IGO pursues improvements after a ‘poor year’ of safety outcomes

IGO has vowed to double down on its commitment to improve the safety behaviours of its workforce, following sobering results in its annual report this year.

The company stated it had a “poor year” of safety outcomes for the 2020 fiscal year, following the death of a contractor’s employee at its Nova nickel-copper-cobalt operation in Western Australia in September last year.

IGO was unable to provide further details as the accident is still subject to review from the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, and potentially to future legal proceedings.

“We offer our condolences to this person’s family, friends and colleagues,” IGO stated.

The accident has led IGO to “redouble” its efforts to improve workplace safety, systems efficacy, workplace safety and wellbeing culture.

IGO recorded 27 reportable workplace injuries from its employees and contractors in the 2020 fiscal year, which it described as “unacceptable”.

It also suffered 26 serious and high potential incidents compared to 14 in the corresponding period.

IGO’s total reportable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) was at 16.9 for the 2020 financial year, compared to 9.6 in 2019 financial year.

“At the time of writing it has been some 10 months since the accident and we continue
to feel for the loss of his family and friends,” IGO chairman Peter Bilbe and managing director and chief executive officer Peter Bradford said in a joint statement.

“These events impacted our team deeply and tested our unique culture, but we are proud of the way in which our people have supported each other and shown that we really are better together.”

The company stated it had completed an engagement survey of its workforce to review its safety management and culture.

The results found its workers had a strong incident and hazard reporting culture, and actively pursued business improvement.

But the report also found that renewed focus needed to be attributed to the visibility of IGO leaders “on the job”; long-term safety risk reduction and process safety; the management of critical risks and their controls; consistent organisational discipline for adherence to safety procedures; and the direct mentoring of people on site to follow good safety practices.

“Despite our ongoing commitment to safety, we are disappointed that our safety performance was below where we would like it to be, with our total reportable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) increasing over the course of the year,” Bilbe and Bradford said.

“As a result, we have implemented a safety improvement plan focussed on our systems of work, workplace hazard reduction and the behaviours known to lead to better safety outcomes.”