From exploration through closure, there are health risks associated with exposures to chemicals, dust and noise; repetitive, forceful or vibrating motion; and infectious diseases. Fatigue, stress, obesity and depression are also health risks all employers face. With the right to life and right to healthy working conditions among our highest human rights risk areas, we work to effectively assess and manage our health risks and promote and support the wellbeing of the people who work at and live near our operations.
As stated in our Health and Safety Policy and as a member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), we commit to protect the health and wellbeing of both workers and local communities near our operations. Supporting this commitment are global standards and operating procedures that detail the minimum requirements for managing work-related and community health risks.
We have initiated a global review of our current health and wellness practices and programs to determine whether we have the right systems and capabilities in place to effectively manage our risks and achieve our goals. The review will focus on ensuring we have a solid foundation and an approach that is applicable to each site’s risks, and that we are prepared to manage any emerging risks.
Our current health risk management (HRM) approach identifies our top workplace health hazards – predominantly related to airborne agents such as silica dust, lead, mercury, welding fumes, manganese and diesel particulate matter – and measures our ability to reduce exposure to these hazards and prevent adverse health effects. Because it is not practical to assess each individual’s risk, we identify groups of workers with similar exposures (called “similar exposure groups” or SEGs). Control management plans are implemented to monitor the effectiveness of critical controls, and baselines are calculated at the beginning of the year to quantify the exposure reduction and measure on our performance.
Every mine site either operates an on-site clinic or partners with external facilities that provide emergency care, primary care and health services to Company personnel and community members. Sites also have health and wellness initiatives to encourage healthy lifestyles and reduce the risks associated with fatigue, work-related stress, obesity and other factors that impact overall wellness and mental health. Our global pandemic preparedness guideline helps mitigate risks to the business and communities caused by infectious disease outbreaks.
We also support improved community health and access to healthcare through health impact assessments, investments in community healthcare infrastructure, and partnerships with external experts, NGOs, government agencies and global health organizations – such as Project C.U.R.E. and International SOS.
We actively participate in programs to address health issues in the mining industry as a member of ICMM and through industry groups and initiatives, such as the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Alertness, Safety and Productivity in Australia, which brings together technology companies, academics, regulators and employers to develop new technologies that help protect workers and drivers from fatigue.
(per 200,000 hours worked)
Our OIFR metric includes illnesses related to airborne agents as well as noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), infectious diseases (such as malaria, tuberculosis and dengue fever) and musculoskeletal disorders. In 2017, Africa reported cases of malaria in controlled locations and Australia reported musculoskeletal disorders.
* These figures include all exploration sites. We currently are not able to report employee and contractor OIFR data separately, and we do not collect this data by gender.
** OIFR calculations for North America do not include the corporate office.
In 2017, our Occupational Illness Frequency Rate (OIFR) decreased to 0.07 from 0.18 in 2016. The largest contributor to the decline was the reduction in workplace exposures. In 2017, we reduced exposures associated with acute and chronic illnesses by 31.7 percent from the baseline set in 2016. This follows a 16.5 percent reduction from the baseline set in 2015. Improved engineering controls and site-based programs were key drivers of the improvement. We also completed a health risk assessment at Merian and began developing baseline data around key health exposures.
At the end of the year, we initiated an independent assessment of all our current programs and practices across our portfolio to inform our three-year health and wellness strategy.
Other activities during the year included:
- Following a pilot in Nevada and Ghana during 2016, we completed installation of fatigue-detection technology in our entire surface mine haul truck fleet to reduce the number of fatigue-related events for personnel undertaking high-risk work. Assessments conducted to measure the effectiveness of the technology showed significant reductions in fatigue events. For example, at our Carlin operation in Nevada, fatigue events declined 87 percent between phase 1 (no alarms) and phase 3 (alarms and fatigue intervention plan). This level of reduction is consistent with what our other sites have experienced. Through change management efforts, sites aim to sustain this performance and ensure continuous improvement. Fatigue monitoring is one aspect of our broader fatigue management and wellbeing approach.
