Catastrophic hazard management

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We are committed to protecting the safety and wellbeing of our people and the communities and environment around us.

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. 

Our approach supports a consistent application of standards across the business for the identification and management of catastrophic hazards. We identify and manage catastrophic hazards in the following ways:

  • A five-point risk scale: 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.
  • Group hazard protocols: We have a suite of hazard protocols that set out the requirements for the prevention of fatalities and catastrophic incidents at our assets. The protocols provide minimum requirements to manage hazards. 
  • Assurance: We have both departmental and Group assurance processes that are focused on preventing catastrophic events and include compliance with the protocols. The assurance programmes usually take place on a three-year cycle and include first, second and third party assessments. We also require all our commodity departments to conduct regular verification of the implementation of critical controls, which the corporate team review through quarterly reporting.

All of our assets have identified the catastrophic hazards specific to their operations and we have developed critical controls to manage and mitigate these. We continue to enhance these protocols on a risk-based priority basis. 

Our approach reflects international leading practice and the ICMM’s guidance.

Emergency response preparedness

We require each asset to identify potential emergencies at or adjacent to their operations and to develop an appropriate Emergency Response Plan (ERP). Assets communicate their ERP to all employees, contractors and relevant external stakeholders.

Our assets regularly assess their need for emergency equipment, facilities and other resources against their HSEC risk register. We require emergency resources to include:

  • 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 all hazardous substances and dangerous goods identified as being at risk of causing an emergency on site 
  • Assets are expected to undertake an annual simulation emergency exercise to test their ERP. These include the involvement of external emergency services when appropriate

Industry-wide collaboration

We recognise the role of underground technology in the mining industry. 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 taking a leading role in the ICMM’s Initiative for Safer Cleaner Vehicles, which is building an evolving industry pathway towards the safest approach for controlling potential vehicle interactions. 

Principles we follow
UN Global Compact
Principle 7

businesses should support a precautionary approach to environmental challenges

Principle 8

undertake initiatives to promote greater environmental responsibility

Principle 9

encourage the development and diffusion of environmentally friendly technologies

UN Sustainable Development Goals
Decent work and economic growth
Responsible consumption and production