Since 2012, ICMM has transparently measured and disclosed the safety performance of its company members. This benchmarking report aims to catalyse learning across the industry and transparently show where our members are towards their goal of eliminating fatalities. Over time, this data has informed leadership discussions about the step change required to reach this goal and supports an evidence-based approach to ICMM’s work on health and safety.
As a commitment of ICMM membership, companies are also required to report their safety data in their annual sustainability reports in line with Global Reporting Indicators (GRI) reporting requirements. In some cases, because of differences in jurisdictional or institutional reporting requirements, reporting periods or criteria by which injuries are recorded, this can lead to the datasets not being directly comparable. By collating ICMM company member data in this report we can present the data in a much more comparable way, where a consistent reporting period is used (calendar based, rather than using various financial years) and by unifying the data under a common set of indicators.
This report provides an analysis of the ICMM membership safety performance for 2020 based on data submitted to ICMM that is in line with ICMM’s Health and Safety Performance Indicators: Guidance, 2021. In 2021 this guidance was updated to provide greater clarity on how companies determine if an incident is ‘recordable’. If there are any deviations from the ICMM guidance, then these are explained in the endnotes found at the end of this document.
In addition, this report focuses on safety incidents rather than health related impacts, and therefore does not contain data relating to the rate of Covid-19 infections within the ICMM membership.
2020 safety data
This section provides an overview of ICMM member safety performance as it relates to fatalities and injuries.
Regrettably, 44 fatalities occurred across ICMM company members in 2020. This compares to 287 in 2019, which included the 250 lives lost in the Brumadinho tailings dam collapse, and 50 in 2018. Overall, in 2020 there was a 2 per cent decrease in the total hours worked compared to 2019, and a 17 per cent increase in the number of incidents that resulted in a fatality. There were three incidents which resulted in more than one fatality, which is half the number of multiple fatality incidents in 2019.
Table 1: ICMM safety performance data (2012-2020)
Total recordable fatalities
Total recordable injuries (TRI)
Total hours worked
The data in Graph 2 shows the most common type of incidents associated with a fatality. This helps to identify focus areas for fatality prevention efforts. In 2020, the highest number of fatalities occurred through ‘fall of ground’ incidents, with 10 out of the 12 fatalities occurring in South Africa as seen in Graph 3. Fall of ground incidents can be:
- Induced or intentional, meaning rock falls are caused by the mining method such as caving rock behind a longwall face, collapsing roof in a retreat room-and-pillar mine or caving rock in a block-caving hardrock mine.
- Unplanned or unintentional, meaning any rock fall in mine workings where humans could be present.
It is the latter type of rock failure that is significant when people are injured. Injury from fall of ground incidents is the most common occupational injury in the South African mining industry due to a prevalence of deep, high-stress mines in the country (the deepest mines can extend 3,500m below surface). The Minerals Council of South Africa has focused its efforts on fall of ground incidents, with more information on these actions provided in Box 1 at the end of this report.
The next highest cause of fatalities is from mobile equipment and transportation. In 2018, mobile equipment and transportation incidents surpassed fall of ground incidents as the biggest cause of fatalities amongst company members. Unlike fall of ground, the hazard posed by vehicles is common across the industry, since it is not dependent on geography or commodity being produced.
Graph 4 provides the number of fatalities per hazard between 2017 and 2020. It shows that the highest cause of fatalities is linked to structural failure as a result of the Brumadinho tailings storage facility collapse. It also shows significant reduction in fatalities attributed to mobile equipment and transportation (a 46.7 per cent reduction between 2018 and 2019) and a doubling of the number of falls of ground related fatalities from six in 2019 to 12 in 2020.
The data in Table 2 and Graph 5 shows that the country with highest number of fatalities was South Africa, accounting for 50 per cent of the total fatalities across ICMM members in 2020. The fatality rate for the Niger is high due to the relatively low number of hours worked in the country.
Table 2: 2020 fatalities per country of ICMM members
Total hours worked by country
% of total hours by country
Total recordable fatalities
% fatalities by country
|Rest of world||871,656,798||36.6||0||0||0|
Graph 6 shows the injury rate for companies between 2012 and 2020. There was a 10 per cent decrease in the number of total recordable injuries from 7,771 in 2019 to 6,997 in 2020. The overall injury rate decreased from 3.20 in 2019 to 2.94 in 2020.
2020 company benchmark
Graphs 7 and 8 show fatality rates and TRIFR for each company member for the calendar year 2020. The total number of fatalities per company is shown in Table 3.
Table 3: All data for ICMM company members in 2020
Total recordable injuries (TRI)
TRI frequancy rate
Total hours worked
|Africa Rainbow Minerals||2||0.053||159||4.23||37,618,791|
|Minera San Cristóbal||0||0.000||8||2.39||3,347,581|
|Sumitomo Metal Mining||0||0.000||26||0.94||27,780,058|
Responding to key industry challenges
Health and safety is a primary focus for ICMM. Our work centres on facilitating sharing and learning between company members to support performance improvement and the development of good practice guidance.
The data compiled in this report informs leadership discussions about the step change required to reach our goal of zero fatalities and supports an evidence-based approach to ICMM’s programmatic focus on health and safety. Recently this has included our action on tailings, critical control management and the Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV) initiative which aims to accelerate the innovations required to improve equipment safety and reduce emissions.
Innovation for Cleaner, Safer Vehicles (ICSV)
Year on year, between 30–40 per cent of all fatalities in the mining and metals industry are the consequence of inadequate vehicle interaction controls, and amongst ICMM members, vehicle interactions were the highest cause of fatalities in 2018.
In response, ICMM launched the ICSV initiative which brings together ICMM’s 28 company members and 19 Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate in a non- competitive space to accelerate the development of a new generation of cleaner, safer mining vehicles. The initiative works towards the achievement of three ambitions: 1) introduction of greenhouse gas emission-free surface mining vehicles by 2040; 2) minimising the operational impact of diesel exhaust by 2025; and, 3) making vehicle collision avoidance technology available to mining companies by 2025.
In 2020, the ICSV initiative made significant progress towards understanding what is needed to transform today’s fleet of mining vehicles into tomorrow’s new generation of cleaner, safer vehicles. In 2021, ICMM’s company members will focus on building their readiness to adopt technologies by:
- Integrating the ICSV initiative into corporate planning processes, allocating internal resources and effectively leveraging external resources such as synergies with other industry initiatives and collaboration between member companies.
- Understanding where they currently are against the initiative’s ambitions, committing to a desired ‘future state’ and establishing their own rate of change.
- Identifying areas for further collaboration.
Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management
Published in 2020, The Global Industry Standard on Tailings Management (the Standard) requires companies to increase the integration of social and environmental considerations across the entire lifecycle of each tailings facility. It also elevates and specifies much clearer governance, accountability, and disclosure requirements to make sure the environmental and social objectives are achieved.
ICMM members have committed that all facilities with ‘Extreme’ or ‘Very high’ potential consequences will be in conformance with the Standard by August 2023, and all other facilities by August 2025. To support this timeline, ICMM has developed a set of Conformance Protocols to help operators and independent third parties assess implementation of the Standard’s requirements across tailings facilities. The 219 clear and concise criteria in the Conformance Protocols map to the Standard’s 77 requirements, enabling conformance against all applicable requirements to be assessed.
ICMM has also launched a Tailings Management: Good practice guide that aims to promote good governance and engineering practices that support continuous improvement in the management of new and existing tailings facilities, and to strengthen the ‘safety culture’ within companies.
Critical control management
Collectively, we must focus on the elimination of fatalities and catastrophic events. One of the key strategies to reach this goal is implementing ‘critical control management’ (CCM).
CCM is based on the principle that not all controls are crucial, but rather companies should focus on systematically identifying, assessing, implementing and evaluating those controls that are essential to the prevention of fatal or catastrophic events.
While CCM is well documented in many high hazard industries, ICMM produced the first consolidated framework for the mining and metals sector which provides advice on how to implement the approach. It also provides history and context of the approach, potential benefits and obstacles, and how an organisation can adopt CCM.
CCM can also serve as part of an effective response to Covid-19. The virus – in health and safety terms – is a ‘material unwanted event’ that, for many responsible companies has validated the strength, flexibility and scalability of the critical control framework. It will be important to share the lessons learned from rapidly implementing CCM in response to Covid-19 to help others prepare for future waves and for the next pandemic.
While all effort is made to ensure the data complies with the definitions, it should be noted that some minor differences still exist between companies. Acknowledging this, we are continuously looking at ways to improve the consistency of data.
1. Data was not collected prior to 2012 and is therefore not included in the graphs and tables in this report. Companies that joined ICMM after 2012 are represented in the dataset from the first full calendar year that they were members.
2. Rates are per 1 million hours worked (calculated by dividing the total number of fatalities or TRIs by the hours worked at the companies, and then multiplied by 1 million). Fatality rate is shown at 3 decimal places, injury rate shown at 2 decimal places.
3. The number of fatalities has been reduced from 51 to 50 compared to previous ICMM reports due to a reclassification of a fatality to being non-work related at Rio Tinto. See section '2.5 Recording periods for injuries, diseases and fatalities' in the guidance on ICMM health and safety performance indicators for more information.
5. It should also be noted that data for Boliden – a new member of ICMM – is not included in this report. Data for this company will be included in the 2021 report and onwards.
6. Please note that all African Rainbow Minerals operations are managed in Joint Ventures.
7. The data provided includes BHP's Petroleum business. BHP definitions are aligned with OSHA as per: https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/new-osha300form1-1-04.pdf which may include some variations compared to ICMM standards. We allow physiotherapy treatment in the first 96 hours of an injury without it being classified as medical treatment.
8. The following accidents are not considered in the statistics: Employees and contractors performing off-site work-related activities. Codelco does not differentiate between First Aid Case and Medical Treatment.
9. Glencore’s marketing offices are excluded.
10. JX Nippon have not compiled data of Contractors’ working hours, since the Industrial Safety and Health Act in Japan does not require companies to file this information to government authorities.
11. The total hours worked is related to employees only.
12. Data does not include incidents where injuries occur through contractors commuting or contractors transporting ore under contract as they are not considered a controlled activity as per MMG's internal definition.
13. Orano does not follow certain cases of exclusion in the ICMM guidance due to the French regulations which require 100 per cent recognition of accidents at work on assignments under all circumstances. Definition of First Aid and Medical Treatment is also different. We apply the Group rule where all internal care equates to first aid, and all external care are treated as medical treatment.
14 For the South Africa region, this is a new measure for injuries that do not result in shift loss. All less severe injuries were deemed Treat and Return and included in Total injuries. Definitions for Minor & Medical Treatment Cases are provided to Health Services staff, to distinguish this requirement.
15. The data includes on- and offsite events where South32 controls the work location or where the company controls the work activity. The data does not include incidents where injuries occur through contractor commuting or contractors transporting ore under contract.
16. The total hours worked are an estimate except for the hours of employees in Japan. The data of total hours worked of contractors in workforce is calculated based on the number of workers as of May 2020.
17. For 2020, Teck is reporting on the activities that it directly manages. The data does not include JV partnerships. Teck Medical Aid Definition: The use of prescription medication alone for any treatment other than eye injury is not a reportable medical treatment. Use of prescription medication for eye injuries is a reportable medical treatment. Medical treatment also includes the application of a cast or other professional means of immobilising an injured part of the body.