Health, safety and wellbeing report

Health, safety and wellbeing report

Providing a healthy and safe operating environment

The health and safety of our customers, people and stakeholders is always top of mind, and never comprised even when cost saving is necessary.


The need for limited physical contact during COVID-19 has required a shift in our operating model, necessitating increased dependence on digital strategies and the redesign of a number of key interaction points with customers, our people and other stakeholders.

As a business that relies heavily on people, we believe that investing in their good health and wellbeing maintains their morale, and builds and improves our competitive advantage through their willingness and motivation to meet our strategic objectives and customer expectations. This has been particularly evident during the pandemic where the resilience of our people ensured the successful continuity of our day-to-day business processes and the upkeep of our customer service standards under challenging circumstances.

Our most prevalent safety risks are in the mechanical workshops, particularly the commercial vehicle workshops, where our employees work with machinery and under vehicles. Hazards include working around pits; working at height; slips, trips and falls; and working with chemicals and equipment such as welding and cutting tools. Our warehouses, where racking and storage requires high reach cherry pickers, are also high safety risk environments.

In our parts workshops and warehouses our employees work in close proximity to one another, overseeing each other's work and handling parts, equipment and tools. The stacking of inventory at the correct height, as well as the carrying of items such as batteries, are safety risks that require ongoing vigilance to ensure these activities are conducted correctly.

COVID-19 has presented an additional level of risk in these workplaces, as these jobs cannot be transitioned to a remote working environment.

It is with deep regret that we reported three employee road-related fatalities and two third-party fatalities for the year. We again offer our sympathies to the families of our colleagues. Road accidents remain the cause of most of our workplace fatalities and injuries; and while our drivers receive the right training, in many instances road accidents are a risk that is beyond our control. We have introduced additional measures regarding the distance an employee is allowed to travel without a co-driver or stopping overnight.

Strategic priorities

Actively manage the current and long-term impact of COVID-19, including ensuring secure workplaces and encouraging prevention practices, including vaccination. See above for more details.
Ensure occupational health and safety (OHS) procedures meet business requirements and comply with legislative requirements and guidelines. See below for more details.
Embed the best safety practices and a safety mindset across the Group by enhancing our health and safety leadership and capabilities. See below for more details.
Provide employees with access to services that support their physical and mental wellbeing. See below for more details.


COVID-19 health and safety procedures are continually modified as the expectations of government and health authorities change. Our facilities are conducive to social distancing, which enables those employees who are critical to our customer relationships and needed for critical business functions to continue working on-site. All employees must wear masks, business sites and offices provide sanitisers and are sanitised regularly, and social distancing procedures are enforced. Track and tracing capability and employee health disclosure mechanisms continue to be used.

Where applicable and practical, employee conditions of service have been adjusted to facilitate working from home or to support rotational working arrangements to manage the concentration of people in a facility. During the year, the following additional measures were taken to address the mental and physical wellbeing of our people:

  • Access to oximeters for employees who are COVID-19 positive and in isolation.
  • Health risk awareness programmes that enable our people to find out about any undiagnosed comorbidities.
  • Access to employee counselling assistance (see below).

Our operations beyond South Africa implement the measures required by their governments and health authorities.

Across the Group, regular employee engagement keeps our people updated on COVID-19 developments and well informed on new ways of working and how to prevent infection. Our new online platforms and apps (from Customer, vehicle and parts safety) not only improve customer experience, but also enable them to engage with us remotely, particularly during COVID-19 peaks. Regular customer engagement conveys information about the COVID-19 safety protocols implemented in our dealerships.

Where feasible, customer vehicles are collected from and delivered to their home or workplace, and changes have been made to the way we conduct customer test drives, including the sanitising of all touch points in the vehicle once a test drive is completed. Contactless deliveries are used in the Aftermarket Parts business and in the UK.

From the beginning of the pandemic to 31 August 2021, we have recorded 2 753 positive cases (2 466 in South Africa, 266 in the UK and 21 in the rest of Africa). It is with much sadness that we acknowledge the passing away of 47 of our people who have succumbed to the virus, and our heartfelt condolences go to their families, friends and colleagues.

While we do not have permanent on-site vaccination facilities, we are running an awareness campaign encouraging staff to register for vaccination. Key elements of the campaign include positive messaging from leadership, making registration more accessible and offering assistance where needed, as well as facilitating on-site vaccination days.

In South Africa, our COVID-19 governance framework sets minimum standards and ensures compliance with health authorities' guidelines to prevent and minimise the potential spread of the virus.

How we measure our performance

All injuries across all business sites are reported on our sustainability management system. OHS reporting includes on-site and COVID-19 safety metrics as well as those pertaining to road safety. Data is collected monthly and local administrators and internal audit perform regular data integrity checks. The system also collates lessons learnt, which are used to inform development plans.

The underlying OHS system in the UK tracks and manages incident reporting, regulatory compliance, risk assessments, action plans and training, as well as contractor permits and equipment maintenance schedules. The system can be accessed using a computer, tablet or phone. All employees have access to the system to ensure that all on-site incidents and near misses are reported.

In South Africa, OHS performance is measured against a checklist. Compliance to the checklist is reviewed quarterly and all business sites are independently audited on their compliance to the checklist at least once a year, with more frequent self-assessments in the interim. All sites are expected to maintain gold status as a minimum OHS rating, which equates to 85% compliance with the checklist. Action plans are developed for sites with ratings below gold status and these sites are then re-audited within a set period of time and again, if required, until they achieve gold status. Our dealerships in East Africa conduct OHS self-assessments quarterly.

A similar approach is adopted in the UK where sites must meet a minimum OHS target of 90%. The internal health and safety auditor audits sites twice a year. Sites that do not meet the OHS pass score are re-audited within three months.

In Australia, the OHS audit process has been overhauled in the past year, taking a key position in management activity and culture, with changes to how we manage significant infractions to minor housekeeping issues which have not met requirements. Internal and external independent reviews have been conducted at all sites, with a minimum of four weeks' notice prior to inspection. The senior management team received training from Safety Australia Group, including training on what constitutes a serious injury, illness or dangerous accident; enforcement measures and penalty categories; the difference between hazards and risks as well as how to identify them; officers of the company and what their duties are; and what constitutes due diligence as defined by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011. In Australia, our OHS target is 100%.

All audits in South Africa and the UK include a COVID-19 risk assessment.

Governance of quality, health and safety

Stakeholder engagement

In South Africa, regular communication takes place with safety representatives (16.2 appointees) and external service providers are consulted if additional or expert advice is needed.

In the UK, the Head of Health and Safety is a chartered member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and we are a member of the British Safety Council, providing us with access to additional safety guidance.

In Australia, we are a member of the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce and the Motor Traders' Association of New South Wales, providing access to the latest work health and safety advice. Membership also serves as a mechanism to lobby government for changes in OHS legislation.

What we are doing

The Group risk and sustainability function collaborates with businesses to ensure that OHS procedures and processes are correctly implemented.
Our zero-tolerance approach to OHS non-compliant behaviour provides our people with the confidence to safely raise OHS concerns and non-compliance with their line managers and OHS representatives.

OHS training and awareness take place Group-wide customised to the workplace environment of each business. Training ensures that employees clearly understand their OHS responsibilities, how to operate equipment safely and manage hazards responsibly, as well as adhere to legislative requirements.

In the UK and Australia, OHS training is supplemented with method statements, toolbox talks and morning briefings to ensure that control measures for potentially harmful tasks are understood. In Australia, all new employees complete online training on safe working procedures prior to starting work.

Daily vehicle roadworthy safety checks are undertaken and documented in Aftermarket Parts' delivery fleet, and vehicles must be cleaned and sanitised after each trip. This is strictly monitored by management.

All acquisitions and new sites must adopt health and safety practices that meet our minimum OHS standards. Following a gap analysis, health and safety consultants are hired to assist new acquisitions to develop an action plan to improve to an acceptable level of compliance with the Motus checklist and within regulations.

Employee wellness

Our employees have had to contend with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on their personal lives and at work where new ways of working were quickly implemented and restructures took place to ensure the Group's resilience. As a result, the pandemic has taken a heavy psychological toll on our people.

In South Africa, our Employee Assistance Programme provides confidential short-term counselling services. The programme helps employees face personal challenges and work-related problems that affect their work performance, as well as their health, mental and emotional wellbeing. Tools have also been introduced to help managers and HR personnel provide adequate support to employees who are dealing with stressful situations. Beyond the Employee Assistance Programme, a wide range of professional communication and self-leadership events are available to employees as part of the wellness programme.

Where operations allow, some businesses support flexitime to reduce time spent commuting, enabling employees to better balance work and family responsibilities. Some business segments and brands host wellness days, which typically provide employees with access to free eye tests, health screens and advice from various healthcare practitioners, dieticians, physical trainers, and financial advisers. In certain operations, some of our face-to-face OHS training and wellness day plans were negatively impacted by COVID-19; however, we piloted a hybrid wellness week at Kia, which was well received (see below). Wellness days will resume as soon as conditions allow.

In the UK, our independent occupational health provider oversees health surveillance interventions, including legislated medical examinations, and assists employees who need counselling, help with stress and health issues, and rehabilitation from workplace accidents. The Employee Assistance Programme provides employees and their immediate family members with 24/7 access to a doctor, confidential counselling services, mental health support and professional financial advice. Advantageous savings and credit interest rates are available for those earning lower incomes.

In Australia, our Employee Assistance Programme comprises four counselling services and access to government bodies, which assist with relationship issues, depression, suicide and self-harm tendencies and domestic violence.

  • Embedding consistent safety measures that comply with legislation across operations and regions.
  • Guarding against COVID-19 fatigue, and ensuring that COVID-19 protocols are continuously adhered to.
  • Ensuring that customers trust that we are maintaining the highest health and safety protocols.
  • Ensuring compliance with the OHS checklist is maintained despite employee attrition and particularly after organisational restructures.
  • Differing standards held by OHS service providers and auditors in South Africa.
  • An increasing number of employee referrals to wellness service providers, particularly related to COVID-19.

Employee wellbeing

(Kia example)

Kia's periodic newsletter ensures continuous communication from the CEO to maintain employee optimism and motivation and providing them with sound financial and health advice.

To help employees manage stress and anxiety Kia, in partnership with Breathwork Africa, provided its employees with access to a virtual 21-day wellness programme, which taught employees how to relax and restore energy and balance through breathing. Three 15-minute sessions were held per day to accommodate most employees.

Kia piloted a hybrid initiative, comprising a combination of on-site healthcare practitioners and enabling employees to take tests at a pharmacy. The wellness screening days at each dealership enabled employees to determine their individual state of health and identify any signals of a potential chronic or underlying disease which could place them at higher risk of developing severe symptoms or complications if they contract COVID-19. The initiative enabled 'at risk' employees to take the necessary precautions to protect their health. Professional nurses tested employees for blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol and body mass index.

Of Kia's 753 employees, 327 (43%) employees took tests, a pleasing result given that many employees were still working remotely at the time.

2021 performance and looking forward


  • We continued to engage with our people on exercising COVID-19 vigilance and following the related protocols as well as encouraging them to get vaccinated when they become eligible.
  • We monitored COVID-19 cases and the general health and emotional wellbeing of the workforce. Looking forward, we will continue to monitor the reports received through the Employee Assistance Programmes to ascertain if any special intervention is required to enhance employee wellbeing.
  • There were no incidents of non-compliance with OHS regulations.

Group business site audits

OHS audit (Group)

526 sites

(F2020: 567)


audit coverage

(F2020: 84%)


average score

(F2020: 90%)

South African
business site audits

99% of 419

business sites audited


(F2020: 91% of audited sites achieved gold status)

Target score: gold status (85% or above compliance with the OHS checklist)

business site audits

87% of 79

business sites audited


achieved the OHS target score (F2020: 81% achieved the target score)

