Health and safety

Health and safety

Keeping our people safe and well

There are hazards associated with the mining industry that can result in accidents and ill health. We are determined to create an environment which is fatality-free, where everyone goes home safe and well after every day and every shift. Nothing less is acceptable to us, and our stakeholders.

Our approach to safety and health focuses on eliminating fatalities and incidents that could cause disability, reducing injuries and occupational illness, and preventing catastrophic events.

 

Working safely Working safely

Sharing learning across the group

In 2014, we reviewed our safety strategy to ensure it included the right balance across the priority areas. This led to the launch of our fatality prevention programme: critical risk management, or CRM.

CRM works by making sure that before starting a task, every person fully understands the risks and takes the right actions to make sure they are protected. In practice, this means checking fatality critical controls are implemented and working before the job starts.

CRM allows learning and trends to be shared quickly across the Group. In two years, it has gone from being piloted in a handful of locations to being implemented at all of our sites worldwide. We have also now broadened the scope of CRM to include three critical health fatality risks – thermal extremes, chronic hazardous substances and malaria – to prevent harmful health exposures to our workforce.

Several of our sites are using innovative technologies to improve safety performance. We are now able to virtually immerse our new starters in the Oyu Tolgoi underground mine from the comfort of a chair and headset on the mine surface. Or we can load an app on our phone, slot it into a viewing device and find ourselves in Namibia conducting a hazard hunt for falling objects. The use of technology is creating an exciting and effective way to learn from incidents and pass on key safety messages.

35%

improvement

in all injury frequency rate, 2013-2017

Improving, but more to do

Despite our efforts, our operations aren't yet fatality-free – but we're working hard to make this happen. Our safety performance metrics show that we are improving. Our all injury frequency rate improved by 35 per cent between 2013 and 2017 – evidence of the consistent improvement in leadership, culture, systems and processes. CRM has built on that earlier work and helped us become better at understanding and mitigating critical risks. We are also focused on the mental health and wellbeing of our people, recognising that safety goes beyond the physical.

Our people's safety will always be our top priority. A commitment to health and safety is the foundation of the way we operate, and at the heart of our corporate culture. And although our safety performance puts us among the leaders in our industry, we can do better. Benchmarking against our peers and other sectors, such as construction, is valuable. Continuing to gain new insights from leaders in our own and other sectors will drive improvements to make everyone working at Rio Tinto safer.