Ashby slams BHP safety

BHP Iron Ore head Ian Ashby has called the company's safety record 'abysmal.'

The attitude to workplace safety amongst BHP Billiton’s workforce has become a major concern, the company’s iron ore president Ian Ashby said yesterday.

Speaking at the Diggers and Dealers conference in Kalgoorlie, Ashby said overall behaviour needed to be changed.

“There is complacency generally in Australia in the Australian workforce, and a bit of arrogance,” he said.

“I think some of that is quite manifest in the Pilbara.

“We need to continue to work on the behavioural attitude, both with ourselves as management, and with the people that participate in our activities.”

Ashby said BHP’s Catastrophic Risk Management process carried out over the past six months had identified several areas of risk which needed to be overhauled to improve its “abysmal” safety record.

“These are the risks that if not properly controlled will kill and we have had that experience, unfortunately,” he said.

Five BHP mining workers have been killed in unrelated incidents in Western Australia during the last financial year.

“Our safety performance has been abysmal and we are working feverishly on it,” he said.

“What we all need to do is pay a little more attention, or a lot more attention, to the critical controls that mitigate these risks.”

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