory management to guard against the expiration of consignment stock.

Our road transportation business is based primarily in South Africa where the frequency of accidents and fatalities is alarming. In addition, our drivers operate large vehicles in heavy traffic every day and are sometimes under pressure to meet a client’s requirement that a destination is reached at a specified time. Across the group, we take strict measures to ensure our drivers understand their responsibilities on the road and we implement the best road safety practices to protect them and other road users. Management continually assesses these key priorities, however, given the nature of our business, road incidents are not always within our control, which can result in fluctuations in our safety metrics. It is worth noting that of the fatal road incidents that took place in South Africa during the reporting year, 88% were beyond the control of our drivers – mostly involving third-party vehicle overtaking, and pedestrians crossing roads at night or at non-demarcated pedestrian areas.

We are sad to report two employee fatalities during the year. We offer our sincere condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of Sibusiso Mhlongo and Patrick Ratyela in South Africa. We remain committed to applying best practice safety measures and advanced safety technology to ensure the safety of our drivers and other road users.

Link to material themes and underlying issues   Optimise and integrate processes    
  • Demonstrate defensible safety practices.
  • Ensure adherence to governance processes and other internal controls.
  Invest in people, partnerships and culture    
  • Leverage partnerships to deliver growth.
  Deepen legitimacy    
  • Maintain corporate citizenship credentials.
addressed in
this section
Our risks  
  • Reputation: loss of credibility from failure to meet client expectations and product safety requirements and accidents caused by Imperial Logistics’ drivers or our sub-contractors.
  • Compliance: increased costs from failure to manage health and safety risks effectively.
Our focus areas  
  • Broaden alignment to group safety standards across operations.
  • Improve our safety practices and contribute to road safety awareness.
Reporting boundary   All Imperial Logistics’ companies with road safety being material for our transportation activities.

Performance summary


South Africa
Audited 83 sub-contractors including for road safety aspects, implemented DriveCam in 50% of our trucks and delivered training to school bus drivers as part of our corporate social investment.


African Regions
Implemented an advanced pharmaceutical product recall system.


Versum Materials, a leading electronic materials company, recognised Imperial Logistics as the Best European Warehouse Supplier 2018 for our warehousing management expertise in the safe storage and shipping of their gas cylinders.


South Africa

Consumer goods deliveries to over 50 000 points annually.


More than 3,1 billion litre's of fuel and gas delivered.   Over 1 million m2 of warehousing space managed.

African Regions

Point of care and pharma retailer level deliveries to more than 4 200 delivery points in Kenya, 1 300 in Ghana and 52 000 across Nigeria.


Own and operate over 200 000m2 of warehousing in the healthcare and consumer industries.    


23 automotive warehouses in Europe deliver value-add logistics for the annual production of more than 2,3 million cars.


Significant player in the European chemical industry.    
Key performance indicators

Product safety


African Regions

No material incidents
of non-compliance with laws and regulations concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services.
(2018: none)

road accidents per million kilometres as most transportation activities are outsourced to third parties.

South Africa



road accidents per million kilometres.
(2018: 0,278)
road accidents per million kilometres.
(2018: 0,086)
road fatalities per million kilometres.
(2018: 0,006)

road accidents per million kilometres.
(2018: 0,253)
road injuries per million kilometres.
(2018: 0)
road fatalities per million kilometres.
(2018: 0

Broaden alignment to group safety standards across operations

Our approach to occupational health and safety

We consider regulatory requirements, best practice and industry guidelines and leverage our own expertise, to embed product responsibility and safety practices and mindset in our operations.

OHS management frameworks and systems align to relevant OHS legislation in each country of operation. In the International division, our framework and systems meet the International Labour Office’s OHS guidelines (NLF/ILO–OSH 2001), and ISO’s specifications for OHS management (BS OHSAS 18001) and quality management systems (ISO 9001).

A network of safety committees and representatives, located at all operations and on all shipping vessels, ensure that safety standards are implemented and areas for improvement are identified. In addition, specialised training is provided to employees working in the healthcare, consumer goods, chemical and automotive industries.

Annual self-assessments are conducted by internal safety specialists or external certified experts (with oversight from internal audit) to ensure our policies, procedures and safety initiatives are relevant, adhere to legislation and continue to meet client requirements and our OHS standards. Independent external audits are undertaken at all sites annually and in the consumer goods business, clients audit our warehousing and distribution standard operating procedures.

