PEOPLE ARE OUR PRIORITY
Our commitment to safety and health is our first and most important task. It is present in the way in which we think and act and is a central part of the Group's business strategy. Our goal is to achieve zero fatalities and eradicate occupational diseases.
WHY ARE SAFETY AND HEALTH IMPORTANT?
People are our most important asset, and safety and health are our priority. The fatalities that have occurred in previous years prompt us to increase our efforts and take urgent action concerning safety.
In 2017, our strategy began to show success and we met our target of zero fatalities.
Mining has a lower accident rate than other sectors in Chile1. In 2017, it was 1.5 percent, compared to the national average of 4.7 percent. Safety in the sector is governed by the Employment Code, which is implemented by the Employment Inspectorate responsible for enforcing it. There are also mining safety regulations for specific risks, enforced by the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (Sernageomin).
In 2017, the Ministry of Employment and Social Security and its Superintendency of Social Security (SUSESO) enacted three legal instruments2 increasing the powers of the safety regulatory bodies as laid down in law no. 16.744, and of employers in terms of Occupational Health and Safety.
HOW DO WE MANAGE SAFETY AND HEALTH?
Antofagasta Minerals’ Sustainability Policy recognises the protection of people’s safety and health as a fundamental value. The Corporate Safety and Health department has established a Management Strategy to implement the policy, which was updated and improved during 2017.
The health and safety committees include employee and management representatives from each of the operations, to obtain feedback from employees and on planned safety improvements.
Safety and health strategy
Managing safety and health requires the ability to identify fatal accident risks and define specific actions to control them. Reporting and continuous improvement are key to anticipating and reducing these risks, and learning as much as possible from them. The success of these measures undoubtedly depends on leadership on the ground and each employee’s personal commitment to safety.
I. OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY
A preventive culture requires a real commitment by everyone working at Antofagasta Minerals. We continue to make significant progress towards achieving this objective in the following areas:
FATAL RISK STANDARDS
- The Group has identified 15 fatal risks at its operations and projects, and during 2017 developed its Fatal Risk Standards to improve control of these risks. These standards are focused on eliminating fatal accidents, and serious and occupational diseases.
FOCUS ON PREVENTION
- In 2017, special emphasis was placed on increasing preventive reporting in the mining division and to carry out continuous and systematic analyses of the near misses that have occurred. This allowed us to go from 1,995 reported incidents in 2016 to 5,277 in 2017 and to take corrective actions to avoid repeated incidents and related accidents. An example of this is the critical behaviours-prevention tool implemented in 2017 which helps to identify actions that have the potential to lead to a serious or fatal accident if they are not detected in time. Their identification and monitoring allows us to take specific actions to reduce the accident rate.
LEADERSHIP ON THE GROUND
- Leadership in the field is critical to implement safety and health initiatives. Antofagasta Minerals has defined systematic leadership practices for executives and supervisors, including the Executive Committee. This way, we have managed to increase the presence of executives in the field, encourage the use of the tools of safety and health and disseminate messages and concepts to improve understanding of the Safety and Health Strategy.
NEW SAFETY TECHNOLOGY
- Leadership in Safety Management: web and mobile phone apps that optimise safety management through verification, deviation and near-miss reporting from mobiles phones and evaluating RECSS.
- Remote locking: development of a mobile remote locking device, which has improved maintenance workers’ safety and increased productivity. This idea came from a worker at Los Pelambres and is one of the projects developed as part of the InnovAminerals initiative.
- Mobile application for safety and health training: mobile training platform based on video games that allows workers to "learn through play", a project developed as part of the InnovAminerals initiative.
- Each year we take various actions to strengthen our safety culture. This includes making awards to workers, supervisors and contractor companies; communication campaigns; organising meetings with the Employee-Management Committees3 and producing plays on the subject of fatigue and drowsiness, which have been performed for employees and their families in four cities.
SPECIAL CORPORATE SAFETY AND HEALTH REGULATIONS (RECSS)
- We have developed a regulation specifically for contractors and subcontractors, which defines roles, responsibilities and actions to eliminate serious and fatal accidents, as well as occupational diseases. Compliance is supervised by the Group contract administrator.
MONITORING AND RESULTS
During 2017 we carried out two internal audits on the compliance and implementation of the Safety and Health Strategy at each of the operations and projects. Thanks to these we have been able to make continuous improvements in each of the review processes and improve compliance with the RECSS and the fatal risk standards.
In 2017 we achieved our principal goal of zero fatalities and also decreased our Frequency Index with time loss by 17% in comparison to 2016. This, together with the 152% increase in our near-miss reporting, shows the effectiveness of the preventative actions we have been taking.
The 7% increase in the All Injury Frequency Rate (AIFR) during 2017 is due to the greater number of injuries arising from low potential accidents at our contractor companies. The Group is giving field-training to our contract administrators to improve their management and reduce the accident rate.
The results show that the Safety and Health Strategy is having some success, but there is a long way to go before a robust safety culture is fully developed that will continue to achieve zero fatalities and the automation of dangerous processes.
II. OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
We are responsible for our workers' physical and psychological health, and in 2017 we established Occupational Health Standards (ESOs) setting out the requirements for a safe and healthy working environment. These standards apply to employees, contractors and subcontractors working at Antofagasta Minerals’ operations and projects. Each operation is required to implement and supervise the ESOs at their own sites.
The main risk factors that can cause employment-related illness are silica dust, sulphuric acid mist, ionising and solar radiation, height and noise. Each operation has the resources needed to prevent the occurrence of these health issues. There are also technical guidelines on occupational health and hygiene, ergonomics, psychosocial issues, fatigue and drowsiness, which indicate the risk levels for each issue and exposure factors that can lead to illness and accidents.
In matters of occupational health, the mining division has a series of preventive measures, a good database, defined standards, case management, and has been identifying the more exposed groups.
MONITORING AND OUTCOME
During 2017, we conducted two internal checks to evaluate the degree of progress of the implementation of the Occupational Health Standards. The challenge in 2018 is to verify that these standards are already part of an integrated management model and that projects have been defined to reduce and/or eliminate exposure. In 2019 we plan to have exposure reduction goals, developed by each operation based on their risk evaluation of each Similar Exposure Group (GES). We have three people suffering from occupational illnesses, all of whom are at Zaldívar.
1 Source: Minería en números 2017, Consejo Minero.
2 The DFL 1 Employment Code, law no. 16.744 establishing rules concerning occupational health and safety, MINSAL technical standard 142 on the notification of serious or fatal accidents, and SUSESO circulars 2.345 and 2.378 concerning serious and fatal accidents.
3 At each mining operation, FCAB, Encuentro Oxides and head office.