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Harvesting Excellence - Investing in Safety in Ypióca

Case study

A programme aimed at improving safety in one of our newest businesses has reaped rapid rewards.

When Diageo acquired the Ypióca group in 2012, we took on some of Brazil's best-known brands - and a business that employed more than 1,000 people in operations including agriculture, distillation, and packaging. But the safety of employees is always our first priority, and when we saw that the accident rate among our new Ypióca employees did not meet the standards we expect across our business, we applied the principles of our Zero Harm philosophy to Brazil.

Our local team identified two operations in particular that were suffering lost-time accidents (LTAs) - cane harvest, and the handling of returnable glass. Our 'Harvest Excellence' programme began by providing pre-harvest safety training, introducing personal protective equipment for cane cutters, and improving the conditions of the harvest to eliminate injuries from machetes. Effective traffic management and vehicle segregation, and the creation of a fire brigade and a pesticide management programme, also helped reduce LTAs.

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We also reviewed the way glass was handled throughout our supply chain. 'Our objective was to engage the entire team with the company's standards in occupational safety, and the result was a change in the behaviour of everyone,' said Daniel Sandrini, Director of Technical Operations.

Introducing our safety culture to Ypióca has had rapid results - LTAs fell by more than 60% in 2014 compared to 2013, and our efforts will continue.