Investors propose new take on health and safety reporting

New research aims to close the gap on health and safety reporting in the ASX200. The report by the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) and EY analysed Australia’s largest companies and found that there are significant gaps in the information reported to investors.
Key findings from the research include:

  • 34% of ASX200 companies did not disclose any health and safety information
  • Information on fatalities was often difficult for investors to find, with no requirement to report fatalities publicly or in a consistent way
  • Contractors made up 16 of the 23 reported workplace fatalities in 2018, however, contractors are not always included in public reporting
  • Reporting on severity of incidents was limited, with only 14 companies reporting a severity indicator.
  • Company remuneration reports often failed to adequately explain the link between safety performance and executive pay

ACSI CEO Louise Davidson said, “For many years investors have recognized the link between health and safety performance and the quality of a company’s management, operational performance and culture.”

To address the gap in current reporting standards, the research proposes a new framework for better public reporting on health and safety.

“Safety performance is a major focus for boards and investors, but it is currently very difficult to assess. Our new framework for health and safety reporting will help companies to meaningfully report on these issues.”

Davidson said that one of the current challenges was the use of reporting metrics that ignore the severity of incidents including whether they are life threatening.

“Disclosures often provide very little information on the severity of incidents, leaving investors in the dark about where systemic health and safety risks might exist.”

“There is not a one-size-fits-all fix for health and safety performance. We will use this framework to work with companies to provide more meaningful and targeted health and safety reporting.” She said.

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