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People's health and safety

Personal health and safety challenges


Total places safety at the heart of its ambition to be a responsible company. The measures and indicators used to manage the Group’s activities are based on this fundamental value, in accordance with the strictest standards, particularly relating to health.

Given the specific nature of its activities, the Group’s operations give rise to occupational health and safety risks for its employees and the personnel of external contractors. In addition, some of the products marketed by Total pose potential risks to the health and safety of consumers. The Group therefore aims to meet its obligations with regards to information and prevention in order to minimize the risks throughout the life cycle of its products.

The Group has therefore identified its main personal health and safety challenges:
  • preventing occupational accidents;
  • preventing occupational health risks through improved assessment;
  • minimizing the risks throughout the life cycle of products to prevent consumer health and safety risks.

To address its challenges, Total relies on the HSE division, which forms part of the People & Social Responsibility division, whose President is a member of the Executive Committee.



In line with the multiple situations encountered in the field, the HSE division coordinates the promotion and implementation of new policies to support the various HSE departments of the Group’s entities and subsidiaries to enable them to prevent or mitigate risks. Indicators are monitored so that the Group’s actions in relation to personal health and safety can be continuously adapted.

Total conducts its operations on the basis of its Safety Health Environment Quality Charter. It forms the common foundation for the Group’s management frameworks, and sets out the basic principles applicable to safety, security, health, the environment, quality and societal commitment. This Charter is implemented at several levels within the Group through its management systems. Group directives and rules define the minimum requirements expected in these areas. General specifications, guides and manuals are the documents used to implement these directives and rules. The Group’s framework is available to all employees.

Since 2013, the Group’s business segments have increased their efforts regarding the frameworks of the HSE management systems in order to provide greater overall Group-wide consistency, while at the same time respecting the businesses’ specific characteristics. The One MAESTRO (Management and Expectations Standards Toward Robust Operations) reference framework, which focuses on HSE issues and is common to all of the business segments, has been gradually rolled out since 2018. This reference framework stipulates that HSE audits must be carried out every three to five years on all assets, activities and sites operated by the Group’s entities and subsidiaries(1), which must also perform a self-assessment at least every two years. The Group’s HSE audit protocol is based on this framework and contains all of the requirements of ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018. The audit protocol is applied in full during self-assessments and according to a risk-based approach during audits.

The Group’s entities and subsidiaries holding an interest in non-operated assets endeavor to promote the Group HSE requirements and best practices and to adopt similar requirements by the operator. This promotion process can be exercised during board meetings, technical assistance contracts or through audits when they are part of the shareholders’ agreements.

(1) Excluding Hutchinson and SunPower, which have their own reference frameworks. Hutchinson also has its own audit protocol.

Preventing occupational accidents


The Group’s personal safety policy covers three main areas: preventing occupational accidents, preventing transport accidents, and preventing accidents linked to technological risks, such as fires and explosions. It relates to all employees of Group subsidiaries, employees of external contractors working on these entities’ sites as well as employees of transport companies under long-term contracts. The safety results are monitored with the same vigilance for all.

Indicators defined according to an internal procedure measure the main results. In addition to its aim of zero fatalities in the exercise of its activities, the Group has set the target of continuously reducing the TRIR(2) and, for 2018, of keeping it below 0.9 for all personnel (Group and External Contractors).

The Group’s safety efforts over more than 10 years have resulted in a significant improvement in the TRIR and LTIR(3). Performance has stabilized since 2016, mainly due to acquisitions and disposals of assets or subsidiaries. The gradual implementation of the One MAESTRO framework aims to strengthen the Group’s safety culture and create a new drive to improve safety results. Despite the measures put in place, in 2018 three accidents resulted in the death of four employees working for external contractors: one during road transport in Ethiopia, one during a handling operation in the Republic of the Congo, and two during an operation to recommission a fuel storage tank in Egypt.


Generally, an analysis is launched in response to any type of accident whatsoever. The method and scope of the analysis depend on the actual or potential severity of the event. Consequently, a near miss with a high severity potential is treated as a severe accident, and its analysis is considered an essential factor of progress. Depending on its relevance to the other Group entities, it triggers a safety alert and the distribution of a feedback form, depending on the circumstances.

