Health & Safety

Our people are healthy, live with balance and go home from work safely every day, everywhere.

At Fonterra we believe that sustainable success can only be achieved through our people. People make the difference and caring for our people is a key foundation to the way we operate. Nothing is more important.  We focus on taking care of our people, contractors and any other people involved with Fonterra, including suppliers, customers and the public.  We believe that no harm is acceptable and this is reflected in our zero harm approach to health and safety.


Health and safety performance in FY15
Sadly, this year two people lost their lives on our sites: an employee in Chile and a contractor in China. Having achieved our lowest recorded level of serious harm injuries last year of 22 globally, this year we saw an increase to 38. For all fatalities and serious harm injuries we conduct investigations to identify the root causes and implement corrective actions and share learnings across the business.

During the year, 370 of our employees required medical treatment, restricted work duties or time away from work as a result of an injury. This represents a 17 per cent reduction in the employee injury rate for the hours worked, from 9.8 total injuries per million hours worked last year to 8.1 this year. This is our lowest recorded level and a total reduction of 55 per cent since 2010.

This year we have continued to focus on the most significant risks to our staff. We have built on work completed last year identifying these risks on sites, taking steps this year to reduce the exposure of our staff. In addition, our health and safety team have performed comprehensive audits on 18 of our sites to ensure that our defined practices for health and safety are being followed. These audits have continued to show improved resilience.

An important initiative this year has been targeting the safety of our 1,500 tanker drivers in New Zealand. Our drivers have had a high rate of injury and faced increased risks. The project included using vehicle data to coach drivers, enhanced health monitoring and the design of critical aspects of their environment, such as the unloading bays on sites. Overall, injuries have decreased by 31 per cent last year and tanker driver safety has been further improved.

For the second year our staff participated in the 10,000 Steps programme, a challenge to improve wellbeing by walking an average of at least 10,000 steps per day for a six-week period. This year 3,094 employees across the globe participated in the challenge and on completion of the programme, 75 per cent of respondents reported that they had made permanent exercise changes and felt their productivity had increased. This is a great global initiative for sustainable wellbeing.

Better Health, Better Safety, Better You is our global communication platform. It is designed to bring all the elements of health, safety and wellbeing together, connecting our people on a personal level and enabling a sense of personal ownership. This new way of thinking was launched in November 2013 and has been embedded into the business globally.

Fonterra Life Savers has been introduced as a set of global behavioural expectations for our people, that bring focus to our highest critical risks. There are six behaviours which have been identified as having the greatest potential for reducing harm and raising our people’s awareness of the risks that they are faced with each day:

  1. Always work free of impairment from alcohol and drugs
  2. Always wear and use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  3. Always drive safely
  4. Always work with a valid permit to work, where required
  5. Always operate equipment with guards and safety systems in place
  6. Always follow access rules.
Case Study: Darfield Site Construction

The Darfield Capital Project Team realised early on this $350 Million build project, that to achieve a step change in the health and safety performance, a comprehensive approach was necessary.  The team deliberately applied the principle of “Putting People before the Project” and used sociological innovations to intentionally create a community of people that would deliver the project safely, to time, and to quality and budget requirements.

Our community of people’s goal was to achieve personal involvement, connectedness, and individual accountability across the site. This created an environment which cared about everybody, where health and safety was not seen as an “add on”, where individuals had the internalised need to act safely, and where performance was a key requirement to stay within the community of people.

This bold new vision created a common sense purpose and belonging, and was turned into reality by:
     Installing a strong feedback culture
     Focusing on the personal and professional development of individuals
     Equipping individuals to accept and deal with conflicts constructively
The Darfield Site construction project made a significant impact on personal safety metrics.  Our TRIFR showed a 55% reduction from our last major construction project at ED4 to deliver a TRIFR of 8 for the Darfield project.

The innovation and excellence of the safety programme employed at Darfield has been recognised at the 2013 This is Fonterra Awards, winning the Putting Safety First Award, as well as the ACC Best Leadership of an Industry Sector award, at the 2013 New Zealand Workplace Health and Safety Awards.