Effectively managing the safety risks inherent in our business is essential to protecting our workforce and the communities in which we operate. We are focused on identifying, understanding and controlling the risks associated with hazards in the workplace because we believe that everyone has the right to return home safe at the end of the day.
A global set of standards, guidelines, operating procedures and systems detail the accountabilities, mandatory controls and minimum requirements for managing our business in a way that protects people.
Our top focus is eliminating fatalities in the workplace. Our Fatality Risk Management program aims to provide rigor and discipline around understanding our top risks and effectively managing them through robust controls and systems.
The system prevents or minimizes an accident’s consequence by identifying the top 16 fatality risks common across our business and ensuring a set of critical controls are in place every time we undertake a task involving each risk. Site managers perform frequent field-based observations, called verifications, to confirm the critical controls are in place and effective at the time the work occurs. Any deficiencies found during the verifications must be addressed before resuming work. Personnel are encouraged to actively seek out and uncover non-effective controls so corrections can be made before an incident or accident occurs.
Other key elements of our Fatality Risk Management system include:
- Standards – All top fatality risks are supported by global standards and procedures that set the minimum mandatory requirements for everyone working on Newmont’s behalf.
- Audits – An internal team (independent of the operation) conducts site audits approximately every two years to ensure all fatality risk standards are consistently, properly and effectively implemented. Audits involve observing practices, examining documentation and interviewing key site personnel.
- Leadership – A governance framework showing clear accountabilities throughout the organization up to our Chief Executive Officer is essential for success. Every site general manager sponsors at least one fatality risk and leads a team that manages critical controls and performance criteria. Site leaders are responsible for verifying that the critical controls are in place and supervisors must monitor implementation of the critical controls in the field.
- Engagement – Ensuring lessons are genuinely learned and adopted – not just shared – is essential to preventing fatalities. We encourage sites to report near misses – known as serious potential events (SPEs) – so that we can examine system failures or ineffective controls and communicate the findings across all our operations. Investigations and corrective actions to prevent recurrence related to SPEs and fatalities are also reviewed with the executive leadership team and Board of Directors. In 2018, we formalized our lessons-learned process, which we discuss in the featured case study.
Engagement and training
Creating a positive safety culture to support injury and fatality prevention requires visible leadership that demonstrates care and concern for people’s safety.
Safety interactions – designed to positively influence the behavior of team members through conversations with leaders – and programs, such as the Kaizen continuous improvement process to reduce hand injuries, seek to raise awareness and empower everyone to speak up about ways to work safer.
Technical safety training is provided to all employees working at our mine sites, and safety inductions are conducted for all site visitors. With contractors constituting more than 50 percent of our workforce, each region conducts contractor training programs and regular safety reviews in contractor work areas.
Every Newmont facility is required to identify, plan for and respond effectively to emergency situations. Our mine rescue teams (MRTs) play a significant role in driving a culture of safety. MRT members are often trained first responders and firefighters and all members participate in extensive specialized training, classroom activities, hands-on instruction and mock drills. A number of our MRTs also participate in competitions that test the teams’ preparedness and competencies against industry peers.
We measure our safety performance by leading indicators, such as safety interactions and the implementation of effective critical controls, and by tracking lagging indicators, such as injury rates. All recordable safety events are entered and tracked in our Integrated Management System (IMS). Safety performance reports – which include data on fatalities, injuries, SPEs and control verifications – are published company-wide on a monthly basis. Our safety performance is reviewed and lessons learned from at least one significant event or SPE are discussed during a quarterly CEO-led call with executive, regional and functional leaders. Detailed updates are provided to the Board of Directors during every quarterly Board meeting.
We are committed to learning from and sharing best practices with others. We actively participate in programs to improve our performance as members of the ICMM and the Mining Safety Roundtable. We also participate in regional health and safety programs, such as the Western Australia Chamber of Minerals and Energy, the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the U.S. National Mining Association’s CORESafety program.
Our top goal is to send everyone home safe at the end of every day. Tragically, seven colleagues died during the year in workplace accidents.
On April 7, 2018, Newmont experienced an accident at the Ahafo Mill Expansion project at our Ahafo operation in Ghana, resulting in multiple fatalities. A contractor crew of eight construction workers was inside the reclaim tunnel of the project when the structure’s roof collapsed during the pouring of concrete. Of these eight, two individuals escaped with minor injuries. Emergency response teams were immediately dispatched to the scene of the accident, but six people lost their lives. We immediately notified authorities, and operations at Ahafo and the Ahafo Mill Expansion project were temporarily suspended. Subsequent to the event, Newmont cooperated with the Ghana Minerals Commission on their investigation in addition to conducting a thorough internal investigation. Post investigation, we launched a process to integrate lessons learned from this tragic accident, which we discuss in the featured case study. We also shared those lessons with the broader mining community and others.
