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The TITAN Group safety performance seriously deteriorated in 2008. With deep regret we report the occurrence of five fatalities, all of them in Greece.

Three of these fatalities involved contractor employees and were related to our cement activities. One of the fatalities involved a company employee and occurred at our quarrying operations in a “lone-working” job and one fatality was the result of a road accident involving a third party. All accidents were fully investigated, lessons learned and corrective actions taken to prevent re-occurrence.

We consider that all our procedures need to and can be improved. Although delegation of authority is needed, it must never result in the shedding of one’s own responsibilities.

Introducing policies and issuing instructions are also necessary, but meaningful monitoring and systematic reporting are just as important. And improvement possibilities are never exhausted.

Currently our severest challenge concerns contractors’ personnel. Hundreds of public drivers who are out of reach most of the time, of service suppliers who are with us part-time, of rented-machine operators who alternate on the job (all are now given awareness) and safety-training, but not yet as effectively as it should be. Clearly we need to persevere and insist on changing attitudes in accident prevention.

Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) for 2008 for our own staff in all Group activities also increased to 3.42 in 2008, compared to 3.15 in 2007. At the same time it is encouraging to note that the Group Severity Rate, the number of Lost Working Days per million hours, showed a 43% reduction in 2008, from 178 days in 2007 to 101. Moreover, a total of 4 million hours with zero lost time injuries were completed in our two major construction projects in Albania and Egypt.

Safety performance, however, varies significantly across the regions where we operate, proving that local cultures, traditions and attitudes play a significant role in meeting Group targets and objectives on all critical issues. Egypt and USA had the best class safety performance in 2008, with a LTIFR of 0.64 and 1.97 respectively, whereas, LTIFR of our operations in South Eastern Europe ranged from 3.32 to 9.83.
An increase in fatalities in comparison with 2007 regretfully is also reported by the 18 Cement Sustainability Initiative members. Analysis confirms that contractor fatalities are one of the key areas that urgently need to be addressed. At its last meeting hosted in Athens (October 2008) the WBCSD/CSI Safety Task Force adopted as a first priority the issuing of new guidelines with best practice examples related to contractors’ crew safety management and road safety.

Occupational health and safety training covered all hierarchical levels in 2008, amounting to a total of 58,406 training manhours or 10.17 training man hours per employee, compared to 42,724 hours or 7.1 hours per employee in 2007. Training hours for contractors’ personnel was over 30,000 manhours at Group level, in 2008.

The human factor is unpredictable and permanent alertness is a status that we need to reach for preventing and minimising risks at work. We are working in a global environment and only global standards are acceptable. For this reason we have increased our efforts to train and create a “leading-by-example” system in applying Group health and safety standards. We are fully aware that this is a very demanding challenge but we are confident that we will be able to meet it successfully.

The Group Health and Safety Council chaired by the TITAN Group Managing Director meets quarterly to co-ordinate operations and ensure that the Group policy and the strategic framework on OH&S are properly and fully implemented.

In addition, all top managers are engaged in an extensive safety leadership and management training program delivered by world class safety experts. The program already underway in Greece is expected to cover all Group activities in Eastern Europe by 2010.

Although our safety performance compared with the WBCSD/CSI regressed in 2008 , we are still targeting our performance to be among CSI’s top quartile by the end of 2010.