Our attention in 2021 remained on ensuring that our people were both healthy and safe, enabling us to operate a well-functioning company that contributes to a society affected by the pandemic.
Our response to the pandemic involved continuing to ensure that a wide range of health and safety measures were in place to protect people against infection from Covid-19. The measures that had the greatest impact on PostNL included social distancing, limiting the number of workers in a facility, home working, and communication to help keep people aware of developments.
Internal analysis indicates that the impact of Covid-19 cases on PostNL employees is, in general, lower than that across the Netherlands. We are satisfied with our response to the effects of the pandemic, although the adjustments we have had to make to our processes has lead to challenges in service-quality levels across the organisation.
Year ended at 31 December
Absenteeism (share of total working days)
In 2021 we continued to work on ways to prevent absenteeism across the company. This included the introduction of a video to give managers practical tools to help them hold productive discussions with employees, for example before absenteeism becomes an issue. During the year around 40% of the target group made use of the video, applying what they learned in practice. This resulted in a 4% decline in sick-leave notifications compared to 2020, which is 300 fewer days absence or a cost-saving of €0.1 million.
Year ended at 31 December
Recordable accidents (per 100 FTE)
The occupational safety of our people also remains one of our priorities. Our certified ISO:45001 management system helps us with the structured management of the health and safety of people working with or for us. This includes identifying and following up on areas for improvement. We deem the number of recordable accidents as being relatively low, compared to the exposure our large workforce has on a daily basis.
However, it is with regret that we have to report 2 occupational fatal accidents in 2021 (2020: 1). Both fatalities involved accidents with transport vehicles. These events are tragic and we remain determined to prevent fatalities, for example through initiatives that raise awareness of health and safety across the organisation, specifically targeting high-risk areas. Our recordable accident ratio in terms of the number of accidents per full-time equivalent increased to 4.7 in 2021. The period of cold and snowy weather at the beginning of 2021 led to a substantial increase in the number of accidents in our operations, despite the additional safety measures we introduce at such times.
We are in the process of replacing all our two-wheel petrol scooters, which we use on 1,000 routes across the Netherlands, with e-scooters. In 2021 we had over 500 three-wheel e-scooters and over 200 e-scooters in operation. E-scooters are more sustainable, and the three-wheel versions are also safer. In 2021 our deliverers had notably fewer accidents on three-wheel e-scooters compared to the traditional two-wheel scooter, and we expect this figure to drop further as we make the transition to three-wheel e-scooters. We also started a pilot programme aimed at awareness for, training of, and engagement with our drivers to improve driving skills and road safety. The programme is also designed to improve employee engagement and reduce the amount of damage to both our and third-party assets.