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A safety-first mindset for zero fatalities

17 September 2019

London, UK – Today, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) released the paper 'Preventing Fatalities: Eight lessons learned'. 

ICMM and its members are committed to strengthening health and safety performance and reducing operational fatalities to zero. The report provides an articulation of the collective discussions that have been taking place at ICMM on why the industry continues to have fatalities.

The report provides insight into eight keys lessons that continue to require increased attention if the mining and metals industry is to reach zero fatalities:

  1. Zero fatalities mindset. As an industry we need to continue to focus on fatality prevention, while not neglecting work towards injury reduction.
  2. Safety leadership at all levels. This is critical if we’re to achieve a fatality free mining industry. Where missing, a true, positive culture of safety needs to be developed and sustained.
  3. Change management. Safety as a value must be a constant focus, and cannot be allowed to flex or wane in industry cycles, divestments or joint venture partnerships.
  4. Learning from the past. We must learn from past fatalities and proactively apply critical controls to mitigate known fatal risks.
  5. Risk management capability. We must be better at building adequate capability to ensure high quality risk assessments, and address variations in tolerance to risk at different operations across the world.
  6. Critical controls. We must recognise fatal risks and eliminate them, including for technological solutions, as part of a balanced, holistic approach.
  7. Fall of ground. Operating deep, high-stress mines requires continued efforts to better protect individuals from rock bursts and fall of ground.
  8. Prevention is better than cure. Occupational disease from mining is resulting in more fatalities than has been recognised in the past. The industry needs to be prepared to adopt new, different controls to those required for other fatal risks to prevent the burden of occupational disease.

Mark Holmes, ICMM's Manager for Health and Safety said: "The outcome of these very frank discussions are eight fatality prevention lessons. While these statements are not an end in and of themselves, they’re valuable conversation starters that all mining and metals companies need to consider and debate. They’re designed to help companies improve business and safety culture, and leadership."  He continues "the lessons will form the basis for further in depth work within ICMM and across the industry".

This work builds on the commitment by ICMM to publish  annual safety data reports of its company members. The most recent report, Benchmarking 2018 Safety Data: Progress of ICMM Members, is available at icmm.com/safety-data-2018.

ICMM encourage any interested stakeholders to consider how the lessons can be applied to their own organisation and ask the question ‘What else can we be doing to truly get to zero fatalities?’.

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Notes for editor

ICMM (2019), 'Fatality Prevention: Eight lessons learned' is available here.

About ICMM

ICMM is an international organisation dedicated to a safe, fair and sustainable mining and metals industry which brings together 26 mining and metals companies and 36 regional and commodities associations. Every ICMM member company adheres to 10 Principles and 8 Position Statements on issues relating to sustainable development. Once the guidance to validate the performance expectations is complete, members will also be required to implement the performance expectations at the asset level.

Media contact

International Council
on Mining and Metals
Kira Scharwey                               
+44 (0)20 7467 5598