Over the last few years, Anglo American has been working hard to improve its safety performance and achieve its vision of Zero Harm. Mining is an inherently dangerous industry, but we believe wholeheartedly that everyone who works for us should do so without getting harmed. While our safety performance has steadily improved over recent years, the reality is that lives are still being lost and people harmed while working for us. Safety therefore continues to be our number one priority.
Global Safety Day is the only Group-wide programme that unites the companys entire workforce (employees and contractors) worldwide behind one common theme. It was first introduced in 2012 to support our ongoing performance improvement journey by helping to keep working safely top of mind, encourage safe behaviour and unite everyone around a common safety focus. Anglo American is currently the only mining company to run such a programme. After three successful years, the project team (comprising safety and corporate communications experts) identified the need to revitalise its approach and format in order to achieve a step change in stakeholder engagement and ownership and better align it with safety improvement priorities at a Group, business unit, site and office level.
At the beginning of 2015, the Group safety team identified improving control use as a vital area to address in order to reduce fatalities. Analysis of recent significant incidents had highlighted that employee awareness of the importance of controls was low and effective implementation and use of the correct controls weak. (Safety controls are the measures that are put in place to either prevent or reduce the impact of an unwanted event i.e. someone getting hurt or killed.) This linked closely to failure to follow rules/standards, manage change or spot controls that were not in place or ineffective. Following an increase in the number of High Potential Hazards being reported, it was also evident that non-compliance with critical controls was an issue – ranging from 30% up to 70% of those reported. Taken together this represented a significant barrier to improving safety as it was clear that either the right controls were not in place, not working effectively or our people hadnt been properly trained to identify or use them. It was therefore agreed by the project team, and with the approval and endorsement of the CEO, Corporate Communications Director and Group Management Committee, that the 2015 remit for Global Safety Day was to help change that by providing a clear call to action around safety controls and in doing so, help save lives and prevent harm.