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ICMM publishes 2019 mining occupational safety data

11 June 2020

London, UK – The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) today released the 2019 safety data of its company members. 

ICMM members share an unwavering commitment to improving health and safety performance, towards a goal of zero harm. To support this commitment, ICMM compiles, analyses, and publishes the safety data provided annually by company members. The full report, ‘Safety Data: Benchmarking progress of ICMM company members in 2019', is available here.

Regrettably, in 2019 our members recorded a total number of 287 occupational fatalities, a marked increase from the 50 fatalities recorded in 2018 and 51 fatalities recorded in 2017. Of the 287 occupational fatalities recorded, 250 occurred as a result of the catastrophic collapse of a tailings dam at Vale’s Corrego do Feijão mine in Brumadinho on 25 January 2019. After structural failure, the second highest cause of fatalities was mobile equipment and transportation which accounted for eight fatalities in 2019, seven fewer than the 15 fatalities recorded in 2018.

Tom Butler, CEO of ICMM said: “One fatality is one too many. In 2019, 287 people lost their lives while at work, which is a stark reminder that while the mining and metals industry has come a long way in improving how it operates, there is still much more to do to safeguard lives, improve performance and demonstrate transparency. 

“Trust in our industry’s ability to operate safely was rightly questioned following the tragic Brumadinho dam collapse early last year, which claimed the lives of 270 people – 250 workers and 20 community members.  Our members are committed to taking action, and the imminent publication of the Global Tailings Standard, which has been developed through an independent review co-convened by the United National Environment Programme, Principles for Responsible Investment and ICMM, will be a vital step towards improving the safety and security of tailings facilities, and rebuilding public trust in the sector.

“Monitoring and reporting on occupational health and safety indictors is an important aspect of driving performance improvement. In 2019 the second highest cause of fatalities was from mobile mining equipment and transportation. ICMM’s members are committed to accelerating investment in vehicle safety through our Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles programme – a collaboration between ICMM members and original equipment manufacturers.”

The occupational fatality rate (calculated per one million hours worked) shows an increase from 0.022 in 2018 to 0.118 in 2019, while the overall injury rate decreased from 3.41 in 2018 to 3.20 in 2019. Sixteen company members recorded no fatalities in 2019, an increase from 11 members in 2018.

The report also examines incidents by country. Company member operations in Brazil had the highest fatality rate of 0.83, recording 252 fatalities from approximately 303.6 million hours worked. Operations in South Africa recorded 10 fatalities and Zambia six, where 392.9 and 46.8 million hours were worked, respectively.

ICMM began collating and publishing company members’ safety data in 2012 with the aim of encouraging information and knowledge-sharing among members, and catalysing learning across the industry. This platform of information sharing and learning has continued to support members through the unprecedented challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic where the health and safety of workers and local communities is paramount.


Notes to editors

More information on ICMM’s Mining Principles can be found here.

About ICMM

ICMM is an international organisation dedicated to a safe, fair and sustainable mining and metals industry. Bringing together 27 mining and metals companies and over 35 regional and commodity associations, we strengthen environmental and social performance. We serve as a catalyst for change, enhancing mining’s contribution to society. Every ICMM company member adheres to our Mining Principles which incorporates comprehensive environmental, social and governance requirements, robust site-level validation of performance expectations and credible assurance of corporate sustainability reports.

Media contact

Molly Stewart
Senior Communications Officer
+44 (0) 20 7467 5082