On November 11, 2018, an underground technician was killed at our Pete Bajo operation in Nevada when the load-haul-dump machine he had been operating underground ran over him. The event is currently under investigation by the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. In addition, a Newmont team of subject matter experts is conducting an in-depth investigation into the root causes so we can apply what we learn across our operations and prevent this type of accident from ever happening again.
These tragic accidents highlight the need to redouble our efforts around integrating our Fatality Risk Management system across our business. Efforts in 2018 included:
- Verifying the effectiveness of critical controls – We conducted nearly 24,000 field-based critical control verifications during the year, with 22 percent found to be non-effective. Overall, the most non-effective critical controls were “fall of ground” (in both surface and underground mines) and “vehicle/pedestrian interactions” (in surface mines). All deficiencies were addressed prior to resuming work.
- Investigating near misses – The number of SPEs increased 6 percent compared to 2017. All events were investigated with findings and lessons learned shared across the organization.
- Completing audits – We completed independent audits against our fatality risk standards at all operating sites. Major non-conformance with the standards was the highest in relation to control of light vehicles in mining areas, isolation of energy sources, and documentation of critical electrical safety information.
- Improving processes – A cross-functional team reviewed all the fatality risk standards to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. We also engaged with some of our heavy equipment suppliers on design modifications to reduce risks.
- Implementing the next phase of our Fatality Risk Management program – Engaging frontline leaders in integrating critical controls into work activities – such as risk assessments, pre-start meetings, shift handovers and pre-operational checks on vehicles – is the focus for the next phase, which we will begin to implement in 2019.
(per 200,000 hours worked)*
|Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate
|Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate
|Permanently Disabling Injury
|Region||Exposure hours||Fatalities||Restricted work injuries||Medical treatment injuries||Lost day injuries||LTIFR||TRIFR|
* These figures include all project and exploration sites. We do not collect this data by gender. All data has been adjusted to reflect our reclassification of injuries and illnesses to align with ICMM guidelines.
(per 200,000 hours worked)
Our TRIFR for the year was 0.40, a decrease compared to 2017, but slightly above our target of 0.39. Although Newmont’s safety performance is consistently among the best of all ICMM member companies, we have higher expectations and are working to meet these.
During the year, we assessed all key safety programs and concluded that our efforts and resources are best dedicated to improving the quality of our investigations and associated safety interactions. We redesigned our safety interaction and lessons-learned processes to better reflect the role of frontline leaders.
With hand injuries accounting for around 45 percent of all our recorded injuries in 2018, we conducted 11 Kaizens (a continuous improvement process) focused on preventing arm and hand injuries across six sites during the year. The process, in which around 170 personnel were engaged through workshops, identified more than 170 opportunities to reduce or eliminate risks involving high-risk manual handling, tooling and live work. Findings were shared across the organization through an online community of practice.
We continued to evaluate technologies that improve our safety performance:
- In our North America and Australia regions, we began deploying the Connected Worker system. Connected Worker will improve our ability to track who we have on site at any particular time, and to confirm their credentials, training and certifications. The system will be expanded to our Africa and South America regions in 2019.
- We increased our fleet of autonomous equipment with the addition of two new loaders at the Subika Underground mine in Africa. The Boddington mine implemented the latest Wi-Fi technology in the surface mine and process plant, which will enable technologies, such as autonomous drilling, that improve safety. The Carlin operation in Nevada plans to grow its autonomous/semi-autonomous fleet to 10 to 11 units by the end of 2019.
- Our Tanami mine in Australia began testing MineStar, a suite of technologies for mobile underground that offers better location data to track people and equipment, and multiple-zone detection capabilities.
- Boddington continued to trial a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) strategy that includes Newmont’s first permanent full-time RPA specialist who is responsible for using drone technology in ways that mitigate risks including fatality risk hazards such as falls from heights and vehicle/pedestrian interactions.
- In 2018, a cross-functional team of representatives from every region and relevant functions was formed to develop and replicate solutions that eliminate the need for live work (i.e., exposure to unguarded and live energy sources within a working area) in the maintenance environment. This effort, which is highlighted in the Supply Chain Stewardship case study, will be expanded across the operational functions in 2019.
Among our contractor workforce, the implementation of our Supplier Risk Management program, which includes a pre-qualification process that screens suppliers against a number of risks, helped identify suppliers that posed potential health and safety risks so that we could engage on actions to address the issues.
Following a series of SPEs and injuries at some of our exploration sites, we had a global exploration “stand-down” where all work was stopped so team members could take the time to discuss safety concerns and reinforce safety policies and procedures. The stand-down aimed to refresh the team’s focus on and commitment to safety. Outcomes of the event included actions to reduce manual handling through new global exploration drilling requirements and expanding the Kaizen approach, and to reinforce having a project-level risk management plan in place prior to starting an exploration campaign.