All accidents and incidents are investigated, whether or not they result in injury or occupational disease. This enables a clear understanding of unacceptable risk and the preventative measures needed.

Pharmaceutical waste and other products that fail to meet required standards are destroyed in line with client requirements, with traceability and destruction certificates issued.

Our approach to road safety

Fatal accidents are investigated internally by an operational team led by the managing director of the company concerned. In addition, an external independent accident investigator is engaged in the South African division to provide an unbiased view. In Europe, this role is fulfilled by the authorities.

In South Africa, the Road Transport Management System (RTMS) is an industry-led, voluntary self-regulation scheme which promotes road safety initiatives. We use RTMS to embed standardised road safety management practices and an enhanced safety culture, with around 90% of Imperial Logistics companies in South Africa being RTMS certified, including Itumele Bus Lines (IBL).

Our asset-right strategy requires a balance between the use of our own fleet and transport service providers, with the African Regions being 100% asset light and the International division 60%. In South Africa and Europe, we cultivate strong, collaborative relationships with these critical business partners, who are held to the same safety standards as our own companies. Our risk teams undertake regular audits of key sub-contractors in both divisions to ensure compliance. Third-party risk is not as material in the African Regions, as our sub-contractors are large courier companies and the vehicles used to transport goods are generally small.

In the event of an accident, we use approved and accredited service providers to recover the vehicle and client product, and ensure that the correct procedures are followed during the scene clean-up process, particularly when hazardous loads are involved. Our technology systems provide real-time information, enabling us to make informed decisions relating to the scene, injuries to the driver and third parties and products that are salvageable. Trauma counselling and medical evaluation is provided to drivers following a major accident.

Poor service delivery in South Africa continues to fuel violent protests. This disrupts our operations by forcing detours, increasing costs and placing our employees and communities at risk, particularly when transporting hazardous goods. We leverage our relationships with non-governmental organisations and government institutions to receive real-time information on protest action along routes or at destinations. This helps us to plan alternative routes and warn drivers through our robust on-route communication processes. Emergency response planning is a feature of driver training, helping drivers to respond appropriately in these types of circumstances.

Looking forward:


  • Continue to improve our compliance with all relevant OHS legislation across countries of operation.

Improve our safety practices and contribute to road safety awareness

Our initiatives

Across the healthcare, chemicals and automotive industries we are differentiated for our security and safety practices.

In healthcare, all Imperial Health Sciences and Pharmed operations are licensed with their local regulatory authorities and Imperial Health Sciences is ISO 9001: 2008 certified in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa. Registered pharmaceutical professionals ensure compliance with legislation and client-specific standards and processes.

Our security measures in this industry include:

  • The procurement of all pharmaceuticals directly from multinational brand principals.
  • Our enhanced serialisation process, which enables traceability at all levels along the supply chain making it easier for patients to check the authenticity of their medication.
  • Authentication controls, which use Raman spectral techniques to identify molecules, providing a quick way to analyse medicines.
  • Market-leading distribution management procedures, which reduce the risk of product deterioration and include product recall and pharmacovigilance1 (drug safety) systems. In Kenya, the Pharmacy and Poisons Board uses Surgipharm’s specialised skill and seven qualified pharmacists to pilot changes in drug safety processes.
1 Pharmacovigilance is the pharmacological science of monitoring the effects of medical drugs after they have been licensed for use, particularly to identify and evaluate previously unreported adverse reactions.

In the chemicals industry we are differentiated by specialised skills, processes and equipment to handle, transport and store hazardous products in line with stringent OHS standards, including:

  • Specialised high-security gas cylinder chambers and sophisticated gas measurement and control technology in warehouses, including highly efficient absorption units that rapidly filter escaping gas from the air (ensuring that only uncontaminated waste air is fed back into the atmosphere).
  • State-of-the-art fire protection and safety technology in warehouses.
  • Extra collision protection on the hulls of certain gas barges.
  • Vehicles fitted with state-of-the-art tanks and numerous safety features.
  • Customised gas and fall detection instruments at certain tanker cleaning stations to reduce emergency response times for employees working in a lone location or at height.

In the automotive industry we have deep experience in training emerging market workforces to conform to strict process standards, assisting original equipment manufacturers expand their specialised assembly and distribution operations into these markets. Our management systems meet the VDA 6 (Verband Der Automobilindustrie/VDA Automotive) standard for suppliers to the industry.

