Health & safety

Total accidents1

Accidents to employees and contractors

2017 2018
248 219

Serious injuries and fatalities1

  2017 2018
Serious injuries to employees 36 26
Serious injuries to contractors 30 15
Employee fatalities 1 3
Contractor fatalities 11 9
Number of fatalities to members of the public involving BAT vehicles 11 6

Lost workday cases1

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 more

2017 2018
248 195

Lost Workday Case Incident Rate (LWCIR)1

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

2017 2018
0.36 0.27

Occupational Illness Rate

The number of incidents of occupation illness per 200,000 hours worked

2017 2018
0.000 0.003
  1. To reflect the changes in the scale and magnitude of our business activities since 2017, and to better align with best practice in health and safety reporting, this year we have reviewed and updated the scope of our H&S data to account for these changes. Hence, we only report on our performance from 2017 as part of our 2018 sustainability reporting, and our historical performance prior to 2017 can be found here.

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

Following a significant increase in fatalities in 2017, we implemented a range of initiatives, such as ensuring drivers carry less stock, together with extra security measures for route planning and vehicle tracking. These were effective and we saw improvements in many markets that had previously experienced a rise in accidents and fatalities. However, despite this, we regrettably have to report that the total number of fatalities within the Group overall remained at twelve, unchanged in 2018.

This was partly a result of changing local conditions, such as increased levels of violence and civil unrest in some markets, many of which had previously had an excellent health and safety performance. The fatal incidents in 2018 were the death of one employee and eight contractors from attacks and assaults in Jamaica, Brazil, South Africa, Costa Rica and Mexico; two road traffic accident deaths involving one employee in Indonesia and another in Sri Lanka; and a contractor who died after exposure to a gas explosion in Pakistan. Sadly six members of the public also lost their lives in road traffic accidents involving BAT vehicles (2017: 11).

We deeply regret this loss of life and the suffering it has caused. Whenever a fatality occurs, we liaise with the relevant authorities to assist their investigations, as well as reporting the incident to the Board as we are legally obliged to do. We always conduct rigorous internal investigations to determine the cause, identify lessons, and develop an action plan, so we can do all we can to prevent similar incidents from happening again. All investigation outcomes are reviewed by the Board, who also receive updates on action plan implementation.

Although we haven’t seen a reduction in fatalities, we have recorded a notable reduction in accident rates across the Group, with 219 injuries recorded in 2018 (2017: 284) and reductions across almost all accident categories. Lost-time incidents were down to 195, from 248 in 2017, and there were 41 serious injuries in the year, down from 66 in the previous year.

In 2017, our initiatives had resulted in a reduction in car-related accidents; but sadly, in the same year we had recorded a rise in motorcycle incidents. We continued to target this area in 2018 through various driver safety initiatives and training, and vehicle-related incidents fell overall from 73 to 47 – primarily due to a reduction in motorcycle incidents. This contributed to a notable reduction in injuries reported across TM&D, down by 27% to 115.

Our manufacturing and leaf operations sites recorded 66 accidents in 2018, down from 73 the previous year. Following a campaign throughout the year there was a 57% reduction in machinery-related incidents and an action plan is in place for 2019 to reinforce this improvement.

Of course, challenges remain, and we are making every effort to address them, particularly in ensuring the safety of our TM&D workforce as well as those in our factories. We will continue to thoroughly investigate incidents and implement action plans and best practice examples across our regions.

To find out more  about our approach to safeguarding health and safety, preventative actions we take and how we share learnings and best practice across our markets, including a regional case study, see p30-31 of our 2018 Sustainability Report .

EY LogoThe data on this page has been independently assured by Ernst & Young LLP. Please see the full assurance statement for details of the scope of work and conclusions.
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