Health and safety
Providing employees with safe working conditions is of paramount importance to REA. The group’s target is to achieve zero fatalities and a continuous reduction in lost time accident rates.
The company is currently working towards achieving the Indonesian Health and Safety Work Management System (“SMK3”) accreditation, whilst also working towards full implementation of the international standards of Operational Health and Safety Management System (“OHSAS”) 18001. 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 OHSAS18001 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 OHSAS 18001 standard on a daily basis.
Monthly internal audits and inspections are conducted across all of the group’s operations in accordance with the OHSAS 18001 standard and regular safety training is provided to highlight the importance and implementation of safe practices for both employees and contractors. Routine training covers first aid, the identification, control and communication of potential hazards, management of plantation and (forest) fires, safe working practices to avoid accidents, and the use of protective equipment, especially when working in confined spaces or with chemicals.
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 this is 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. Notwithstanding regular safety training and monitoring, accidents do sometimes occur.
Regrettably, there were three incidents resulting in four fatalities on the group’s estates during 2019. One such incident that resulted in two fatalities, though not directly work-related as it occurred outside working hours, took place on the return journey home by private motorcycle and, therefore, constitutes a work-related incident for health and safety reporting purposes. The company treats any fatality within its premises extremely seriously and responds in the same way irrespective of whether or not the incident is considered to be work-related. There is a rigorous incident investigation and reporting procedure to ensure that the cause of any incident is properly identified and that the senior management operations teams understand any remedial action required.