Leading with a safety culture
Safe is the first of our six core values that underpin what we are and how we act. We launched our new Safety Culture Initiative in 2018/19, focusing on five key themes: leadership, employee engagement, common standards, communications and performance. Long-term, sustainable success starts with treating our people fairly and respecting their rights.
Our safety efforts are paying off. Our top-line >3 day accident rate (accidents at work when people are off for more than three days) improved by 7%, and we are on course to reach our 2020 target. The number and rate of lost-time injury (LTI) accidents (those resulting in a person off work for a day or more) has also improved. We had no fatal accidents, and while accident severity rates increased slightly, this was against a significant improvement in 2017/18, and since our merger we have improved our severity rate by 43%.
Near-misses are events when accidents nearly happened, and our people are encouraged to report them. We’ve worked hard to increase the number of near-misses raised by our employees, which demonstrates that we are integrating a safety culture throughout our workforce. We have been successful, and the number of near-misses raised increased by 64% over the year, from 10,934 in 2017/18 to 17,927 in 2018/19.
We have also reduced the number of accident types with potentially serious outcomes, such as machinery safety, traffic accidents and falls, by more than a half. Going forward, we will also focus on our more common accident types, such as slips, trips and manual handling accidents.
We benefit enormously from our diverse workforce. Our people come with different backgrounds and from a wide range of cultures, creating a vibrant workforce where we can all learn from one another. One of our six core values is ‘together’, which means that we are always open and respectful to each other. We work across all boundaries to listen and learn from one another and value everyone’s role and contribution. We are an equal opportunities employer, which means that full and fair consideration is given to applications from, and the continuing employment, career development and training of, vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the community. We measure our Gender Pay Gap and although the total female population employed is significantly lower than the total male population, the difference within the mean pay gap category is negligible.
Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are self-evident, fundamental rights. As such, Renewi is committed, in accordance with local laws, to respect the rights of all employees to form and join trade unions of their own choosing, to bargain collectively and to engage in peaceful assembly, as well as to respect the rights of workers to refrain from such activities. Employees and/or their representatives shall be able to openly communicate and share ideas and concerns with management regarding working conditions and management practices without fear of discrimination, reprisal, intimidation or harassment. In addition to the existing channels of communication via our Works Council arrangements in the Netherlands and Belgium, the Board has designated Non-Executive Director Jolande Sap to assist the Board with workforce reporting.
As we have integrated two companies, we have gained synergies, including in employee roles. While the total number of permanent employees at Renewi has reduced slightly, to 7,035 from 7,100, the percentage of female employees increased from 16.2% in 2017/18 to 17.5% in 2018/19. In our senior management team, the percentage of female employees is higher.
Our HR division is working hard towards a new Renewi-wide HR policy, in which vitality and absenteeism reduction play an important role.