Ensuring our employees are safe and healthy: How we’re doing this

Apr 28, 2016

At Nestlé, we have established a culture based on the values of trust, mutual respect and dialogue.

We aim to make sure we stand by these values to meet the needs of the billions of consumers in Central and West Africa and worldwide, and to our 6,798 employees in the region.

Health and safety is important for everyone at Nestlé Central and West Africa Region (CWAR), regardless of what they do or where they work.

We also focus our resources on visitors to our facilities, and increasingly on those who work for our partners, up and down the value chain.

Today we are ensuring that robust safety and health management systems are in place, covering all employee populations so there is the same level of safety and protection across all our businesses in CWAR. Here are ways we are doing this:

1) Ensuring basic health and safety protection

We’ve launched a road safety programme in CWAR for employees to increase safe driving. Main driver employees in Francophone countries have already taken part and we are rolling out the initiative to Anglophone countries this year. We’re also a founding member of Safe Way Right Way in Cameroon, which aims to teach more people about road safety. We’ve already reached about 120,000 drivers in the region.

In 2013 we introduced a pilot malaria prevention programme to employees and their families in Cameroon. Our training and preventative tools, like providing mosquito nets, resulted in a 27% drop in malaria cases a year later. In Gabon, the programme marked a 95% success rate. We are set to roll out the initiative across the region by the end of 2017.

We’ve launched health campaigns to make our employees aware of health-related diseases such as HIV/AIDS. They are also being offered free cardiovascular and diabetes testing and medical checks by healthcare professionals at some of our sites.

We activated an ‘Ebola Virus Disease Protocol’ with the IFRC to monitor the disease since the outbreak in 2014. We’ve reinforced hygiene measures and communication at all our sites, provided sanitary packages to employees in Ebola-affected countries such as Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, and offered psychological support.

2) Providing a conducive environment for employees

We launched the Nestlé CWAR Parental Policy in 2015, which is based on the International Labour Organization Maternity Protection Convention. Employees are offered a number of benefits including minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave, employment and health protection, and access to breastfeeding rooms during work hours. We also carried out activities across all our sites during World Breastfeeding Week in 2015 to raise the importance of breastfeeding among employees.

We’ve completed Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) self-assessments at 95% of our sites in the region, which examines access to water, sanitation and hygiene. At our Douala factory in Cameroon, we improved access to sanitation for disabled people by building a new locker room with a disabled toilet. We aim to complete assessments at 100% of our sites by 2016.

In 2015, we carried out our global external audit programme, CARE, to ensure we provide our employees with efficient, safe and improved work sites and help to identify any workplace gaps. No major gaps were found but we are taking action to address some minor gaps by developing plans, monitoring third party practices and reviewing existing assessments.