Safety and Health

We pride ourselves on ensuring we conduct business safely and responsibly. From how we work with our suppliers and manufacture our products to how we deliver for our customers, we aim to minimise negative environmental and social impacts.

Safety

Our commitment to the health and safety of our people and keeping our operations and products secure is our priority, always. We maintain a relentless focus on preventing fatalities and serious injuries. By operating responsibly, continuously improving our practices and leveraging smart technology, we are helping enable safer environments for our people, customers, business partners, and those who live and work in our communities of operation.

Our Safety, Health and Environment Policy affirms our aspiration to avoid harm, empower our people to perform their tasks safely and responsibly, and continuously improve our performance.

To guide our people in workplace health and safety, we have a comprehensive set of group standards and procedures which form our Safety, Health, Environment and Security Management System. These documents specify the requirements and controls that must be in place to protect our people, customers, and communities.

Health 

We care about the health and wellbeing of our people and work to minimise the potential for adverse health impacts associated with the workplace. We set minimum standards for managing health and wellbeing which is subject to continuous improvement through regular internal auditing and review to assess effectiveness.

Our focus is on controlling exposure to material harmful agents, managing fitness for work and building health systems and frameworks that allow us to enhance the physical and mental wellbeing of our people.  

Spotlight on

  • Augmented reality 
  • WebGen™
  • Ammonium nitrate

Augmented reality facilitates continuity of safety procedures during COVID-19

spotlight on AROrica has been working with US company MIRA to develop and deploy Augmented Reality (AR) headsets to our global manufacturing sites. The technology is fitted to hard hats and allows a computer-generated image to be superimposed on a user’s view of the real world. The technology has been called upon during the COVID-19 pandemic to support the continuity of safety procedures during periods of restriction on travel. 

By connecting plant operators and frontline supervisors with remote experts AR allows: 

  • remote verification of our key controls 
  • contact free support from experts 
  • remote safety inductions 
  • faster resolution of plant issues and reduced downtime

Looking forward it is anticipated that the rollout of AR across our geographically dispersed operating sites will enhance our safety performance and reduce costs associated with travel. 

Wireless detonators supporting customers safety performance

spotlight on webgenIn 2020, Nexa Resources deployed our WebGen™ 100 wireless detonators at the Vazante zinc and lead mine in Brazil to overcome a common problem. Nexa was using the vertical retreat mining method at Vazante, a method that requires pillars of minable ore to be left in place for the purpose of maintaining the stability of the rock mass. The mining of these pillars at the end of the operation is a challenging aspect of this method as it exposes workers to heavily damaged and backfilled areas of the mine. 

Rather than require workers to re-enter the mine to load downholes, program detonators and fire the shot, the final pillar at Vazante was preloaded with 88 WebGen™ 100 wireless units before access to the adjacent areas was lost.  

Once the ore from the block had been extracted and the pillar was no longer required to provide stability, the WebGen™ detonators were remotely initiated via ultra-low frequency signal after a 33-day sleep time. 

“The blast happened two levels below us, so we are 400m away above the shot. All encoded signals were sent through the rock with the safety protocols to fire the blast being followed.” 

Mateus Ribeiro, Chief Mining Engineer, Nexa Resources

Response to tragedy in Beirut

AN safety spotlight.pngIn August 2020, following the tragic explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, our Major Hazard Management verification process was rapidly deployed to assess the long-established controls in place to prevent such an event occurring at Orica facilities. 

As part of the process, over 400 verifications were completed globally in under a month. These detailed verifications looked at the key controls we require at all our operational sites to safely store ammonium nitrate (AN) including how we segregate incompatible or combustible materials from AN and control potential ignition sources from our product.

While some opportunities for enhancing our safety and risk management controls were identified, robust key controls to manage safe storage of AN are in place. Stakeholders can be assured this risk continues to be well managed by our business. 

Read more about AN storage at Kooragang Island, Australia.