BHP highlights diverse culture as key to safety

BHP Nickel West operation. Image: BHP

BHP Western Australia iron ore asset president Brandon Craig says a diverse culture is critical to a safe and highly productive workplace.

Speaking at this year’s Austmine conference, Craig said according to BHP analysis diverse teams meant less injuries, teams are more willing to speak up on safety, are more likely to follow safe work practices, are more likely to adhere to planned maintenance work, rate their job and their leader more favourably and are more likely to meet their production plans.

“This is quite compelling. However, we recognise that to continue this trend we will need to redesign work to make it more accessible to everyone,” Craig said.

“Engineering, technology, innovation, and creative thinking will give rise to an industry that will look different, feel different, and operate differently.

“But a far better industry to work in, one that is fundamentally safer, more dynamic, more creative, and better connected.

“Our Fatality Elimination Program, launched last year with Austmine, is part of a bigger global focus we have on permanently eliminating fatalities across our operations.”

Craig said the industry had seen significant improvements in safety performance due to greater levels of the automation process.

“This has typically taken the form of automating industrial processes and more recently load and haul fleets across mining operations,” he said.

“In this way, our operational processes have become intrinsically safer, year on year.

“Notably, risk is shifting progressively more and more into the maintenance domain, and how we extend engineering and technology in this area is going to grow in importance over these coming years.

“The more we can physically separate people from the sources of energy, the less likely we are to have someone hurt when things go wrong.”

Craig said technology reduces maintenance service time and gets the equipment back out into the mine faster.

“Imagine the results, across industry, if we all focused on the goal of eliminating live energy and high risk work from mining equipment, and what this could do for eliminating the risk of fatalities in our industry and pushing our productivity envelopes harder,” he said.

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