Catastrophic hazard management

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We are committed to protecting our people, communities and the environment from catastrophic events.

Why this matters

By recognising and mitigating the risk of a disastrous event, we can better protect our people, communities and the environment.

We have set targets for catastrophic hazards. These include:

  • The elimination of fatalities
  • Zero major or catastrophic environmental incidents.


Our approach

We define catastrophic hazards as events that – though unlikely – could cause widespread loss of life, or significant environmental harm, resulting also in major reputational or financial damage. 

We identify and manage catastrophic hazards in the following ways:

A five-point risk scale Group policies and protocols Assurance
We classify potential incidents on a five-point scale from 1 (negligible) to 5 (catastrophic) – and seek to control the potential causes of catastrophic hazards at all times.

We have a Group policy for managing catastrophic and fatal hazards. This policy demands rigorous monitoring, evaluation and reporting.

We also have protocols for both catastrophic and fatal hazards. We require our assets to self-assess against these – and to identify the critical controls necessary to address risks.

We have both departmental and Group assurance processes, focused on preventing catastrophic events.

Table best viewed in landscape

Our progress

In 2016, we worked to improve how we manage critical controls, by developing a process for quarterly reports and verification.

We maintain a Group catastrophic hazard register, with information about these controls.

We are also developing protocols and guidance on specific issues such as:

  • Tailings storage facilities – drawing on experience from events elsewhere in the mining industry
  • Ground and strata control
  • Aviation – using guidance in line with the Basic Aviation Risk Standard programme.

Principles we follow

UN Global Compact Principle 7

Principle 7: Businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges

UN Sustainable Development Goals - Goals 3 and 8

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 8: Promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth, employment and decent work for all

International Council on Mining and Metals Principle 4

Principle 4: Implement effective risk-management strategies and systems based on sound science and which account for stakeholder perceptions of risks

Next steps

We will:

  • Continue to focus on critical catastrophic hazard controls and process safety management (PSM) – reviewing how they fit into our plans.
  • Continue to promote “systematic catastrophic hazard management”, in line with International Council for Mining and Metals guidelines.
  • Further develop our catastrophic hazard protocols, bringing in risks that our fatal hazard protocols do not yet cover.
  • Continue to update processes as we learn more.

We also recognise that, as a Group, we need a more holistic approach that focuses more on human factors. This will lead to a greater understanding of the role of people in managing critical controls.