Four contract workers killed in accident at Heineken Brazil

Four contract workers at the Heineken plant in Sao Paulo, Brazil were killed and another injured when a boiler under repair exploded on January 28. Despite the fact that work at the plant resumed eight days after the accident, the IUF-affiliated National Confederation of Food and Allied Workers (CNTA) is still waiting to receive the company-commissioned report and the reports from the Ministry of Labor, the fire and police departments.

In 2014, Heineken reported 15 workplace fatalities - four company employees and 11 contract workers. This number and the recent fatal explosion in Brazil show that contract workers are exposed to higher risks of fatal accidents than permanent workers.

Heineken reports that only starting from 2013, the company began auditing the collection of accident data from areas outside production and found that the process for collecting and reporting accidents and incidents was not as robust and embedded as within the production environment. Heineken published the Company-wide data for the first time in 2013, knowing it was under-reported but to show that more accidents happen outside of production than inside.

During the course of 2014, the company completed the global roll-out of a dedicated Accident Reporting & Investigation Software system (ARISO). As this process was not fully in place at the start of 2014, the company admits that there could still be under-reporting outside of production for full-year data. The difference between the number of accidents for company employees which is 1297 and accidents of the contractors which is only 159 confirms the under reporting outside of production.

Heineken should take actions for improving health and safety standards and reducing the risks of accidents particularly for more vulnerable groups such as contractors. Heineken should also recognize that indirect employment relationships heighten the human rights risks including accidents.