Our initiatives to embed driver safety practices and mindset include:

Permits and policies

All drivers have valid professional driving permits and access to policies and guidelines on a range of issues, including substance and mobile phone use, and fatigue management. Policies are regularly updated to include new risks identified by driver experiences. Drivers who disregard safety procedures are disciplined. In South Africa, all drivers are required to pledge their compliance to the Imperial Safety Rules for responsible driving.

Health checks

In South Africa, truck and bus drivers undergo annual health examinations, with drivers older than 54 who transport dangerous goods required to undergo medical fitness tests twice a year. Assessments are also undertaken to ensure all drivers are well rested before embarking on a trip. In Europe, the frequency of health checks is determined by medical doctors and can range from a period of a few weeks up to a maximum of five years.


Ongoing driver training is delivered by accredited in-house trainers or external service providers that meet our training standards. Our training facilities in South Africa are accredited with the Transport Education Training Authority (TETA). In South Africa, all truck and bus drivers are trained annually. In Europe, truck drivers are required by law to attend theoretical and practical courses every five years to extend their Code 95 certification. In Germany, our drivers attend practical training in line with the country’s regulatory requirements. In Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, theoretical courses are completed on an e-Learning platform – the onboard computers in trucks are connected to the platform and telematics are used to train drivers.

Driver engagement (South Africa)

Monthly or bi-monthly driver safety meetings as well as toolbox talks are conducted to address non-compliance with safety procedures and communicate the lessons learnt from incidents. Drivers are briefed comprehensively on load, client, route and potential safety hazards, including high volume pedestrian areas. Journey management plans include information on resting points and the control centre monitors all stops.

Vehicle safety features

When purchasing new vehicles, we ensure they are fitted with the latest safety features. These include active brake assist, tyre-pressure warning systems, lane departure warning systems and semitrailer coupling sensors. Breathalyser testing occurs at most depots and some trucks are fitted with breathalysers linked to engine mobilisers.


We invest in the latest technology such as advanced vehicle tracking systems that monitor driver behaviour and technique, speed limiting technology, and onboard cameras that assist with accident analysis, helping drivers to understand near misses and identify prevention measures.

Vehicle maintenance

Truck tractors and trailers are properly serviced and maintained, with IBL’s buses undergoing roadworthy testing every six months. Technicians conduct quality checks before trucks are scheduled to operate, and truck and bus drivers are required to inspect their vehicles daily.

Related content

Wellness services available to truck drivers in South Africa.

2019 review

South Africa

  • Ensured that all Imperial Logistics' companies maintain established OHS practices despite the organisational restructuring, which will continue into the next financial year.
  • Of all accidents that resulted in fatalities, 12% were deemed to be avoidable (2018: 14% avoidable). Three accidents resulted in three avoidable fatalities (2018: five accidents resulted in six avoidable fatalities).
  • Conducted 83 sub-contractor audits.
  • Implemented DriveCam in 50% of our trucks. The recorder captures incident-specific video of the driver and their surroundings for 12-second increments (eight seconds before and four seconds after an incident). Together with telematics (location, speed and direction), mapping and analytics, the video is used to predict and prevent high-risk behaviour. The tool enables fleet managers to reward good driving and provide support for those who show a need for improvement. DriveCam calculates safety scores for each driver, enhancing the driver evaluation process.
  • Continued to deliver road safety awareness campaigns at schools and to the general public.

African Regions

  • Implemented advanced batch control processes to effectively manage the recall of products in Kenya. The product recall system enables us to quickly track batches of stock sold to wholesalers and prevent them from being on-sold to consumers. Our qualified pharmacovigilance specialist investigates all consumer complaints, including those relating to adverse drug reactions, and reports valid complaints to the Pharmacy and Poisons Board in Kenya.


  • Made good progress in preparing for the new ISO 45001:2018 international auditing standard. The newly implemented safety system and key performance indicators (KPIs) assist us to identify risks and take preventative action. All safety specialists received training during the year and a working group was established to share knowledge and best practice across the division. The safety specialists conduct audits on the newly implemented OHS risk assessment processes. These KPIs will be reported in 2020.
  • Set OHS targets based on the new safety KPIs for each company in the division.
Looking forward:

South Africa

  • Continue to roll out our minimum training standards for heavy-duty truck drivers. The training covers eco-driving, health and wellness, fatigue management, client care and driving an articulated vehicle. Integrating the new standards with existing training manuals and plans has been a challenge for some companies. Assessment, solutions and a refresher course for trainers will be undertaken to assist these companies.
  • Extend our road safety awareness initiatives targeting the general public from a one-day to a four-day campaign during the December festive season.


