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Health and Safety

Health and safety is a primary focus for the mining and metals industry, but we are still short of our goal of zero harm.

Our work in this area aims to achieve breakthrough progress on eliminating harm; exploring the root causes of why harm continues to occur and ways to drive this down to zero. We will also continue our work on reducing diesel particulate emissions from mining vehicles as part of our Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative.

Issue at a Glance

  • ‘Health’ and ‘safety’ are often used together, as though they are a single concept, but great care needs to be taken to address their separate needs. Risks to safety are immediate and happen in the workplace, while health risks are often long-term and may not manifest for many years.
  • Mining presents various hazards that can be of significant consequence, but through effective risk management strategies, neither safety incidents nor the onset of occupational diseases should happen. Safe working conditions are a fundamental human right at the heart of every responsible mining company, and ICMM members have an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of workers. They are working unceasingly to eliminate fatalities and prevent injuries. This goal has galvanised massive changes in operations that led to a dramatic decline in fatalities over the last few decades. However, we have still not achieved our goal of zero harm.
  • Many mining companies have radically improved their health and safety performance in recent years, but material unwanted events continue. These are incidents that can lead to debilitating injuries, fatalities or even catastrophic events that affect wider communities and the environment. Investigations, typically show that controls for known risks were not effectively implemented. Adopting a critical control management approach is an effective way of focusing risk management on those systems that are most critical.
  • Sharing lessons from failure is vital to improving health and safety, but it's not enough. Working together, we will hunt for the next step change to go beyond the elimination of harm to people and the environment. In support of this, ICMM actively collates and publishes company members’ safety data with the aim of encouraging information and knowledge-sharing among members, and catalysing learning across the industry.

Our priorities

Strengthen Our Leadership Position Beyond Guidance

ICMM members have an unwavering commitment to the health and safety of their workers and work unceasingly for the elimination of fatalities and preventable injuries. Despite this, zero harm is still an unachieved goal. We recognise that we have a greater role to play and are looking to expand on our traditional role of helping knowledge sharing and lessons learned by exploring innovative approaches to health and safety controls with technology providers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and academic institutions. We will also explore innovations related to human performance.

Promoting Operational and Technical Innovations

New technologies are transforming the mining and metals industry, making it cleaner and safer. ICMM’s Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative brings together ICMM members and some of the world’s largest OEMs, in a non-competitive space, to accelerate the development of a new generation of mining vehicles that will minimise the operational impact of diesel exhaust and make vehicle collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025. To this end, we are supporting companies in solving industry level issues and pursuing operational and technical innovations.

Align on New and More Balanced Collective Metrics

The mining and metals industry is seen as transforming progress by taking collective action on health and safety, resulting in continued and significant reductions in fatalities and serious injury and disease outcomes. Monitoring and reporting on occupational health and safety indicators plays an important part in driving performance improvement. We are working with members to agree on appropriate occupational health performance data collection and reporting parameters for member companies, based on leading performance indicators (including high potential incidents (HPIs), fatalities, serious incidents and other indicators). We are also working to evolve the annual ICMM safety report to take account of these updates.