Regarding occupational safety, since 2010, the basic rules to be scrupulously followed by all personnel, employees and contractors alike, in all of the Group’s businesses worldwide, are described in the document “Safety at Work: TOTAL’s Twelve Golden Rules”, which has been widely circulated within the Group.

The aim of the Golden Rules is to set out simple, easy-to-remember rules that cover a large number of occupational accidents. In addition, further rules can be found in the One MAESTRO HSE framework, the business segment frameworks and the subsidiary frameworks.

According to the Group’s internal statistics, in more than 44% of severe incidents or near misses with high severity potential in the workplace, at least one of the Golden Rules had not been followed. The proper application of these Golden Rules, and more generally of all occupational safety procedures, is verified through site visits and internal audits. The Stop Card system, which was set up in 2015, also enables any employee of the Group or an external contractor to intervene if any of the Golden Rules is not being followed. In addition, in 2016, the HSE department created a unit bringing together the reference persons on high-risk operations (work at height, lifting, high-pressure cleaning, excavations, etc.) in order to consolidate in-house knowledge and relations with contractors.

The reporting of anomalies and near misses (approximately 600,000 per year) is strongly encouraged on a daily basis and is permanently monitored. The ability of each employee to identify anomalies or dangerous situations is one of the measures of the employees’ involvement and vigilance in accident prevention and reflects the safety culture within the Group. In 2016, the Group HSE Department also created a unit aimed at providing support for sites to improve their safety culture upon their request.

Regarding road transport, for many years the Group has been monitoring the number of severe road accidents involving its employees and those of external contractors. The actions taken have reduced the number of severe accidents between 2016 and 2018 by 33%. Work began in new areas in 2018, particularly relating to the use of new technologies in accident prevention (defining a new standard for the light vehicles used, driver fatigue detection) and the assessment of the driver support and assistance systems offered by manufacturers (automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane change assist, etc.).


With regard to air transport, a carrier selection process exists to limit the risks relating to travel by Group and external contractor’s employees, if their journey is organized by the Group. This process is based on data provided by recognized international bodies: the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA), the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP), and civil aviation authority recommendations. Airlines that do not have a rating from an international body are assessed by an independent body commissioned by the Group.

With regard to technological risks (also known as “major” industrial risks), the risk analysis and prevention actions are described in the “Environment – Preventing incident risks” section.

Whatever the nature of the accident, prevention actions rely on all employees abiding by the Group’s safety policies. These are disseminated through training courses aimed at the various groups of employees (new arrivals, managers, senior executives, etc.), including:

  • Safety Pass: These safety induction courses were started on January 1st, 2018, for new arrivals at the Group. Various courses exist depending on the position held, and cover the Company’s major risks, the risks linked to the activities on site as well as those linked to the workplace. The theoretical content is supplemented by practical “life-saving” training sessions;
  • HSE for Managers aimed at operational or functional managers who are currently or will in the future be responsible within one of the Group’s entities. Sessions are offered on all of the continents where Total operates. Seven sessions were held in 2018 with 305 managers participating;
  • HSE Leadership for Group Senior Executives focused on safety leadership. Its objective is to give senior executives the tools to communicate and develop a safety culture within their organization. This course is currently being updated, and a pilot session in the new format will be held in early 2019. The target is for all senior executives to have taken the new module within three years.

As Total’s core value, Safety has been a component of the Group’s employee compensation policy since 2011. A portion of the variable compensation received by employees, as well as by senior executives and the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, depends on the achievement of HSE targets (refer to point 4.3.2 of the 2018 Registration Document and to the “Employment and social inclusion” section.). 

With regard to security, the Group has put in place means to analyze threats and assess risks in order to take preventive measures to limit its exposure to security risks in the countries where it operates.

(2) TRIR: Total Recordable Injury Rate.
(3) LTIR: Lost Time Injury Rate.

Preventing occupational health risks through improved assessment


With regard to prevention of occupational health risks, the Group implements a policy that defines the risk assessment methodology to be applied by all Group entities and subsidiaries. The associated Group directive stipulates that the assessment includes chemical, physical, biological, ergonomic and psychosocial risks, and that it must result in the design and roll- out of an action plan. In addition, it requires that each Group entity sets out a formal medical monitoring procedure taking into account the requirements under local law (frequency, type of examination, etc.) and the level of exposure of its personnel to the various risks.

