“We maintain a strong focus on H&S throughout our organisation. This reflects the critical importance that we attach to the health and safety of our staff, those with whom we do business and the communities in which we operate.”
Why is health and safety (H&S) important at Swire?
TC: We maintain a strong focus on H&S throughout our organisation. This reflects the critical importance that we attach to the health and safety of our staff, those with whom we do business and the communities in which we operate. We believe that H&S is an integral element of overall business performance and that our commitment to its continuous H&S improvement is essential to our success.
How do you see Swire Pacific’s role and performance in this area?
TC: Through its risk governance process, Swire Pacific’s role is to oversee the Group’s overall H&S performance, to encourage sharing of best practices, to identify relevant H&S risks and to develop policies to address them. We believe that we have been successful in performing these roles, in particular in engaging safety professionals from different parts of the Group. Sharing of best practices is particularly strong in Mainland China.
How has the concept of H&S changed over time?
TC: I do not think that the concept of H&S has changed substantially over time. However, there is now a greater awareness that H&S extends beyond a company’s employees and premises, extending to those with whom the company does business and the communities in which it operates. There is also a growing awareness that health covers mental health and wellbeing, not just physical health. This is part of an increased focus on the ‘health’ in H&S and a greater general openness in society about mental health. We recognise both these points in our group H&S policy.
The human cost of workplace accidents, industrial disasters and occupational disease has a major global human and economic impact. The International Labour Organisation estimates that more than 2.78 million people die each year as a result of workplace accidents and occupational diseases, resulting in an economic burden estimated at around 4% of global GDP each year.
Many of our operations involve high-risk activities that could affect people’s safety and health. We are expected to apply robust risk management controls and procedures as protection.
It is imperative that we do everything we can to conduct our operations in a manner which safeguards the health and safety of our employees, contractors, suppliers and customers, the visitors to our business premises and the communities in which we operate. Safer operations are more efficient, profitable and successful. People are more likely to want to work for us than for companies with poor safety performance or sub-standard working conditions.
Protecting our workforce is fundamental to our businesses achieving long-term success and sustainability.
We focus on five areas:
We believe all incidents are preventable. While all operations involve risk, our first priority is to safeguard. We aim to achieve the ultimate goal of zero harm to our employees, customers, visitors and contractors. Under our Health and Safety Policy, all our employees and contractors are expected to:
Each operating company has an Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) policy, which is monitored by our Internal Audit department.
Achievement of zero harm depends on a strong safety culture where employees are responsible for the safety of others and themselves. We aim to identify and manage potential hazards by conducting regular safety audits and reporting all incidents, including those considered to be minor. We encourage reporting of near misses.
The Swire Pacific Health and Safety Committee reports to the Group Risk Management Committee (GRMC). The GRMC reports to the Board via the Audit Committee. Members of the Health and Safety Committee are senior representatives from our five divisions. The Committee is responsible for developing group-wide health and safety policies and guidelines, monitoring divisional performance, promoting education and training, sharing best practices and developing internal health and safety capabilities.
Achievement of zero harm depends on a strong safety culture where employees are responsible for the safety of others and themselves.
We evaluate performance by recording lost time injury rates (LTIR) and lost day rates (LDR) and by setting targets for improvement. LTIR is the number of injuries per 100 full-time equivalent employees. LDR is the number of work days lost to injuries per 100 full-time equivalent employees. The divisions report every quarter on health and safety to Swire Pacific. Both the GRMC and the Board receive health and safety updates at each of their meetings. A separate Mainland China Health and Safety Working Group deals with health and safety in Mainland China, where regulations frequently change and vary among provinces.
At Swire Pacific, we track our safety performance by measuring our LTIR and LDR.
(Number of injuries per 100 FTE)
(Number of injuries per 100 FTE)
|Lost time injury rate (LTIR)||2.0||1.6||1.6||1.7||1.8||2.0|
(days lost per 100 FTE)
(days lost per 100 FTE)
|Lost day rate (LDR)||56.4||54.0||46.8||59.4||52.1||65.9|
In 2019, our LTIR increased by 12.3% to 2.01 from 1.79 in 2018. This reflects increased LTIR at Cathay Pacific, Swire Properties, Swire Coca-Cola and Hongkong United Dockyards. Over the last five years, our LTIR has decreased by 0.99%. The LTIR trend largely reflects what happens at Cathay Pacific, which accounted for 64% of 2019 LTIRs. The LTIR at Cathay Pacific has increased by 18% from 2018 and by 24% from 2014. Injuries to cabin crew are the most significant factor. Common injuries are trips and falls, strains from pulling and pushing equipment, being struck by falling objects and scalding.
