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 16 of our people lost their lives while working for us in 2016. 

During the year, two incidents at our African copper assets resulted in 10 deaths. This is unacceptable; we consider it a major setback to the fatality prevention progress we have made in recent years.

All the members of our Board HSEC committee visited both affected sites; they have worked closely with the management of these assets to fully understand the causes and the action that will be taken following investigation.

During 2016 we saw a 4% increase in our LTIFR, the first increase since 2010. In June 2016 we carried out a review of all sites that had not improved their LTIFR that year; following this, 67% of those assets improved their LTIFR in the second half of 2016. Despite this increase we are confident that we will meet our LTIFR target for 2020.

Reviewing our approach

In 2016 and the beginning of 2017, we re-examined our approach to safety and fatality prevention, with involvement from our Board, to look for any areas that could have been overlooked, and any subsequent changes to make. This deep review leaves us with the determination that, while more work must be done at a small number of assets, our strategy is generally the right one for the Group. We base this view on continued performance improvements at our other ‘focus assets’ (which is how we denote assets in remote locations with specific health & safety legacy issues):

  • For the first time, we have seen a fatality free year at our South American assets 
  • Our agricultural assets have been fatality free for two years to the end of December 2016
  • Kazzinc in Kazakhstan has seen dramatic progress against most indicators, with one fatality in the 27 months to the end of December 2016

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 2016; with more than 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 third annual safety summit in 2016, which focused on catastrophic hazard management and fatality prevention. 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.