Impact on local communities in Tanzania
Land for the Tanzania LNG project
Equinor together with its partners in Block 2 continue to work with the government of Tanzania to advance the project by developing a legal, fiscal and commercial framework that will enable the LNG project to become a reality.
Following an extensive site selection process in 2013, a site was identified in the Lindi region to host the onshore LNG plant once the final investment decision is made by the investors. TPDC is the license holder for the offshore Block 2 and the land title holder for the selected LNG site.
In May 2020, TPDC, as the company responsible for the acquisition of the LNG site, commenced the compensation process for the affected communities at the LNG site consistent with Tanzanian law.
An independent third-party is closely monitoring TPDC’s compensation and relocation process against the Tanzanian law and the commitments included in the Resettlement Environmental Impact Assessment (REIA).
Throughout the TPDC’s compensation and relocation process, Equinor and its partners maintain dialogue with the relevant authorities. In line with UN guiding principles for business and human rights, Equinor is assessing impacts from this process to define mitigating actions toward the impacted communities.
If an investment decision is ultimately made, this process will be reviewed in the context of international best practice principles.
Toolbox Talks – applying the human rights lens to safety practices
In one of our construction projects we have, together with our external expert Impactt, piloted a way of integrating human rights topics into the Toolbox Talks. Toolbox Talks is a widely used worker engagement programme that encourages foreman-worker dialogue related to the tasks of the day and to highlight any safety concerns in a bid to mitigate potential risks.
Over a period of 8 weeks, various human rights topics were explored with safety in mind focused on motivating workers to stay safe and on reminding the workers of the human factors needed to create safe, respectful workplaces. “One of the biggest challenges in achieving safe workplaces is changing entrenched habits and behaviours”, says Alistair Pyle from Impactt.
“A company’s OHS policies and Toolbox Talks set the expectation, which must also be coupled with addressing fundamental changes in attitudes. In Impactt’s experience, there are simple ways to do this – encouraging people to rethink their relationships with one another, whilst implementing a safety process that identifies and reinforces safe behaviour and reduces unsafe behaviour, resulting in better jobs and safer workplaces,” added Rose Martin of Imapctt.
An assessment of impacts after the completion of the 8-week programme was carried out involving 25 workers and 5 foremen from 4 different nationalities. Findings included a 31% increase in unsafe behaviour reporting, an increase in reported incidents by workers and a 65% decrease in the number of unsafe Hand Injury Prevention (HIP) behaviours observed.
It is more than safety, we talk about how to look out for each other and about our family who are our motivation for being here - to work and to ensure we get home safely to our loved ones” said one of the foremen from the interviews.
A worker commented; “I can bring my whole self to the yard, I don’t feel like I have to leave myself and my worries at the gate”.
We are now exploring how we can leverage the learning from this pilot across Equinor.
Positive learnings from remote worker engagement during Covid-19
The pandemic limited our access to construction sites. Together with our external partner Impactt, we explored new ways of conducting onsite assessments and worker interviews remotely. A new protocol was developed and, we have found they’ve been effective.
The situation for many migrant workers has become increasingly challenging due to the pandemic. This is true for workers in many of the large dormitories in South East Asia.
Giving workers a voice during the pandemic lockdown has given them a forum to express their worries and concerns. The workers were able to set the time and place for contact to take place which meant a limited risk of interference which in turn built the required trust for workers to feel safe and speak more freely. As one worker commented, “I feel tense as 3 of my room mates tested positive for COVID 19 and the government is delaying the rollout of tests for us. We are unsure whether any more people in my room are infected, even me!”
These direct conversations with workers have allowed us to keep the momentum on important ongoing assurance work and to keep risks on our radar. We have focused on understanding the workers’ well-being in dormitories during lockdown and on improving accommodation conditions.
In addition, a survey relating to workers’ well-being and living conditions was conducted across 13 dormitories at one of our construction sites. The survey was done remotely through direct engagement with the workers during 30-45-minute phone calls. 394 workers responded to questions regarding physical and mental health, living accommodation in dormitories, communication channels, and salary payment.
In collaboration with our external partners we will continue to leverage digital tools in assessments and follow up of the conditions for workers in our supply chain.