Anglo American’s vision is one of zero harm at all its operations. Zero harm means a work environment where no one gets hurt and is underpinned by the three principles of: zero mindset, no repeats, and simple, non-negotiable standards. Preventing repeat incidents is a particular focus of attention.
The Company’s efforts on safety are delivering some improvement, but much remains to be done. During 2008, the number of people who lost their lives while on the Group’s business was 27. This compares with 40 fatalities the previous year. Though still an unacceptable figure, it represents a 33% improvement. Twelve fatalities occurred in the first half of the year and 15 in the second six months; 17 took place underground and 10 on the surface; 15 individuals who lost their lives were contractors and 12 were employees.
Progress continues to be made in redesigning mining processes and technology to reduce falls of ground and their potential for loss of life. This is reflected in a reduction in fall of ground incidents during 2008, which, for the first time, were not the most frequent type of fatal incident. Vehicle transport was responsible for 26% of deaths, followed by falls of ground at 22% and moving machinery and falling at 15% each. Anglo Coal completed a transport review during 2008 to gain a better understanding of the nature and circumstances of transport incidents. Implementing the recommendations of the review has been given high priority.
In 2008, the Group’s lost time injuries, which are measured according to the industry standard of lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) per 200,000 hours worked, was 1.04. This represents a 17% improvement on the 2007 performance of 1.26.
A ‘One Safe Anglo’ safety strategy has been developed, which outlines the approach needed to be taken to improve safety performance, close performance gaps and achieve zero harm. This strategy will be implemented through a combination of globally developed programmes and activities and business unit safety improvement plans (SIPs), which set out to address specific operational priorities and challenges. Each business unit has developed a SIP in response to the two internal Anglo American safety summits held in 2007.
At the end of 2007, Anglo American launched its Fatal Risk Standards to prevent loss of life arising from incidents that, historically, have had a high frequency. For 2008, the managed operations achieved an average of 67% implementation of the standards, slightly below the target of 70%, while full compliance is required by 2010.
More than 1,300 people were trained throughout 2008 on a groundbreaking programme to establish and embed an operational safety risk management process. The programme is intended to contribute to a critical step-change in the Group’s safety performance, and aims for everyone working at Anglo American to make the right safety decisions.
Education programmes for around 8,000 supervisors, managers and executives across the Group will be delivered from 2008 to 2010 by a network of university partners around the world. Up to 20% of the places on all courses will also be opened up to external delegates, primarily from unions and regulators.
Trends in safety incident rates are neither fully indicative nor predictive of the level of safety risk control within the organisation. As a result, a series of leading indicators and practical measures is being put in place to test the integrity of these controls.