Health & safety

Total accidents

  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Accidents to employees and contractors 221 178 181 182 217
Fatalities to members of the public involving BAT vehicles* - - 6 2 11

Serious injuries and fatalities

  2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Serious injuries to employees 36 37 34 30 38
Employee fatalities 1 3 0 2 1
Serious injuries to contractors 13 13 8 20 24
Contractor fatalities 5 5 7 4 11
Fatalities to members of the public involving BAT vehicles* - - 6 2 11
*We began reporting this measure in 2015.

Lost workday cases

Number of work-related accidents (including assaults) resulting in injury to employees and to contractors under our direct supervision, causing absence of one shift or more1

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
197 157 166 155 181

Lost Workday Case Incident Rate (LWCIR)

LWCIR, calculated as the number of lost workday cases through injury multiplied by 200,000 divided by total hours worked

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
0.29 0.24 0.26 0.24 0.28

We are committed to a safe working environment for all our employees and contractors worldwide and have a Group-wide goal of zero accidents.

In 2017, accidents to employees and contractors across the Group increased significantly, from 182 in 2016, up to 217. Sadly, this included an increase in fatalities, with the death of a contracting electrician in our factory in Bangladesh from contact with electricity; two TM&D contractors who died in road traffic accidents in Brazil; and one TM&D employee and eight TM&D security contractors who died in violent attacks in Brazil and South Africa. Eleven members of the public also lost their lives in road traffic accidents involving BAT vehicles in eight countries.

We deeply regret this loss of life and the suffering caused to friends, family and colleagues. We liaise closely with the relevant authorities and conduct our own detailed investigations to determine the root cause of each accident, identify any lessons that can be learned and implement action plans, the outcomes of which are reviewed at Board-level.

For example, following the road traffic accidents, we examined telematics data to help identify the circumstances and cause of the accidents, refreshed and reinforced driver training programmes, introduced periodic driving skills tests, updated routes and risk assessments, and equipped vehicles with new technology, such as dashboard cameras. Where the investigation found our driver to be at fault, we also took appropriate disciplinary action.

The fatalities from armed robberies in Brazil and South Africa were concentrated in the first few months of the year and appeared to be planned and coordinated attacks involving high-grade weaponry – the scale of which we had not seen before. We immediately established comprehensive reviews and action plans in response, led by a cross-functional team involving Group Security, TM&D and EHS.

One issue identified was the high visibility of the security escorts which drew a lot more attention, so we revised our approach. We reduced the amount of stock the reps carry to make it less valuable, and implemented extra security to our route planning and vehicle tracking systems to ensure the details couldn’t be monitored by the gangs to plan attacks. These measures appeared to pay off, as we saw a significant reduction in armed robberies in the following months.

Unfortunately, though, at the very end of the year, one of our employees in Brazil got caught in a random shooting while driving, in which he lost his life. This makes the role of our ongoing training and awareness programmes even more important, to make sure our reps stick to approved routes and fully understand the changing risk environment.

Overall, our driver and vehicle safety programmes have led to a decline in road traffic accidents in 2017 involving cars or vans, but this was offset by a rise in accidents involving motorcycles, which are increasingly used in markets where the high density of traffic means they are a more practical option. To address the increased risks, we have put in place motorcycle training programmes in all markets where motorcycles have been recently introduced, to provide practical techniques for different road conditions and types of traffic, safe speeds and distances, and how to spot a potential problem and take action to deal with it safely.

  1. To include reportable injuries from our 2015 and 2016 acquisitions, we have updated the following previously reported figures: total accidents of 175 for both 2015 and 2016; lost workday cases of 160 in 2015 and 151 in 2016; serious injuries to employees of 31 in 2015 and 33 in 2016; and serious injuries to contractors of 9 in 2015 and 16 in 2016. The latter two also include a reclassification of a 2015 serious injury from a contractor to an employee. Additionally, an internal audit identified three lost workday cases to independent contractors, who were not under BAT’s direct supervision and control, as incorrectly reported in 2016 under serious injuries – we have updated the 2016 data to reflect this reclassification in line with our definitions.
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