Safety remains Anglo American's number one priority. Everyone who works at Anglo American has the right to return home injury free and the Company's role is to make this a consistent reality. The Group's vision is to eliminate fatal and other injuries in the workplace, thus achieving zero harm.
Certain mining activities are of significantly higher risk than others, while many on-site employees work under challenging conditions. Anglo American has worked consistently to understand these risks, learn from previous incidents and implement risk mitigating strategies, including systems, processes, infrastructure and behaviour.
During 2009, 19 people lost their lives on Company business(1). While any loss of life is unacceptable, this nevertheless represents an encouraging 32% improvement on 2008 (28)(2). The Group's fatal injury frequency rate (FIFR) also showed a 33% improvement from 0.015 in 2008 to 0.010 in 2009.
In 2009, there were longer periods of safe operation throughout the Group. The Copper, Nickel, Metallurgical Coal, Kumba Iron Ore and Exploration business units remained fatality free, fatalities at the Thermal Coal business dropped by 50% year-on-year, and Anglo Platinum recorded its first ever fatality free four months from October 2009 to January 2010.
Despite reductions in the total number of all leading causes of deaths, transportation (six; 32%) and falls of ground (five; 26%) were once again the primary causes of most fatal injuries. Both these high risk areas are receiving priority attention.
During the year, Anglo American conducted a global transportation safety audit at 13 mines across all business units in order to gain a detailed understanding of the related challenges. The findings and recommendations from the audit have provided a clear understanding and definition of the nature and scale of the attendant risks. A task force is being established with the aim of achieving lasting improvements to the overall management of transport risks.
Anglo Platinum has identified falls of ground management as a major strategic focus and a system has been developed to integrate and refine existing efforts to eliminate falls of ground. The system is supported by a 'no rock will fall uncontrolled' policy and consists of six pillars designed to cater for the different aspects and phases of risks associated with falls of ground.
Anglo American's 2009 lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of 0.76 has continued its downward trend, showing a 27% year-on-year improvement (2008: 1.04). The most frequent risks associated with LTIs vary from operation to operation, and are addressed through operational safety improvement plans.
The Anglo Safety Way details the Company's safety vision, principles, policy, and safety management system standards. It is complemented by a concise set of safety golden rules and fatal risk standards and outlines what is expected of the Group's leadership and its operations. Each site implements operation-specific safety improvement plans with progress tracked via, inter alia, the Group safety and sustainable development assurance programme. During 2009, some 2,300 people received training on the Company's award winning safety risk management programme, bringing the total since inception to 3,600.
Anglo American will continue to drive further standardisation and consistency of systems, processes and procedures with the aim of consolidating them all into a single integrated global safety, health and environment management system by the end of 2010. To check the effectiveness of management controls put in place to reduce safety risks, the Group sustainable development risk and assurance team will conduct audits throughout 2010 across all business units on falls of ground, contractor management, and electricity isolation.