1. Home
  2. ...
  3. Building a safer business
  4. Monitoring our safety performance

Monitoring our safety performance

Monitoring our performance closely and publishing the results helps us keep track of our progress and identify areas where we need to increase our efforts.


Monitoring our accident rates

Worker icon

Accidents per million hours worked in 2017

We report safety data from October to September. Our Total Recordable Frequency Rate (TRFR) from 1 October 2016 to 30 September 2017 was 0.89 accidents per million hours worked. This compares to 1.01 accident per million hours for the same period in the previous year.

Our performance meets our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) target of halving our 2008 TRFR of 2.10 – but we still have much to do to maintain this progress, not just to our USLP target date of 2020, but beyond in pursuit of our Vision Zero strategy.

Accident rates (1998 - 2017)


TRFR is one of two occupational safety performance indicators that has been independently assured by PwC in 2017. The other is the number of fatal accidents, which is described below.

We work hard to ensure that everyone working for Unilever – whether employee or contractor – understands the procedures and policies we’ve put in place to prevent fatal accidents, and we share the lessons learned from them across the business.

Fatal accidents (1998-2017)


Monitoring our injury rates

In tandem with tracking accidents, it’s vital we understand the frequency and nature of the injuries these accidents can cause. We introduced our Airsweb reporting system to do just. The system allows us to collect more granular data on our Lost-Time Injuries Frequency Rate (LTIFR) which measures injuries per million hours worked and includes all safety injuries from simple first aid cases to those that are more serious. We measure this for all our direct employees and all our contractors.

While we have collected data on LTIFR for our employees for many years, since 2014 we’ve used Airsweb to help us deliver one of the pillars of our safety programme, namely improved safety for contractors. This has resulted in a 42% reduction in LTIFR for contractors over 2014-2017. See Making our safety vision a reality.

Lost-Time Injuries Frequency Rate (LTIFR) (2014-2017)

Direct employees0.510.590.510.53

Achieving zero injuries

production line icon

Years without a recordable injury in our Phoenix factory, South Africa

Some of our sites are achieving zero recordable injuries on an ongoing basis. For example, our Phoenix aerosol factory in South Africa is rated a Major Hazardous Installation under South African law due to the nature and quantity of the substances it processes, (namely liquid petroleum gas). But from first opening its doors in 1990, it’s had no recordable injuries.

Advances in the way we approach the whole process of establishing new sites has also helped. Our Dubai Beauty & Personal Care factory in the United Arab Emirates was built with a focus on safety excellence at all stages of the project including design, construction, commissioning, installation and operation. Since 2015, the factory has run for more than 3.4 million hours – with no recordable injuries.

Monitoring occupational illnesses

Our World Class Manufacturing and Occupational Health teams work together to make our factories and offices healthy places to work. Our programmes cover the prevention of work-related illness and occupational diseases, ergonomics, environmental health and protection from noise and enzymes.

We track occupational illnesses for our employees under the criteria laid down by the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA). Using Occupational Illness Frequency Rate (OIFR) we measure the number of work-related ill health cases per million hours worked for all our direct employees. In 2017, our OIFR was 0.78 per million hours worked. This result was validated by Health Improvement Solutions, a specialist health consultancy.

We’ve seen an increase of 44% in OIFR since 2014. This has been prompted by two factors. The first is the changes we made to our in-house reporting systems to enable better data collection. The second is an increase in employee awareness and reporting of mental health issues in particular, driven by our communication campaigns and training. See Our employee health programme.

Occupational Illness Frequency Rate (OIFR) (2014-2017)

Direct employees0.540.530.600.78

Independently assured by PwC

Back to top


We're always looking to connect with those who share an interest in a sustainable future.


Get in touch with Unilever PLC and specialist teams in our headquarters, or find contacts around the world.

Contact us