  • Achieve ISO 45001: 2018 certification maturity by 2021.
  • Hold a safety week for all business units, including training, demonstrations and the active participation of management.
Our stories

Our commitment to Responsible Care®

IDC’s performance
(year on year)

No contaminations.
(2018: 0)

No spillages
(2018: 1)

80% decline
in lost time injuries.
(2018: 10 injuries)

Imperial Dedicated Contracts (IDC) in South Africa uses the SQAS1 system of uniform third-party assessments to evaluate performance in transporting hazardous and low hazardous products at two depots (Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal). The assessments enable chemical companies to evaluate their logistics service providers according to their own standards and requirements. The European Chemical Industry Council manages the SQAS system and ensures its integrity.

In addition, IDC is a member of the Responsible Care® initiative, a voluntary commitment by the global chemical industry to drive continuous improvement and achieve excellence in health, safety, security and environmental performance. This commitment aims to enhance public confidence and trust in the industry’s dedication to safely manage chemicals throughout their lifecycle while ensuring that chemistry can continue to contribute to a healthier environment, improved living standards and a better quality of life for all2.

All signatories to the Responsible Care Global Charter commit to continually strengthen their performance and report data for a core set of health, safety and environmental performance measures.

Driving hours are continually analysed, and driver health and performance assessed annually (and in some cases more frequently) in line with client requirements. Each month at least four safety, health and environmental awareness talks are delivered company-wide.

1 Safety and quality assessment for sustainability.
2 Source:

Expanding our fleet in the highly specialised chemicals sector

During the year, we expanded our European road fleet, adding dedicated high-spec vehicles to meet increasing demand from clients in the chemical industry. With a strong emphasis on safety, the 45 new tractor units are equipped with blind spot assistance, rear view cameras and alcohol monitors that must be used before the vehicle can be started.

The 55 new tanker trailers include mono- and multi-chamber units. Some units can be heated and others are rubber-lined to transport corrosive chemicals. The trailers also have numerous safety features, including ground operation, tyre pressure monitoring, limit valve encoders, stability systems, level indicators, and immobilisers that prevent vehicle movement if ladders are lowered or bottom valves are open.

The expansion brings our specialised prime mover fleet to around 400 tractor units, 500 tankers and chassis and 500 demountable tank containers.

Effectively distributing Nulaid’s fragile cargo

Effectively distributing Nulaid’s fragile cargo

12 million
eggs distributed annually for
Nulaid in South Africa.

Our industry-leading capabilities and deep experience in dedicated retail distribution solutions for time and temperature sensitive products enabled us to extend our contract with Nulaid eggs for another five years. We have dedicated operations employees at four Nulaid sites and have invested in purpose-built vehicles with insulated bodies, vents and fans, enabling the safe distribution of eggs. Analytics drive continuous improvements such as enhanced vehicle utilisation which, together with a fleet reduction initiative, is contributing to cost savings, better client service and lower emissions.

Meeting strong market demand with our new hazmat storage facility

Our new hazardous materials warehouse
in Germany features the latest safety and environmental protection systems.

We have operated in the chemical logistics industry for more than 30 years and are the leading specialist in the storage of hazardous materials in Germany, working with many of the world’s major chemicals companies. Few logistics service providers can match our ability to meet the rigorous regulatory requirements of building and operating a hazardous goods warehouse.

In December 2018, we began operations in a new state-of-the-art hazardous materials warehouse near Osnabrück, Germany, creating 70 new jobs. The 12 500m2 multi-user facility can accommodate 20 000 pallets of chemicals. The walls between storage sections and all warehouse doors are fireproof, and all pallet racks are fitted with fire and smoke detectors that activate an integrated sprinkler system and automatically alert the local fire brigade in the event of fire. In addition, warning systems are triggered in the event of gas leaks and water used to fight fires is prevented from penetrating floors so that it can be safely collected for professional disposal.

Hazardous goods storage and distribution is an exciting growth market for us and our specialised chemical, logistics and IT solution provides clients with valuable data and statistics, enabling them to optimise operations. Leveraging our specialised capabilities, we have delivered cost efficiencies, productivity increases of over 20% and improved risk management for our clients, contributing to their competitiveness.