Target score: over 90%

South Africa
  • COVID-19 fatigue was mostly responsible for the Aftermarket Parts branches achieving an initial average compliance rate of 70% with the OHS checklist. Controls have since been tightened and COVID-19 compliance included in the audit process, resulting in a final average compliance score of 88%. The business segment is working with the HR team to find engaging ways to communicate more frequently with employees on OHS procedures and processes. The organisational restructure in Car Rental also impacted OHS compliance levels in branches. This has since been rectified and the division received a pleasing 88% average compliance score.
  • COVID-19 restrictions curtailed conventional in-person audits; therefore, on-site self-audits were conducted with the remote support of the health and safety team. A total of 76 self-audits were completed in this manner during the lockdown period (69 audits were during F2021). Since May 2021, with the lifting of restrictions, compliance inspections and full audits by the health and safety auditor had resumed. Audits cover 17 key OHS areas.
Rest of
  • Dealerships achieved above 86% compliance with their OHS checklist.

Road incidents (Group)

  • Even though we travelled less, we unfortunately experienced an increase in reported road accidents and incidents. Road incidents (damage to property but no injuries or fatalities) increased by 60% to 356. Accidents per million kilometres increased from 0,001 in F2020 to 0,263. Of the 45 road accidents, 29 occurred in South Africa, 14 in the UK and two in the rest of Africa.
  • Road fatalities increased from one last year to five this year (including three of our staff and two third parties). All fatalities resulted from five separate road accidents.

On-site accidents (Group)

  • Recorded 194 on-site incidents (damage to property but no injuries or fatalities) up 5% from F2020, with the international operations recording 105 incidents due more stringent regulatory reporting requirements. 31% of on-site incidents were third-party error.
  • On-site accidents decreased 8%, from 216 in F2020 to 199 (the breakdown shown in the graph alongside). 5% of on-site accidents were third-party error.

Business specific initiatives and highlights

South Africa
  • Improved our management of health and safety by integrating the OHS audit process with the physical risk assessments conducted for insurance purposes. We also updated internal audit's OHS reviews and the OHS-related processes employed by facilities managers.
  • Head office continued to guide a standardised approach to health and safety across our businesses. Sites have been assessed to identify their key risks which will inform customised checklists, and we have started identifying a smaller group of OHS audit service providers capable of meeting our required OHS standards and site-specific risks.
  • Expanded the Employee Assistance Programme to include financial and legal advice. Employees increased their use of the Employee Assistance Programme. A total of 172 cases were managed with mental health issues comprising 78% of cases. The remainder of cases concerned stress, traumatic events and bereavement.
  • Established a working group to explore the efficacy and coverage of the Employee Assistance Programme, and to understand how the programme can be used cost effectively.
  • Assisted a new BMW dealership to improve to a silver OHS status within four months of joining the Group, and is expected to achieve gold status by the next audit.
  • Car Rental developed an online OHS training module for all employees, over and above its safety representatives. Across Retail and Rental, 317 employees received mandatory health and safety training.
  • Aftermarket Parts tested the comprehensiveness of its standard operating procedures for all key processes within warehouses and workshops with new and existing employees to gauge whether they are clear and easily understood. The business segment will expand the IT platform established to share and work on OHS documents remotely during COVID-19, to create OHS repositories for all sites. This will support better operational processes, transparency and co-operation. Aftermarket Parts also plans to establish dedicated resources at provincial level (to be in place by June 2022) to facilitate consistent OHS messaging and project implementation across the business segment.
  • Objective: continuously update OHS checklists in all business segments and create customised programmes based on inherent risk, and conduct random quality assurance checks on high risk areas.
  • Objective: enhance how we measure and track OHS training, especially as people return to the office environment full time. This will commence in F2022.
  • Objective: continue to drive the use of our Employee Assistance Programmes.
  • We are working towards implementing ISO45001 - the revised OHS standard which includes environmental aspects - across all sites.
  • The commercial vehicles division rolled out mental health first aider training to 48 employees with a further 78 managers receiving mental health awareness training (around 12% of the division's workforce). The first aiders act as the first port of call for employees experiencing mental health issues and they direct employees to where they can receive professional support. The remaining divisions trained their mental health first aiders in prior years although refresher training will be provided in F2022.
Rest of
  • The roll out of the Employee Assistance Programme is scheduled for F2022.