Our sustainability strategy includes an objective to become a leader in workplace safety, eliminating fatalities and injuries. 

Fatalities and injuries

We are saddened to report that ten of our people lost their lives while working for us in 2015. The deaths all took place at underground operations. However, since the introduction of our SafeWork initiative in 2013 we have seen a steady and significant reduction in fatalities and injuries.

Our focus on workplace injuries in 2015 continued to produce significant improvements in our lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR), and a reduction in our total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR). Our long-term target is a 50% reduction in TRIFR by the end of 2020, against an initial baseline established in 2014.

Improvements at our focus assets

While many of our assets have leading safety performances, a minority are still implementing processes to improve their safety standards. These assets require special focus and have specific improvement programmes designed for the challenges particular to their circumstances: we call these our focus assets. We have seen some significant improvements at focus assets in 2015. At these assets, there were seven fatalities this year, compared to 13 in 2014 and 16 in 2013.

Safety management

A strong safety culture is built on clearly demonstrated leadership commitment. Our senior managers at corporate, department and asset levels take responsibility for leading our safety strategy and communicating it across the workforce. Senior corporate and departmental managers make regular visits to assets as part of this commitment.

Our Board oversees the Group’s safety performance. Any fatality must be reported to the CEO, Board HSEC Committee and Group sustainability team within 24 hours, with independent third-party assistance on site within 72 hours. The committee reviews every fatal incident with the senior management of the department and asset affected, and circulates any relevant lessons across the Group.

Our SafeWork initiative

We began to implement our SafeWork initiative in 2013. This is a risk-based framework designed for our assets to use as a basis for their own individualised safety improvement plans. The initiative’s aim is to provide everyone with the knowledge and tools to perform every task safely; the overall message is that every individual has the authority to stop unsafe work.

Implementation across the Group continued in 2015; 90% of our people have now signed a commitment to observe the life-saving behaviours and fatal hazard protocols.

Promoting a risk-based safety culture

We believe an effective safety culture is based on sound risk management. Our safety risk management is based on a comprehensive Group risk management framework, along with our Group HSEC policies. We also provide our line managers with risk management tools, systems and guidelines to help them maintain a safe work environment and effective controls.

Over the coming years, our risk management process will focus on improving the integrity of plant, equipment, structures and processes. We will continue to train our people on hazard awareness and risk assessment, verification of control effectiveness, and having the courage to choose life-saving behaviours if controls are ineffective or not in place.

Learning for continuous improvement: HPRIs

Our assets report and share high potential risk incidents (HPRIs) every week, along with lessons learned, to prevent repeat incidents. This emphasis on reporting and recording HPRIs has been vital to our progress in safety management and fatality reduction; identifying trends as they arise, and taking corrective action, helps to prevent systemic issues.

Our CEO Ivan Glasenberg hosted Glencore’s second annual safety summit in 2015, which focused on fatality prevention as well as catastrophic hazard and critical control management. Its key outcomes were a strengthened resolve and commitment to completely eliminate loss of life and to prevent catastrophic incidents, as well as to continue sharing leading practice between different assets.

Catastrophic hazard management and critical controls

Having rolled out the fatal hazard protocols, we are continuing our work to establish systematic management of catastrophic hazards in line with the new ICMM guidelines. Each of our commodity departments has identified its relevant catastrophic hazards and created a hazard register, s well as carrying out reviews of the relevant controls and critical controls.

Dealing with business partners

We expect our contractors to comply with the same safety requirements as our direct employees, and to meet our safety training standards. We terminate contracts with contractor companies who do not fulfil this expectation.

In joint ventures where Glencore does not have operational control, we expect all major incidents to be reported from asset level, via departments, to a Group level; we then encourage the operational management teams to investigate appropriately.