Highlights

CRM involves every person checking fatality critical controls are implemented and working

In less than two years, CRM has progressed from a small number of pilots to every site in the Group

CRM allows trends and learnings to be shared quickly across the Group

If the critical controls aren’t there, the job doesn’t start.

Rio Tinto continues to reduce injury rates, but the death in 2016 of a colleague during maintenance of a drill rig at our Paraburdoo mine in Australia is a tragic reminder of the risks faced every day in mining environments.

To strengthen our approach to fatality elimination, during 2016 we continued to implement critical risk management (CRM) at every operational site.

CRM takes a layered approach to the verification of fatality critical controls. While operators and maintainers, line leaders and managers have slightly different roles, ultimately every person plays a part in checking controls are implemented and working as designed. If gaps are identified, the job is stopped until it’s fixed and safe to continue. CRM verifications are completed at the job site. If the critical controls aren’t there, the job doesn’t start.


Keeping our people safe Keeping our people safe
Employees reviewing CRM checklist at Dampier port operations, Western Australia

Improving critical controls every day

During 2016, leaders checked critical controls on 1.3 million occasions across the business – resulting in safer work conditions.

One example of how verifications are improving work practices comes from the Cape Lambert iron ore port in Western Australia. While checking the controls on a mobile work platform, a supervisor found a cover was missing from the equipment’s control panel. It meant the controls could have been inadvertently operated by someone leaning on them – a known fatality risk. The equipment was taken out of service, and pre-hire inspection checks were reviewed to ensure the covers are checked before the equipment is accepted on site in the future. Importantly, this issue was shared and then identified at another site. In this way, CRM is helping us rapidly replicate solutions to common problems – improving safety risk management across the business more effectively than ever before.

Each time a critical control is found to be missing or ineffective, it is fixed, with the verifications recorded in a central database. This enables Group-wide trends and learnings to be shared quickly, and for improvements to be driven by facts. On more than 110,000 occasions, verification by an employee has led to a critical control being improved.

2016 CRM achievements 2016 CRM achievements

Effective deployment

CRM is being implemented at every Rio Tinto site at the same time, following the same design and implementation process. In less than two years, CRM has progressed from a small number of pilots to every site in the Group checking fatality critical controls every day.

Collaboration, sharing and learning are central features. CRM has provided everyone with clear accountabilities and expectations in relation to fatality elimination. It has made work planning and execution more efficient, as the structure of checking controls is reinforced every time a task with a fatality risk is completed. Dedicated resources in every part of the business have helped with problem-solving, and the rapid sharing of good practice has helped progress towards full implementation.

Our teams’ new mindset – of finding and fixing controls – has been as important to CRM’s success as its standardised approach. By having the whole business committed to CRM, and the strong safety systems, processes and tools that underpin it, we will improve even further.

 

Focused on learning

Focused on learning

Our goal is to be fatality free with no repeat potential fatal incidents (PFIs). To do this, we are focused on learning from our safety incidents and making lasting changes to keep us safe.

Our goal is to be fatality free with no repeat potential fatal incidents (PFIs). To do this, we are focused on learning from our safety incidents and making lasting changes to keep us safe.

In 2016 we introduced the Learning critical lessons process to support fatality elimination at Rio Tinto.

Just as we take learnings from fatalities, Learning critical lessons applies the same process to occasions where a fatality may have been narrowly avoided. It’s helping us address some of our highest risk areas. Talking and thinking about the critical controls that failed or were missing can help make our work safer and prevent repeat incidents.

Learning critical lessons works hand-in-hand with critical risk management (CRM) to address our most serious and common safety risks and is an important part of the Rio Tinto Safety strategy.

The CRM verification questions are updated with learnings from fatalities and PFIs.

This takes what we’ve learned from an incident and makes it available through the CRM verification questions – making work safer.

Continuing to deliver

In 2017, we will continue to deploy CRM to ensure critical controls have been checked before every task with a fatality risk is completed. We will simplify our in-field safety tools further to improve efficiency, standardise other safety tools and processes and improve the way we’re using our verification data, so we are focusing our efforts on the right areas.