To complement this program, the Group has set up an employee health observatory. The aim is to monitor the health of a sample of employees in order to identify the emergence of certain illnesses and, if applicable, suggest appropriate preventive measures. The data is gathered anonymously during medical examinations and covers approximately 12% of Group employees worldwide.

The Group also has a Medical Advisory Committee that meets regularly to discuss key health issues relating to the Group’s activities. It decides whether there is a need for additional health protection strategies to be implemented. It consists of external scientific experts and also brings together the Group’s senior executives and stakeholders concerned by these issues.

In terms of prevention, the Group has decided to make psychosocial risk prevention a priority commitment. In 2018, the Group identified four areas of progress worldwide:

  • a minimum level of awareness and training for all;
  • a system for measuring stress and the quality of the social climate, facilitating the production of action plans;
  • a system for listening to and supporting employees in difficult situations;
  • coordination of actions and monitoring of indicators.

A Quality of Life at Work and Health working group was set up in September 2018 to coordinate and ensure the effectiveness of all of the actions taken. Led by the Group Human Resources division, all of Total’s business segments are represented, particularly the international medical department. Its first task is to create and roll out a Worldwide Psychosocial Risk (PSR) Prevention program that addresses the four areas for progress.

Regarding the priority commitment to training, a fully updated PSR pack aimed at entity managers, prevention contributors and managers was finalized in 2018. Approved by international experts, it has now been translated into 11 languages and is the core material for training on this subject. The pack consists of two guides: a methodological guide for entity managers and anyone with a role in PSR prevention, and a practical guide for managers to raise awareness of the importance of the quality of life at work as a key factor in preventing PSRs. It also aims to support them in the day-to-day management of their teams in the event of difficulties, risky situations and crisis situations.

On a broader level, Total is helping to promote individual and collective health programs in the countries where it operates, including vaccination campaigns and screening programs for certain diseases (AIDS, cancer, malaria, etc.) for employees, their families and local communities. Action is also taken regularly to raise awareness of lifestyle risks (anti-smoking and anti-drinking campaigns, etc.).

The Group has put in place the following indicators to monitor the performance of its program:

Health indicators (WHRS scope) 2018 2017 2016
Percentage of employees with specific occupational risks benefiting from regular medical monitoring(a) 98% 98% 99%
Number of occupational illnesses recorded in the year (in accordance with local regulations) 154 143 108

(a) As an exception to the reporting principles described in the “Reporting scopes and methodology” section, the 2018 rate does not include a company that did not report its data in time for the 2018 World Human Resources Survey. 

Reporting on occupational illnesses covers only the Group’s personnel (WHRS scope) and illnesses reported according to the regulations applicable in the country of operation of each entity.

Musculoskeletal disorders, the main cause of occupational illnesses in the Group, represented 69% of all recorded illnesses in 2018, against 68% in 2017. Therefore, in addition to ergonomic risk assessments and the gradual training of personnel on its sites, the annual Group Industrial Hygiene Day in December 2017 was on the theme of Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal disorders.

The annual Group Industrial Hygiene day held in September 2018 was dedicated to asbestos and refractory ceramic fibers.

Minimizing the risks throughout the life cycle of products to prevent consumer health and safety risks


Unless certain precautions are taken, some of the products marketed by Total pose potential consumer health and safety risks; the Group therefore aims to meet its obligations with regard to information and prevention in order to minimize the risks throughout its products’ life cycle.

Total’s health and products directive sets out the minimum requirements to be observed by the Group’s entities and subsidiaries for marketing the Group’s products worldwide in order to reduce potential risks to consumer health and the environment. Total identifies and assesses the risks inherent to its products and their use. The material safety data sheets (MSDS) that accompany the products marketed by the Group (in at least one of the languages used in the country) as well as product labels are two key sources of information. All new products comply with the regulatory requirements in the countries and markets for which they are intended.

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Safety, Health, Environment, Quality Charter

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Total’s Twelve Golden Rules

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