Barn work safety improvements

Our tobacco growing operations are subject to regular and comprehensive safety reviews.

We’ve taken swift actions to address safety after an audit in Madagascar highlighted a significant risk of falling from height in tobacco barns.

The barns are used for storing large amounts of harvested tobacco leaves, and can be as much as six metres in height.

The audit identified a lack of protection against falls, poorly maintained buildings, and the absence of an adequate working procedure.

Risks being taken by farmers working at height in such environments were exacerbated by a lack of natural or artificial light.

Once the risks were identified, we took immediate action to improve working practices during the loading and discharging of tobacco barns.

A maintenance programme was put in place, and training provided to farmers on working at height. Solar lighting units were also purchased and installed and hoist systems put in place to significantly reduce the need to work at height.

The poor infrastructure of the barns is also being addressed with a longer-term project to vastly improve their design.

Access ladders and platforms with hand rails have been installed and many of the buildings are being reduced in height by one metre and widened in order to preserve their capacity.