He said in the company's annual report that the company had re-examined its values and culture and appointed former Australian coal boss Peter Freyberg to drive change in the organisation.
"During 2019, we have reassessed our culture and the values that define it, ensuring they are as relevant as possible and appropriately provide the correct tone in which the company engages to fulfil its purpose and deliver on its strategy for the benefit of all stakeholders," Hayward said.
"It is clear that in certain areas we need to do better.
"In safety our statistics do not bear comparison with our peers. Although we mine in more difficult locations and have a far larger workforce, our total number of fatalities for the year of 17 is simply unacceptable."
Hayward said what was most frustrating was that a majority of Glencore's fatalities continue to come as a result of human carelessness.
"It is our job as leaders of this business to reverse this lack of discipline and thoughtfulness and to embed strong rules and behaviours," he said.
Glencore appointed Freyberg to the position of head of industrial assets in 2019, supported by a newly-created central team.
"His team is assisting in the drive for strengthened operational risk and safety performance across our various operations," Hayward said.
"I am confident that their rigour and experience will result in an improved overall performance."