From 2010 to 2014, our zinc mining operation in Bolivia has run a fatality reduction initiative that has produced encouraging results. The site previously experienced three deaths per year for four consecutive years; this was reduced to one fatality in 2014.
The initiative centred on a firm management commitment to promoting a culture of health and safety awareness. This has promoted a gradual change in the prevalent safety culture, previously characterised by tolerance of risk and inadequate hazard assessment.
Shifting the mindset of our mine workforce, who work according to traditions nearly five centuries old, has proven to be a difficult task. Despite these challenges, we have made steady progress; before 2009, safety and environmental practices were not fully integrated into the business culture, although the asset adhered to international safety standards.
By 2013, safety and environmental practices were becoming a top priority. DuPont’s STOP (Safety Training Observation Programme) was implemented, with 46 staff trained as programme leaders. In mid-2013, managers and Group advisers gathered for workshops on safety management, and workforce training and motivation, making safer mine operational plans.
At one site, Colquechaquita, this included a change to the mining method, a strong focus on geomechanical evaluation, and an improved mine support system.
In 2014, we launched the Group SafeWork initiative; this reinforced the initiatives this asset had been implementing, sharing best practices among operations in different countries.