Investor Relations

Social performance 2009

Yara continued its solid safety performance in 2009. At the same time, two serious accidents spurred several new initiatives to strengthen safety activities and operational discipline across the workforce.
Social performance

Health and safety

In 2009, Yara recorded an LTI rate (lost-time injuries per million hours worked) of 1.5 for Yara employees and contractors combined, slightly above the ambitious target of an LTI rate under 1.3. In comparison, the average LTI rate of other fertilizer producers in Europe is three times higher than that of Yara. This was the seventh consecutive year with LTI rates below two, placing Yara firmly among the leaders in industrial safety and the very best within the fertilizer industry.

This was also confirmed when Yara Sluiskil was awarded the IFA’s Green Leaf Trophy award in 2009. The TRI rate (total recordable injuries per million hours worked) ended at 2.7 for Yara employees, well within the target of 4.0, and down from 3.5 in 2008.

LTI rate

LTI rate View graph

Regrettably, Yara experienced one fatal accident in 2009. A contract worker carrying out repairs died instantly after falling from the roof of a warehouse at the Harjavalta site, Finland. The accident was investigated by local authorities and a Yara team, concluding that Yara was not at fault. Prior to the accident, Harjavalta had a record five years without lost-time injury and was named “Forerunner in occupational safety” by the Zero Accident Forum run by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Safety. 

Breakdown of workforce
Permanently employed employees Managerial grade employees Temporary contracts
Total Male Female Male Female Total
Africa 436 354 82 68 15 76
Asia 186 112 74 34 17 1
Europe 5,043 4,145 898 656 150 174
Latin America 1,665 1,399 266 113 20 153
North America 270 214 56 24 6 1
Oceania 11 8 3 1 2 0
Sum 7,611 6,232 1,379 896 210 405

Yara also experienced a major accident at the Yara Tertre plant, Belgium, resulting in significant property damage and loss of production, but without serious injury to people. The explosion in Tertre and fatality in Harjavalta were both dramatic reminders of the importance of strict application of safe working rules and procedures, spurring several initiatives to further strengthen safety activities.

Following the accident in Tertre, a task force was appointed to attack the root causes of this and previous incidents. Besides technical improvements, the investigations have lead to a strengthening of Yara’s focus on process safety, including safety integrity analysis of high-risk operations, more attention to operational discipline and review of competence requirements and training programs, with special emphasis on the operator and supervisor level.

Based on previous incident reports and dialogue with top safety performers in industry, Yara’s Golden Rules were established, covering the most accident-prone activities, including working at heights. The rules will be strictly enforced throughout the organization, instilling the necessary operational discipline and underpinning management’s responsibility for preventing unwanted incidents. The importance of adhering to Yara’s operational standards and procedures was also incorporated in the safety framework agreement between Yara’s European Works Council and the CEO.

In 2009, Yara continued the Behavior Based Safety (BBS) program at all major plants. It facilitates about 40,000 observations and feedback situations each year at the current implementation level. Yara considers the program a driver of employee involvement and safety awareness. This consideration is supported by analysis of safety performance at the plants. Safety awareness was also the focus of the Think Ahead campaign, which includes an updated safety handbook and educational videos, launched throughout the organization in 2009.

Yara increased its attention to crisis and reputation management in 2009. The steering system was assessed and routines updated in order to enhance preparedness in the event of a crisis. Yara also evaluated and updated key roles and responsibilities in handling crises throughout the organization. All responsible personnel received training and performed local reputational risk assessments with support from Yara’s global expert organization.

In October 2009, Yara’s Head of HESQ & Product Stewardship, Tore Jenssen was awarded the 2009 Francis New Memorial Medal for his contributions to the improvement of safety and product stewardship in the fertilizer industry.

Breakdown of turnover
Turnover by gender  Turnover by age
Total Male Female <30 30-50 >50
Africa 37 32 5 10 26 1
Asia 18 13 5 5 9 4
Europe 675 508 167 124 229 322
Latin America 306 240 66 97 187 22
North America 16 14 2 3 7 6
Oceania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sum 1,052 807 245 239 458 355
Note: Due to incomplete reporting from two subsidiaries, the totals presented in the tables deviate from the total number of employees (7,629) reported in Yara’s performance management system.

Human resources

At the end of 2009, Yara’s workforce numbered 7,629 employees worldwide, down from 7,971 employees a year before. The reduction was primarily related to the closing of plants in Europe (see below), and synergies following acquisitions.

Like the fertilizer industry at large, Yara has a male-dominated workforce. Close to 82 percent of all employees are male; 81 percent at the managerial level. The overall staff turnover rate was reduced to about 14 percent in 2009, from 17 percent in 2008. For several years, turnover has been highest in Brazil where skilled labor is in short supply. Responding to this challenge, a strong HR department has been developed in Brazil. In 2009, it received the Top HR Award from the Brazilian Human Resources Association, a leading non-profit organization in the state of Rio Grande do Sul.

In 2009, Yara finalized the closing process of plants in Kedainiai, Latvia (closed 2008), and in Peremarton, Hungary (closed 2009), involving 128 and 127 employees, respectively. The details of the closing processes were approved by Yara’s European Work Council. In addition to minimum requirements by local legislation, compensation packages to employees involved a combination of additional severance pay and early retirement solutions. Yara also cooperated closely with local labor authorities and set up a funding program to support redundant personnel searching for new employment. All employees were encouraged to apply for an endowment from the fund to support education, training or moving costs.

In France, the Issoudun site employing 19 people was closed. Affected employees were offered an employment protection plan, with privileged internal redeployment and support measures for those seeking employment outside the company. Also in France, the ammonia production at the Pardies plant closed down in December 2009 due to substantial changes in the industrial park where it is situated. This is expected to affect 43 jobs.

Yara values its good relationship with employees and their organizations, and works with them on a regular basis. In 2009, about 74 percent of Yara’s workforce was covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Employee benefits

Yara employees can expect competitive pay and benefits, commonly including flexible and family-friendly work arrangements (see table below). In addition, statutory maternity and paternity leaves, educational programs and funding schemes, as well as social activities are offered. The pension policy varies between operations in different countries, but as a minimum, employees are covered by a combination of the country’s social services program, Yara’s occupational pension scheme and personal insurance cover organized locally. The company ensures that all employees are covered by life insurance, as well as health insurance in countries where the public health service does not cover basic medical treatment or hospitalization.

Employee benefits Share of employees
Flexible working hours 86%
Job sharing 36%
Career breaks 41%
Disability coverage 96%
Health care facilities/subsidies 96%
Child care facilities/subsidies 45%

With operations on six continents, Yara has decided to follow the advice of national authorities with respect to serious diseases. In 2009, the main focus was on the prevention of pandemic influenza or swine flu. All employees were given general advice on how to avoid the flu through the Yara Intranet site, and local measures to prevent spreading were taken.

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