Caring for people is an inherent part of the way we do business. Despite the continued and significant increase in focus on safety performance during the year the results are not where we want it or need it to be. The Total Recordable Case Frequency (TRCF) for 2023 ended at 1.21, at the same level as 2022. We recorded 759 incidents, 12% less than 2022 but also the working hours reduced due to business divestments. There were seven serious incidents during the year and we are also extremely sad to report four fatalities - all related to transport accidents in our Energy business.

This result clearly demonstrates the need to continue training and focus on safety matters as first priority in our own operations and that of our supply chain partners. Having improved the depth of our reporting during the year, we are now in the process of establishing an organisation-wide culture of safety that makes the subject our overriding priority. Our goal of Zero Harm means allowing so that every employee returns home safely every day. Senior management compensation is now linked to achieving TRCF improvement in order to reach benchmark TRCF of 0.4 for the whole of SHV in the medium-term future.

This unwavering commitment to a safe working environment for all will be grounded in a continued focus on our three core programmes:

Our Life Saving Rules (LSR) apply a consistent approach to incident prevention across the Groups, with each following a specific set of rules focusing on the relevant safety hazards. 

Visible and Felt Leadership is designed to ensure that management takes responsibility for safety and makes it priority number one in everything we do and every decision we make - ahead of economic, customer, and all other considerations. 

Operational Discipline and Process Safety is aimed at continually reviewing our operations, equipment, and processes to identify any potential risk and quickly take any action required.

Together, these three programmes will prove critical in delivering levels of safety over and above industry benchmarks. 

A “practice in place” mindset also has an essential role to play, making sure that our people are aware of all programmes and initiatives; that they receive the appropriate training; and that they are capable of effectively implementing all relevant rules, practices, and procedures. To put it another way, Practice in place is about transforming words into actions. 

In terms of specific actions, Life Saving Rules were the focus of our annual company-wide Safety Week with training and targeted workshops at all our sites. All Groups report safety performance monthly which are consolidated into a Group-wide overview, extensively reviewed, and discussed. This allows us to track progress closely and keep safety top of mind. Safety leads the agenda in all board and Group meetings. A dedicated cross-Group safety community meets once a quarter to exchange best practices and learnings and review progress. 

At SHV Energy, the initial roll out of the CARE campaign, aimed at achieving the cultural and behavioural change aspects of Health and Safety, has been completed and now Business Units are implementing innovative ways of stimulating the CARE programme in colleagues' minds, reinforcing the knowledge of the Life Saving Rules (LSR) and encouraging the adoption of Health and Safety Habits.  For example, local initiatives include the development of games (Habits jigsaw puzzle, H&S Jeopardy, LSR match), visual reminders and ownership of the CARE concepts (LSR clock, volunteer championing of a LSR or Habit) and family involvement (Personal Protective Equipment board with pictures of family members, Kids’ CARE competition, and Kids’ messages to their parents broadcasted in rest areas).

In 2023, Nutreco launched a safety-related investment programme focused on process risks such as dust explosions. Among other initiatives, this involves making significant modifications to bucket elevators and hammer mills. Following Mammoet and SHV Energy, Nutreco has also adopted EcoOnline, a specialist Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) software that records and tracks all aspects of safety and facilitates creation of a safer and healthier workplace. Kiwa started to implement Kiwa Impact, their in-house developed tool.

ERIKS and Kiwa both conducted equipment safety audits across their sites and are now in the process of implementing the ensuing recommendations.

As for the year ahead, we will continue to reinforce our Life Saving Rules, Visible Felt Leadership, and Operational Discipline and Process Safety programmes. We will also begin to gradually introduce the concept of a Just Culture. Just Culture means not only looking at the technical side of any safety related incident, but also at organisational accountability and responsibility aspects.