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Home / case studies / Case study: How Hap Seng Plantations promotes workplace safety

Case study: How Hap Seng Plantations promotes workplace safety

Hap Seng Plantations, the plantation division of Hap Seng Consolidated Berhad (HSCB), is an oil palm plantation company listed on Bursa Malaysia and one of the largest producers of sustainable palm oil in Sabah, Malaysia. Hap Seng Plantations seeks to provide and maintain a safe and healthy working environment for all employees, contractors and visitors.  Tweet This!

This case study is based on the 2019 Sustainability Report by Hap Seng Plantations published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate what CSR/ ESG/ sustainability reporting done responsibly means. Essentially, it means: a) identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment, economy and society, and b) measuring, managing and changing.

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Hap Seng Plantations’ commitment to safety is to ensure a continuous reduction in the number of accidents in its operations, while continuously instilling a safety-first mindset in its employees’ daily work culture. In order to promote workplace safety Hap Seng Plantations took action to:

  • promote the responsible handling of chemicals
  • implement a standardised health and safety programme
  • apply specific safety procedures

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Hap Seng Plantations identified a range of material issues, such as water management, labour conditions & welfare, relationship & support to smallholders, transparency, community development. Among these, promoting workplace safety stands out as a key material issue for Hap Seng Plantations.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards              

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The reporting organization shall identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations and interests.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Hap Seng Plantations engages with:

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Government ·      One-to-one meeting with respective agencies
Shareholders/ Investment community ·      Annual general meeting

·      Analyst briefing

Local communities

 

 

 

·      Social impact assessments

·      Grievance and complaints channel

·      Programme to encourage company staff to send their children to the school of a neighbouring village so that facilities can be upgraded based on increased student numbers

Workers

 

·      Social impact assessments

·      Awareness and continuous improvement

Industry bodies

 

·      Members of the RSPO, Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP), Malaysian Palm Oil Association
Employees

 

·      Annual performance appraisals

·      Quarterly engagement with HR managers

·      Formalise training

Customers ·      One-on-one meetings
Aflatoun International – RSPO Smallholder Academy ·      Partnership with Aflatoun International

 

Independent local outgrowers & smallholders ·      Provide free technical support and facilities

 

Suppliers

 

·      Documents and operation review to ensure suppliers comply with sustainable requirement

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To identify and prioritise material topics Hap Seng Plantations directly engaged with both its internal and external stakeholders through group session engagements, by phone and one-to-one interviews.

What actions were taken by Hap Seng Plantations to promote workplace safety?

In its 2019 Sustainability Report Hap Seng Plantations reports that it took the following actions for promoting workplace safety:

  • Promoting the responsible handling of chemicals
  • As dedicated spraying crews manually apply fertilizers and pesticides in Hap Seng Plantations’ plantations, each crew member receives continuous training in chemical handling, while all sprayers are required to wear PPE (personal protective equipment) covering the full body and must shower after each shift. Assistant managers and field conductors are responsible for ensuring compliance with safety procedures, which is monitored through internal safety audits. Spraying crews are also required to attend a health check every three months. This routine is particularly important for women workers. Pregnant workers are reallocated to new job tasks with less risk, such as general work (e.g. line sweeper), and are given two months of maternity leave after delivery. Hap Seng Plantations has also banned the use of paraquat in all its plantations since 2011, responding to stakeholders’ concerns about the chemical and its widespread misuse.
  • Implementing a standardised health and safety programme
  • To remind its employees to adopt a safe work culture on a daily basis and avoid risk behaviours, Hap Seng Plantations has been implementing a standardised health and safety programme according to job type, across all operations, which includes the following:
    • Annual training on Safety Operating Procedure (SOP) for each work unit.
    • Daily monitoring of the work activity in each work unit by management representatives.
    • Induction training on SOPs for every new employee.
    • Safety committee meetings between management and worker representatives held on a quarterly basis to discuss actions required to improve the SOP of each work unit.
    • Periodical reviews on Hazard Identification Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HIRARC) in order to improve control measures and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Applying specific safety procedures
  • To not only reduce accident rates but also make OSH (occupational safety and health) a culture and a way of life, Hap Seng Plantations implements specific safety procedures, including:
    • Implementation of a Log Out Tag Out system (LOTO) in mill machinery. LOTO increases machine handling safety, especially during maintenance, by locking the switchboard to prevent accidental activation.
    • Implementation of Permit To Work (PTW) for high-risk and/or non-routine work – for example working at height, in extreme temperatures and in confined spaces. PTWs are only issued to individuals qualified to do the work, thereby ensuring compliance with SOPs.
    • Quarterly workplace safety inspections/audits carried out by a safety committee member to review any set safety measures requiring improvement.
    • Training workers on HIRARC for each work task to help them better understand task-specific hazards.
    • Engaging external occupational safety and health trainers, such as the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and BOMBA, to conduct Authorised Entrant and Standby Person (AESP) competency training and fire training.
  • Additionally, all Hap Seng Plantations’ estates and mills will need to routinely undergo chemical health risk assessments (CHRA). The CHRA is carried out once every five years to understand chemical hazards to health and ensure compliance with the Use and Standard of Exposure Chemical Hazardous to Health (USECHH) Regulation 2000. All Hap Seng Plantations workers are also covered by the Foreign Workmen Compensation Scheme, a general insurance policy that covers both injuries and fatalities.

Which GRI Standards and corresponding Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been addressed?

The GRI Standards addressed in this case are:

1) Disclosure 403-4 Worker participation, consultation, and communication on occupational health and safety

2) Disclosure 403-5 Worker training on occupational health and safety

3) Disclosure 403-9 Work-related injuries

4) Disclosure 403-10 Work-related ill health

 

Disclosure 403-4 Worker participation, consultation, and communication on occupational health and safety corresponds to:

Disclosure 403-5 Worker training on occupational health and safety corresponds to:

Disclosure 403-9 Work-related injuries corresponds to:

Disclosure 403-10 Work-related ill health does not correspond to any SDG.

 

80% of the world’s 250 largest companies report in accordance with the GRI Standards

SustainCase was primarily created to demonstrate, through case studies, the importance of dealing with a company’s most important impacts in a structured way, with use of the GRI Standards. To show how today’s best-run companies are achieving economic, social and environmental success – and how you can too.

Research by well-recognised institutions is clearly proving that responsible companies can look to the future with optimism.



FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised Sustainability Course | Venue: London LSE

By registering for the next 2-day FBRH GRI Standards Certified, IEMA & CIM recognised course you will be taking the first step in gaining the many benefits of sustainability reporting.

Most importantly, you will gain the knowledge to use the GRI Standards, project manage your own first-class sustainability report and:

  • Identify your most important impacts on the Environment, Economy and Society
  • Begin taking solid, focused, all-round sustainability action ASAP

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Hap Seng Plantations, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Hap Seng Plantations: With each case study we send out an email requesting a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.