- Sites conducted a number of mental health and wellbeing campaigns including the R U OK? – a suicide prevention campaign – at our Boddington operation in Australia and a global “Fitness Challenge for Charity” initiative using an online app that provides employees with an opportunity to support their favorite charity and improve their fitness. Around 400 employees across all regions participated.
- We continued our long-standing partnership with Project C.U.R.E., the world’s largest distributor of medical donations to developing countries. Since the partnership began in 2005, medical supplies and equipment valued at more than more than $14 million have been delivered to hospitals and clinics in Ghana, Suriname, Indonesia, Guinea, Haiti and Peru. Efforts during the year included:
- A total of six shipments of medical equipment and supplies valued at nearly $2.4 million were sent to healthcare facilities near our operations in Ghana and Suriname.
- Project C.U.R.E. conducted an evaluation of 14 health facilities near our Ahafo and Akyem mines in Ghana to measure the impact of the medical supply donations. All facilities reported a positive impact including an increase in the number of patients served; the ability to provide new services; improved quality of care, treatment and preventative services; and the ability to re-allocate budget toward staff training, repairs and facility upgrades.
- To create more sustainable outcomes in Ghana, we partnered with Project C.U.R.E. on a new health fair clinic model focused on patient education. Around 2,600 residents from the communities near Ahafo and Akyem attended health fairs during the year. In addition, more than 1,200 community members who reside near our operations in Suriname and Peru received free medical care at Project C.U.R.E. clinics.
- Around 50 healthcare providers in Ghana received neonatal training as part of the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program, which teaches newborn resuscitation skills. During the year, health experts evaluated the HBB program outcomes between 2015 and 2017. They concluded from the two-and-a-half-year study that the HBB program has prevented an estimated 157 deaths from birth asphyxia in the Brong-Ahafo region during the time period.
- For the second year in a row, we partnered with the Colorado Rockies professional baseball team and Project C.U.R.E. on a fundraising campaign in which Newmont donated $50 for every strikeout thrown by a Rockies pitcher, which translated to a $63,000 donation. Donations from 2017 have been used to fund shipments of medical equipment and supplies to communities in Papua New Guinea, Ethiopia, Cote D’Ivoire, Cuba, Tanzania, Syria and Belize.
Other community health programs and activities included:
- Our Yanacocha operation in Peru continued its support of the Salud Contigo program, a partnership with the Municipality of Cajamarca to deliver free medical care to community members.
- In Ghana, we recognized World Malaria Day with a number of malaria prevention events for employees, business partners and community members.
- Our Australia operations and corporate office participated in Movember, an annual event that raises awareness and funds for men’s health with the goal of reducing the number of men dying prematurely by 25 percent by 2030.
We conducted an independent review of our injuries and illnesses reporting procedures and data, benchmarking them against ICMM, the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) guidelines and classifications. A key finding was that we had regional differences in interpretation due to the influence of national regulations, and our reporting would benefit from aligning all our regions to the ICMM guidelines.
Based on findings from the independent review of our injuries and illnesses reporting criteria, we will update our illness classifications beginning on January 1, 2018. This change is expected to improve consistency in our reporting and better align with ICMM’s guidance. We also anticipate our OIFR to increase as a result of the change to classifications.
To drive a step change in our exposure reduction performance, for 2018 each site will use baseline data from the end of 2017 to reduce exposures for their top three SEGs by 50 percent through the application of engineering controls.
Other key activities include:
- Findings from the independent assessment of our global health and wellness programs will inform a three-year strategy to ensure we have established the foundational components of a global occupational health and wellness program at all our sites, and that the programs remain relevant for the key health risks for each site. We will address any gaps in capabilities through training and skills development.
- To continue to reduce the number of fatigue-related events, we will explore opportunities to install fatigue-detection technology in equipment outside of our haul truck fleet.
- In line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we will work toward advancing SDG-3 – good health and wellbeing – through our near-term targets to reduce exposures in the workplace and our partnership with Project C.U.R.E. Longer term, we are developing new outcome indicators that will measure the impact of our programs to improve health within our workforce and host communities.