The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) has released the 2015 mining safety report, with five members recording zero fatalities for the year.
It is the third annual report produced by ICMM, and aims to encourage information and knowledge-sharing among members in order to improve safety throughout the industry.
The council’s 23 member companies employ more than 900,000 employees worldwide, and recorded 60 deaths last year.
Australia has also recorded its lowest rate of fatalities in years, with only one incident to date.
Tom Butler, ICMM CEO, said, “Nothing is more important to us than people’s health and safety and ICMM’s ambition is to have no fatalities in the mining industry. Our members helped compile this report as part of their efforts to reduce fatalities and injuries in the mining sector.”
He welcomed the reduced number of fatalities and injuries between 2012 and 2014, however there was a slight increase in 2015.
“The mining and metals industry has been working hard to eliminate fatalities, but we acknowledge we still have a long way to go.”
The report showed a decrease in injuries from 13,895 in 2012 to 10,586 in 2015.
Seventy per cent of deaths were due to fall of ground in underground mines, machinery incidents, and transportation accidents.
Sixty per cent of the deaths occurred in South Africa.
Head of safety and sustainable development at the South African chamber of mines, Dr. Sizwe Phakathi, said the report helped identify the most common causes of injuries and deaths to help prevent them recurring in the future.
“While 2015 saw the lowest number of fatalities in South African mines we believe that a single mining death is one too many and we share the ICMM’s ambition of achieving zero fatalities in mining,” he said.
Butler went on to say that ongoing measurement and evaluation was important to driving safety improvements.
“The more data we collect, the more equipped we are to analyse common challenges and determine how to address them. We believe taking a collective approach allows us to make greater progress as an industry than if we tackled the issue individually.”
ICMM’s member companies also collaborated to create good practice guidelines on critical control management. It was based on the idea that certain controls are more crucial than others to prevent unwanted events or lessen their potential consequences.
The guidance highlights the importance of systematically identifying, assessing, implementing and evaluating those controls.
“We put people first, and as a high-risk industry, creating a strong safety culture is crucial. It is therefore essential that we continue to embed critical control management into our day-to-day operations,” Butler added.