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Occupational health and safety

The health and well-being of our employees has a direct impact on our business, and we are committed to protecting our people from harm and the effects of occupational diseases, and to promoting their well-being.

Our most material health and safety issues arise chiefly from our logistics operations, which carry an inherent risk of motor vehicle accidents. The road transport industry is also characterised by a higher risk among employees for contracting HIV/Aids. Divisions operating in white-collar environments are exposed to limited health and safety risks.

Management and measurement

Issues of health and safety are reported on regularly at executive and board level. Senior executives, divisional executives and line management are accountable for the group’s safety and health performance and for allocating adequate financial and human resources within their operations to address these matters. All accidents, injuries and fatalities are, in addition to divisional reporting, also reported at the Imperial Holdings quarterly board meetings, at executive committee meetings as well as at the social, ethics and sustainability meetings.

A number of divisions have health and safety committees in place which address workplace health and safety issues and make recommendations to management. In high-risk operations, such as the transportation of hazardous products, health and safely is managed by professionally staffed loss control departments and specific procedures have been implemented to protect employees and the public from exposure to hazardous substances.

To assess risks and take necessary corrective steps, Imperial’s operations (in cooperation with workers and unions) report and investigate:

  • accidents and other incidents, whether or not they cause bodily injury
  • suspected and confirmed cases of occupational disease
  • any other situation in which there may be an unacceptable risk
  • where necessary, external specialist expertise/assistance is sought.

While safety remains the responsibility of each employee and subcontractor, line management is responsible for creating an enabling environment that is conducive to workplace safety. Each divisional CEO is ultimately accountable for the safety of all employees and contractors at our facilities.

Divisional policy guidelines are in place for the management of HIV/Aids. These protect the rights of employees and ensure fair and consistent treatment of all employees who have contracted HIV/Aids. They provide a framework for educating employees and management on HIV/Aids in order to slow the spread of the disease, motivate employees to participate in confidential testing and treatment and guide management on how to deal with infected employees. They also establish procedures to facilitate voluntary confidential testing and counselling.

Primary safety measurements include number of vehicle accidents, number of road injuries, number of road fatalities, and vehicle accident and fatality rates per million kilometres travelled (in the transport operations).

Health and safety performance

Our safety performance for the year is detailed in the table below.

For the 12 months to 30 June 2012:

  2012   2011  
Total logistics kilometres travelled excluding car rental vehicles (million km) 487   463  
Total road accidents 963   1 050  
Total road injuries (group) 123   96  
Total road fatalities (group) 10   9  
Accidents per million kilometres 1,64   1,31  
Injuries per million kilometres (group) 0,21   0,20  
Fatalities per million kilometres (group) 0,02   0,02  

Driver safety is an important focus area in our logistics operations.
Driver safety is an important focus area in our
logistics operations.

Health and safety initiatives

All divisions invest in health and safety training for employees and contractors, with higher-risk divisions making the most substantial investment. We believe training is the cornerstone to entrenching a culture of health and safety, and fostering behaviour that prevents accidents and injury.

In addition to on-going training we have established truck stops for drivers on the Durban/Johannesburg route and have an occupational health clinic for employees in Wadeville, where a significant proportion of our transport workforce is concentrated. We also continued to invest in the Trucking Wellness Programme (see case study below).

During the year we launched our flagship I-Pledge road safety campaign, which is targeted as much at employees as it is at the broader South African road user (see case study on page 35).


During the year, fines of R4 769 200 were paid for non-compliance with traffic legislation.


Our key occupational health and safety goals are to achieve zero fatalities; reduce the severity rate of incidents, reduce accidents and environmental incidents and improve sub-contractor management on issues of health and safety.

More specific goals and targets will be set by each division in the coming year, based on the accurate and comprehensive data collected in the year under review via our new non-financial performance data collection system.


Promoting wellness and fighting HIV in the transport sector

We continued our support for the roadside wellness clinics that form part of the Trucking Wellness Programme. This programme was initiated by the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry, along with four unions representing labour and the Road Freight Employers Association, and various employers.

Imperial Logistics is a key role player in the wellness committee, which manages both the Trucking Wellness Programme and the Wellness Fund established to treat employees who are HIVpositive. The company provides an annual financial sponsorship for six of the programme’s 22 Roadside Wellness Centres, which are equipped with a training facility and clinic and staffed by a peer educator and registered nursing sister. They offer drivers and sex workers HIV/Aids awareness and education, STI treatment, condom distribution, voluntary HIV testing and counselling with referrals to appropriate treatment service providers for secondary care, and primary healthcare services. These are provided free of charge.


I-Pledge road safety campaign sparks national movement for safer driving

In July 2011, Imperial launched its I-Pledge road safety campaign internally to employees, encouraging them to pledge their commitment to safer driving on South African roads.

As a transportation leader this is both a social and a business imperative for Imperial. Over 14 000 people die on South Africa’s roads annually, costing the country in excess of R60 billion a year. Using our geographic footprint and network of companies in South Africa, Imperial seeks to reverse this trend by driving a national road safety movement through I-Pledge.

Since the employee launch, more than 71 000 individuals have committed to making a conscious effort to be more considerate, visible and alert road users. The campaign takes a ‘start at home’ approach, encouraging individuals to assess and change their own bad driving habits.

In the past year the campaign has partnered with the Department of Transport as a Friend of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020, and through Europcar supplied patrol vehicles to boost the resources of the N3 Toll Concession, the South African Police Services in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State, and the Mpumalanga Road Traffic Inspectorate along the toll route between Heidelberg in Gauteng and Cedara in KwaZulu-Natal.

This partnership helped reduce the 2011/2012 festive season road fatalities in the area by 75%, and the Easter season accidents by 68%. As official corporate social investment sponsor at the Top Gear Festival in Durban in June 2012 the campaign signed up 14 723 people and spread the road safety message to local schools.


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