Our LDR has increased by 26.5% from 2018 and by 16.8% from 2014. The LDR at Cathay Pacific has increased by 48% from 2018 and by 30% from 2014, reflecting the increase in LTIR and, in 2019, a change in the method of calculating pilot and cabin crew hours.
Regrettably there were two fatalities among our employees in 2019. One occurred in Hong Kong when a Vogue Laundry delivery worker was in a company truck when it collided with a parked vehicle. The other occurred in Mainland China when an employee was in a road accident when returning home from work.
The majority of Swire Coca-Cola’s health and safety incidents are traffic incidents. This includes employee travel during customer visits and product deliveries. Swire Coca-Cola takes the following actions to manage the risks:
This programme is already starting to show positive results. In Mainland China, the number of two-wheel vehicle accidents decreased by 33% in 2019. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, traffic accidents decreased by 50% in 2019.
We aim through systems improvements, training, learning and transparent reporting to continuously improve our health and safety performance and culture. Since March 2019, in order to enhance Board governance of H&S matters it was decided that a H&S report would to be submitted at each Board meeting. These reports are reviewed by the Audit Committee before submission to the Board.
In 2019, our operating companies did the following:
Manual handling incidents account for a significant percentage of our workplace accidents. Cathay Pacific Catering Services, HAECO Hong Kong, Swire Coca-Cola, and Hong Kong Airport Services train staff for manual handling using Pristine Condition, a programme that aims to reduce injuries from manual handling through specialist training.
As a result of the nature of their operations, the number of staff injuries from manual handling at Hong Kong Airport Services is relatively high. Hong Kong Airport Services have adopted essential manual handling principles which employees receive training on. Safety promotions and talks are held, and new joiners are shown instructional videos. A train the trainer course has been provided in order to strengthen the company’s training capability and monitoring of the programme.
At Swire Coca-Cola in the USA, warehouse loaders, driver merchandisers, merchandisers, field service technicians and cooler movers are vulnerable to manual handling injuries. Frontline leaders monitor and coach employees on proper manual handling techniques. In 2019, there were 40 boot camps in 17 locations for frontline leaders. The bootcamps concentrated on essential techniques, effective observations and engagement with associates. LTIs and injury costs reduced by 35% and 50% respectively in 2019.
We have a crisis reporting policy and crisis management guidelines, both approved by the GRMC. Our objective is to protect our businesses by limiting the impact of unpredictable events on our people, our assets, our reputation and the environment. The policy and the guidelines help to build business resilience through crisis preparedness, business continuity and disaster recovery planning.
The guidelines require improved reporting and escalation in order to share lessons learnt, enable more effective responses, facilitate quicker recovery and provide additional central support.
The policies and guidelines came into effect before, and have been applied in relation to, social unrest in Hong Kong in 2019 and COVID-19 in 2020. Swire Pacific has monitored the situation closely through its head office Crisis Management Team and regular updates have been provided to all staff by the respective heads of our businesses.
We care about the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our people. Under our Employee Assistance Programme, we offer a 24-hour Professional Personal Counselling and Consultation (PPCC) hotline to help employees deal with stress management, relationships, parenting, coping with trauma or grief, and preparing for retirement. Employees approaching retirement are invited to pre-retirement workshops. The following are seminar topics:
A sustainable work-life balance is important for wellbeing. Swire Pacific encourages an approach to work which fits with this aim. We provide a coaching service, where we advise employees on how to cope with the challenges they may encounter within and outside Swire. We have a flexible working policy.
The PPCC and the coaching service are led by experienced counsellors, social workers and clinical psychologists. All information is kept confidential. We encourage employees to lead active lifestyles by participating in our staff association’s physical wellbeing programmes. There are family outings to Ocean Park and Disneyland in Hong Kong and inter-company sporting competitions. We sponsor Hong Kong’s King of the Hills Mountain Marathon Series.
In 2019, Swire Pacific Offshore launched a health and wellness campaign in conjunction with World Mental Health Day. Talks on stress management techniques, empathic listening and peer counselling were held to impart knowledge and support employees.
Swire Properties has wellness programmes for employees in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Financial support is given to sports and other interest clubs. The 2019 theme was “Embrace, Engage, Enjoy”.Hong Kong
Industry specific and general health and safety training will be given to senior management as per the new Group Senior Management Health and Safety Policy. We are considering a more strategic approach to wellbeing and how different parts of the Group can work together towards its improvement.