Health and safety
Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of our people.
Providing the safest possible working environment is one of our highest priorities and aligns with international expectations. Occupational health and safety (OH&S) has also been identified by the World Health Organization as one of the basic elements of sustainable development. Protecting labor rights and promoting a safe and secure working environment for all workers is also included as a target for Goal 8 of the SDGs.
New fatality prevention commitments developed and implemented
Reduction in lost time injuries.
Total reportable injury frequency rate1
Planned senior Safety Leadership Interactions 103% of target
Lost time injury frequency rate2
Effective safety management doesn’t happen behind a desk. It takes time and effort on the ground to engage sincerely with the workforce. That is why I spend time each day walking around my sites, observing processes and talking to our people about safe practices.
— Paul Wilmot, General Manager Carlin Process
Mines are dynamic and complex working environments where heavy vehicles and equipment are in continuous use to move significant quantities of material, and potentially hazardous chemicals are used to extract minerals from ore. Put simply, mining and refining operations are high-risk working environments where failure to implement robust safety standards and procedures can result in damage to equipment, serious injury to people and even loss of life.
Safety is our first consideration in everything we do. We are committed to protecting all our employees, contractors and site visitors, to building a strong safety culture based on both individual and shared responsibility, and to drive continual improvement in our safety performance.
Our aim is to eliminate fatalities and life-altering injuries from our operations, and to continuously reduce potential injury and health hazards at our sites. We have captured our commitment to safety through specific actions in our Occupational Health & Safety policy, as follows:
- Meeting or exceeding all applicable regulatory requirements in our host countries and in the absence of appropriate legislation, using industry best practices and standards
- Establishing and maintaining OH&S management systems that facilitate a structured approach to mitigate safety and health risks at all our managed sites
- Providing the leadershiwp and resources required for an effective and sustainable OH&S management system
- Providing the leadership and resources required for an effective and sustainable OH&S management system
- Promoting a safety culture that encourages people to proactively manage health and safety risks through education, instruction, information and supervision, thereby preventing injuries and illnesses
Every mine has its own site-specific safety procedures, management plans and systems in place, in line with our Health & Safety Management Standard and international best practice. Through these systems we work to identify, understand, monitor and implement the safety controls appropriate to the risks present. Our goal is for the safety management systems at all operational mines to be certified to the internationally recognized ISO 45001 standard by the end of 2021.
Implementing Our Fatality Prevention Commitments
Our Fatality Prevention Commitments are the bedrock of our approach to safety management. They provide a set of guidelines which can be applied at every site to help reduce and eliminate the risk of fatalities and serious injuries at our operations. However, we know that when it comes to safety, a written commitment is only the first part of the job. To be effective these commitments must be known and understood by all our workers. To help workers understand why we have safety rules, and ‘their stop unsafe work authority’ we also developed a fatality prevention program. A key part of the program focuses on communicating the fatal risk procedures to all our employees. Our communications program includes:
- Displaying signage and posters to communicate our safety commitments
- Embedding the safety commitments into onboarding and operational training content and performing field observations to verify understanding and application
- On a monthly basis, focusing on different safety risk communications before a shift starts as well as toolbox talks
- Issuing colour coded cards to all workers summarizing our safety commitments and unacceptable behaviors
We measure our safety performance by tracking a combination of leading and lagging indicators. Leading safety indicators include Safety Leadership Interactions, which promote discussion of workplace health and safety between senior management and the workforce. On average across the group, we completed 103% of planned Safety Leadership Interactions for the year.
We also track the number of High Potential Incidents (HPIs) reported at each site to make sure management is effectively managing near miss incidents that have a higher potential for losses. Root Cause Analysis is completed for all HPIs to identify potential causes and controls, and the lessons learned from these incidents are shared globally. As lagging indicators, we track Lost Time Injuries and Total Recordable Injuries and report on the respective frequency rates at a mine site and group level. This helps us to understand the severity and frequency of any injuries that occur at our operations, to recognize trends, and to take action to focus our safety management efforts.
In 2019, although we operated with zero fatalities at our operations, our Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) increased by 5%, from 2.12 to 2.24, year on year. Our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) increased by 7%, from 0.46 to 0.50. In analyzing the incidents and frequencies, the combination of assets into Nevada Gold Mines in the North America region did impact our performance, and specific action is being implemented at the Nevada joint venture to improve its safety performance. The Africa and Middle East region improved year on year in both LTIFR and TRIFR.