Significant progress in occupational health and safety across our industry has been made in recent years, but more needs to be done to ensure work can be completed without injury or illness. This document provides an articulation of the collective discussions that have been taking place at ICMM on the lessons learned on why the industry continues to have fatalities across three, interlinking categories: cultural, organisational and engineering/controls.
Eight lessons learned
- Set the tone at the top and demand that all levels of leadership from the Board to a supervisor champion the tone through their actions. Fatalities in our industry are still a painful reality; therefore, setting the tone for a progressive health and safety culture is vital. Never underestimate this.
- Note the zero harm versus zero fatalities debate. It is important that total recordable injury frequency rates (TRIFR) do not become a distraction to fatality prevention.
- Get change management processes right and be steadfast in how they are applied. This is particularly important during times of turnover, downturn or divestment at the management level.
- Get better at learning from our mistakes – internally and with others. More targeted benchmarking is required. Go beyond the simple act of sharing and improve active learning.
- Increase the sharing of results of member piloting of technology and encourage more rapid uptake of technological applications.
- Continue to support critical control risk management as a positive game changer for health and safety in the industry. The same approach should be considered for technological solutions. A balanced, holistic approach is needed.
- Be prepared to see radical changes in our current mining processes in some contexts. For example, a large portion of fatalities are in South Africa from fall of ground incidents. We may need to explore better methods to move people out of the line of fire.
- Raise occupational health and occupational disease as a prominent issue. We must drive exposure to key substances (DPM, silica, coal dust) to as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP).