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Managing our key risks

Our safety strategy focuses on the most significant risks to our employees, partners, and communities.

The risks we face remain constant, but thinking about how best to mitigate them is evolving all the time. To stay in touch with best practice, we engage with our industry peers, our partners and other relevant bodies. We also recognise the need to always take local factors into account, so we formally review our most critical global standards regularly, to ensure they are as fit for purpose as they possibly can be.

Our Group Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy

Employee SHW

Nothing is more important to us than the safety, health, and wellbeing (SHW) of our people. We have a simple global commitment: no one gets hurt. Our commitment is defined on behalf of the Board by the Group CEO.

Maritime - Business partners handshake

Partner SHW

Most of the work activity that carries a high safety risk is carried out by our partners on our behalf. Historically, these risks have accounted for the majority of serious incidents and fatalities that have occurred in Vodafone and in our supply chain.

4 people drinking coffee

Community SHW

We want to be a good neighbour and play an active role in the communities in which we operate. We recognise our activities to build, operate, and maintain our fixed and mobile networks can result in potential risks to members of the community in which we work. We always actively try to manage the activities directly within our control by working with our supply chain, and we are constantly looking for opportunities to make improvements in our communities. We do this through specific community safety programmes including national road safety campaigns and road safety education in schools.

Road safety remains the primary cause of serious injuries and fatalities associated with Vodafone activities.

We constantly engage with our employees and partners on road risk including our key risks such as speeding, distracted driving and not wearing a seatbelt. Mitigating road risk remains challenging because we operate in countries with extremely challenging driving conditions and have limited ability to control external factors such as unsafe driving conditions, or the actions of third parties on public roads.

Wherever permitted we continue to use in vehicle monitoring technology to help us monitor driver behaviour and encourage those drivers to reflect and revise their driving performance to make them safer on the roads, and by so doing help the communities in which we work to stay safe.

Our Absolute Rules stipulate that anyone working with electrical equipment must be qualified and authorised to do so. Our training module on working with electricity provides guidance to employees on how to recognise risks and implement appropriate safety controls.

In addition, we have continued to work with partners to ensure that:

  • they have a documented risk management process for working with electricity;
  • those working with electricity are certified, competent and medically fit;
  • electrical equipment is fit for its intended purpose;
  • appropriate safety controls such as ‘lock out-tag out’ are in place; and
  • work on live electrical systems is prohibited (with the exception of extra low voltage systems, where additional controls are specified).

Mobile communications services rely on connectivity provided by antennae placed on towers, masts, and rooftops. We work to ensure the training of Vodafone employees and contractors and partners’ employees and contractors who work at height so that they understand the risks and take steps to control them.

Our network site design principles stipulate the need for safe access for people working at height and include guidance on the control measures required to manage the risks involved effectively. Fall-arrest equipment is inspected regularly as part of each of our local businesses’ preventative maintenance programmes.

During the year, we have also continued to work with third-party partners to ensure effective controls are implemented and monitored.

Expanding our fixed-line business has increased the amount of work undertaken to lay or maintain cables at height or underground. This work is hazardous, with the risk of injury or death posed working in proximity to power lines and for underground by penetrating electricity or gas lines, trenches collapsing during excavation and nearby road traffic.

Fibre-to-the-Premises and cable broadband installations require employees and contractors to work on private residential and business property as well as in the street. Doing so also poses risks such as not knowing the location of buried utilities. We are working with our local businesses to ensure that they have the necessary safety plans and controls in place to mitigate these risks.