Our approach to safety
Our Code of Conduct makes it clear that everyone working for or on behalf of Vodafone must behave in a safe and responsible manner at all times.
Our Group Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy expands on the Code of Conduct, setting out our commitment to establish a robust and durable health, safety and wellbeing culture. This policy is accompanied by detailed standards setting out the specific steps that must be taken to manage our greatest risks.
Our Group Health, Safety and Wellbeing Policy
Our Code of Conduct emphasises the need for full compliance with the systems and processes designed to keep everyone who works for us safe at all times. Every Vodafone employee or contractor and every supplier’s employee and contractor must:
Abide by the Absolute Rules at all times;
Intervene if they see someone behaving in an unsafe manner;
Consider how their decisions and actions will affect the health and safety of others; and
Never compromise health and safety.
Our global Code of Conduct training, completed by 90% of active employees, includes a mandatory e-learning safety module designed to ensure that employees know how to keep themselves and others safe at work. It also includes details of our Speak Up programme that enables anyone to report safety concerns anonymously if they prefer.
In addition to the Absolute Rules, our Supplier Group Policy on Health, Safety and Wellbeing sets out additional safety requirements at an operating level, particularly for high-risk activities. The policy emphasises the need for suppliers to monitor compliance on a continuous basis, report about their safety performance to us and have in place robust mechanisms to manage safety in their own supply chain. It also requires suppliers to put in place a safety plan before they undertake a number of specified high-risk activities.
Rules are only effective if people follow them. This is why we take monitoring and enforcement seriously. We work hard to ensure everyone who works with us understands and complies with our Absolute Rules.
Employees who fail to do this face disciplinary action, which can lead to dismissal. Our absolute focus on compliance, and on the consequences of non-compliance, is widely recognised across our businesses: 93% of employees who responded to our Global People Survey in 2018 said they believed the Absolute Rules are taken seriously at Vodafone.
We operate a formal consequence management process to address compliance issues, but prefer to help non-compliant suppliers improve their performance rather than terminate their contracts. However, if a supplier persistently fails to meet our safety standards, we will stop working with them and prohibit them from bidding for future work with Vodafone.
The risks we face remain fairly 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 suppliers 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 every year, to ensure they are as fit for purpose as they possibly can be.
Our Group Health, Safety and Wellbeing (HS&W) team oversees health and safety management across Vodafone. The team reports to the Group Human Resources Director, who is a member of the Executive Committee and reports directly to the Group Chief Executive.
The Group HS&W team provides specialist support for safety leaders in our local market businesses. They collaborate through a mutually supportive network, sharing best practice and knowledge, and work closely with other Group Technology and Procurement functions.
This year, deep-dive compliance reviews of our HS&W Framework were completed across the Vodacom Group and Greece. The Framework ensures a consistent approach to HS&W leadership, risk management, governance and assurance. The purpose of the reviews was to independently assess compliance and effectiveness of controls, and identify how our markets govern and provide assurance against these elements.
‘The tone from the top’ is a critical factor in determining how well any organisation embeds safety in its working behaviours. We expect our senior leaders to demonstrate personal leadership in this area and a focus on safety is a prerequisite for a senior role with Vodafone.
Safety is a part of all our leadership programmes and we run workshops for executives and senior managers to reinforce the leadership behaviours that support a strong health and safety culture. All our Group executives, supply chain leaders, technology directors, human resources directors and other senior leaders work towards annual HS&W objectives.
Senior leaders, technology directors and supply chain managers in local markets are mandated to complete at least four management safety ‘tours’ every year, reinforcing the message that safety really matters. This year, our senior leaders completed more than 900 of these tours. We record the details of their discussions about safety issues and performance for subsequent analysis by local and Group safety teams.
Monitoring and reporting
Monitoring and reporting on our safety performance is essential to ensure the safety of everyone working with us – our employees, our contractors and suppliers, and their own employees and contractors. It also helps us to focus on and address risks that are inherent to our industry.
We want our own teams, our suppliers, our stakeholders and others in our industry to learn from the performance data we share. In the case of fatalities, we set a wide boundary for our in-scope reporting.
In contrast with many businesses, which only report employee fatalities on their own premises, we report fatalities involving any of our suppliers’ employees and contractors (across all Tiers) and members of the public, regardless of whether or not these fatalities occur on Vodafone premises or at other locations, for example, on public roads. We investigate and report openly on our findings in the case of fatalities within our reporting boundary, including instances where we conclude that our safety controls did not function as intended or that they could have been enhanced in some way.