Raising road safety awareness at schools

Since the start of the new Imperial Logistics Advance (ILA) Schools Safety programme in July 2018, ILA has visited

20 schools across three provinces, raising the road safety awareness of 15 122 pupils.

We started the ILA Schools Safety programme in partnership with Shell South Africa in July 2018, following on from the Imperial Holdings Road Safety programme started in 2015. The programme enhances road safety awareness at schools and comprises the following initiatives:

Scholar road safety awareness
Bongie, Buckle Up Buddy – our road safety mascot – delivers a fun and memorable experience that resonates with children, teaching them how to cross roads safely, wear safety belts when travelling in taxis and other vehicles and intervene when parents do not comply with the rules of the road. In addition, children are given reflective sashes to wear when walking to school, particularly in the early hours of the morning when it is dark.

School bus driver training
Trainers from ILA provided around 50 school bus drivers with training on the basic principles of defensive driving and how to safely transport children in high-risk environments. The pilot programme is testing the training content.

Truck blind spot exercise
This initiative helps people better understand the limitations drivers of heavy-duty goods trucks experience. Trucks are parked in sports fields and people are invited to sit in the truck cabins and count the number of children standing inside the blind spot areas.

Raising safety awareness among our barge crews

Our “Safety takes us Home” campaign aims to strengthen the safety culture among our barge crews in Europe and South America. A working group of senior managers, safety representatives and members of the Quality, Environment, Health and Safety team in Europe spent a week visiting some 75 vessels while on their voyages. The working group delivered toolbox talks on subjects such as working aloft, tank entry and near miss reporting. Training was also delivered on how to deal with onboard fire and persons overboard. Throughout the safety week, daily bulletins prompting group discussion of specific safety issues were transmitted to the European fleet through our portal software system.

At the same time, crew members of the pushboat fleet in Paraguay received practical training on evacuations, the correct use of fire extinguishers and personal protective equipment, and road safety. Videos and images were used to improve employee engagement, with the initiative reaching 80% of the workforce.

Crews responded positively to the initiative and we will consider expanding the campaign in the future to include other areas of the business.

Raising safety awareness among our barge crews

Key data

  2019       2018   2017  
SOUTH AFRICA                
Road kilometres travelled (million) 318,4*       359,5   394,4  
Road accidents (company) 67*       100   101  
Road accidents per million kilometres 0,210*   Blue   0,278   0,256  
Road injuries (company) 15       31   43  
Road injuries per million kilometres 0,047   Blue   0,086   0,109  
Road fatalities (company) 2*   Grey   2   4  
Road fatalities per million kilometres 0,006*   Grey   0,006   0,010  
AFRICAN REGIONS                
Road kilometres travelled (million) 39,4       27,2   27,5  
Road accidents (company)       1   4  
Road accidents per million kilometres   Blue   0,037   0,145  
Road injuries (company)          
Road injuries per million kilometres   Blue      
Road fatalities (company)   Blue      
Road fatalities per million kilometres   Blue      
Road kilometres travelled (million) 75,7*       79,0      
Road accidents (company) 32*       20      
Road accidents per million kilometres 0,423*   Grey   0,253      
Road injuries (company) 13            
Road injuries per million kilometres 0,172   Grey        
Road fatalities (company)   Blue      
Road fatalities per million kilometres   Blue      

The Imperial Logistics sustainability management system collates, processes, tracks and communicates road safety data from all company sites. Data is collected monthly and local administrators and internal audit perform regular data integrity checks. The system also collates lessons learnt, which are used to inform development plans.
Blue Satisfied with performance.
Grey Area for improvement.
* Assured (see the independent limited assurance report in the 2019 integrated annual report).

In South Africa, our road safety procedures and training interventions continue to have a positive impact with road accidents and road injuries per million kilometres decreasing 24% and 45% respectively. However, in the International division, road accidents and road injuries increased despite kilometres travelled having decreased for the year. The increase is partly due to improved data quality; however, many drivers in the division retired during the year and young less experienced drivers are more prone to making mistakes. No accidents occurred in the African Regions division given that most transportation activities are outsourced to sub-contractors.

Going forward, we will investigate whether it makes sense to extend the reporting of metrics such as lost time injury and severity rates for the South African and African Regions divisions.

GRI indicators:

General: 102-15, 102-44

Social: 403-2, 413-2, 416-2