Catastrophic hazards management
Catastrophic or natural disaster events at the Group’s industrial assets can have disastrous impacts on workers, communities, and the environment, while also impacting production and resulting in substantial financial costs and harm to our reputation. By recognising and mitigating the risk of a disastrous event, we can better protect our people, communities and the environment.
Our target relating to catastrophic hazards is no major or catastrophic environmental incidents1:
We define catastrophic hazards as those having severe consequences that could cause widespread loss of life or significant environmental harm or result in major reputational or financial damage, even if they have low probability.
Recognising the exceptional nature of catastrophic incidents, our approach is to prevent them through catastrophic hazard management plans and critical controls management, supported by rigorous monitoring and reporting.
Our HSEC&HR policies and standards address the catastrophic hazards that present a material risk to our operations, setting out the requirements for the prevention of potentially catastrophic events.
Catastrophic incidents may arise due to natural causes (flood, earthquake, drought) or due to infrastructure or equipment failure (tailing storage facility failure), or both. Climate change will increase physical risks to our assets and related infrastructure, largely driven by extreme weather events and water-related risks such as flooding or water scarcity.
We identify and manage catastrophic hazards through:
- A five-point risk scale: We classify the severity of 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.
- Group fatal hazard protocols (FHPs): Our FHPs provide mandatory requirements to manage common fatal hazards in all industrial assets across our business. Our Safety Standards provide mandatory requirements to manage fatal and/or catastrophic hazards that exist in selected industrial assets..
- Assurance: We have both departmental and Group assurance processes that are focused on preventing catastrophic events and include compliance with the FHPs. We require all our industrial assets to maintain a register of potential catastrophic hazards and to conduct regular verification of the implementation of critical controls, which the commodity department and Group HSEC&HR review through quarterly reporting. Our commodity departments implement assurance programmes, which usually take place on a three-year cycle and include internal and third-party assurance. Our commodity departments monitor through to closure the outstanding actions relating to controlling catastrophic hazards identified by our audit teams during site audits. The corporate audit team also returns to industrial assets generally 12 to 18 months later to verify that it has substantively addressed the findings and closed any identified corrective actions. Our Board HSEC Committee reviews the status and results of these reports.
Our approach supports consistency across the business for the identification and management of catastrophic hazards, according to leading practice and the ICMM’s guidance.
Emergency response preparedness
We require each industrial asset to identify potential emergencies at or adjacent to their operations and to develop an appropriate Emergency Response Plan (ERP). Our industrial assets communicate their ERPs to their employees, contractors and relevant external stakeholders.
Our industrial assets regularly assess their need for emergency equipment, facilities and other resources against their HSEC risk register. We require emergency response preparedness through various measures, including:
- The appointment, training and equipping of rescue teams;
- Procedures for responding to speciﬁc emergency situations;
- The provision of ﬁreﬁghting equipment as required by the risk assessment;
- A ﬁrst aid management plan supported by appropriate medical equipment and services;
- The provision of appropriate equipment to assist in rapid containment and recovery of environmental spills;
- A process for dealing with hazardous substances and dangerous goods identiﬁed as being at risk of causing an emergency on site; and
- Assets are expected to undertake an annual simulation emergency exercise to test their ERP. These include the involvement of external emergency services when appropriate.
Our TSF Framework requires our industrial assets to develop and maintain TSF-specific Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRPs) to ensure their readiness to respond in the event of a failure. The EPRP is to provide information on managing the emergency response to a potential TSF failure event that presents a risk to people and the environment.
We are looking at how best to work with other stakeholders and create communities of practice to address common challenges across the sector. For example, we are continuing to play a leading role in the Earth Moving Equipment Safety Round Table (EMESRT) vehicle interaction improvement programme and the ICMM’s initiative for cleaner, safer vehicles, of which, its vehicle interaction programme commenced in 2017. These initiatives are driving vehicle interaction improvements across the industry. Within Glencore, we established a multicommodity vehicle interaction working group in 2017, which provides a platform to share leading practices and learnings. The working group aligns its work programme with those of EMESRT and ICMM and its members are active in various industry workshops.
1 For environment, major environmental incidents are defined as ‘Widespread, but reversible, environmental impact to ecosystems, habitat or species (two to ten years to remediate)’ while catastrophic environmental incidents are defined as ‘Widespread environmental impact to ecosystems, habitat or species (irreversible, or >ten years to remediate)’
Principles we follow
businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges