Safety, Health, Community and the Environment are at the core of everything we do at BHP. Each year we celebrate the people in our business who exemplify these core values.
This year we have an amazing and diverse array of finalist from across our business who have demonstrated incredible leadership and initiative to enhance the safety, community, health and environmental outcomes of our business.
2019 HSEC Awards Finalists
Step change injury prevention – A damage reduction initiative at Cliffs
Nickel West, Minerals Australia
The Cliffs underground mining operation at Nickel West, Australia, is a physically challenging work environment with variable road conditions, tight tunnels, temperature fluctuations and high levels of manual work.
After the mine recorded the highest Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) in Nickel West during FY2017, the team set out to evaluate the causes and approach to injury prevention.
Although the data pointed to a concentration of soft tissue injuries, it was evident to the team that to make a sustainable improvement, they would need to improve the health and safety culture at the mine. To meet this need, the team launched the Step Change Injury
Prevention initiative in FY2018. This included: promoting and empowering effective leadership; providing forums for open and honest health and safety discussions; a more focused physiotherapy intervention approach; and increased engineering controls to further mitigate injury risks.
Through their improved approach to reducing workplace injuries and fostering a more positive health and safety culture, Cliffs achieved a TRIFR of zero for FY2018, and the incidence of occupational illness decreased by 91 per cent for the same year. This outcome was unsurpassed within Nickel West, and has become best practice across Minerals Australia. The project has also improved overall productivity at Cliffs, and has enabled more diverse workforce participation by removing some of the more physically demanding manual tasks.
Better sleep, safer mine: Fatigue reduction through roster change
Western Australia Iron Ore, Minerals Australia
Mining employees at Western Australia Iron Ore’s (WAIO) Mount Whaleback operations have worked a two-day, two-night, four-day off roster for the past 20 years. But the roster’s short duration and the rapid change from day to night shift had become a potential fatigue concern for the workforce. The Whaleback eam took a holistic and comprehensive approach to review rosters across the operation, and identify a solution.
Strong leadership and an extensive employee engagement plan was central to the successful roll out of the new, even time ‘Lifestyle Roster’. The team also engaged our Employee Assistance Program to provide employee and community fatigue workshops, and a Better Sleep Program. Functional teams stepped up to help prepare employees for the change, including putting housing and flexible work arrangements in place where needed.
Since the Lifestyle Roster has been in place, Mount Whaleback has achieved a 60 per cent reduction in fatigue related events among haul truck operators, and for the first time we have been able to directly measure the safety outcomes of a roster change. Not only has the team achieved a material risk reduction, they have also made a broader impact on employee and community health and wellbeing, and improved the operation’s productivity. The approach now provides a proven methodology to consider for potential future workforce changes across BHP, and will contribute to industry fatigue research.
Supporting our people through organisational change and a natural disaster
Care for our people was paramount for the Petroleum team as it faced significant organisational change and a major natural disaster, Hurricane Harvey, during FY2018.
With strong support from leaders, the Communications, HR and HSE teams formed a close alliance to roll out a range of initiatives to support our people, and the business, through these challenges.
The Communications approach aimed to provide timely, transparent information while remaining sensitive to the emotional impacts on employees. HR provided a range of measures including assistance during hurricane response and recovery, and supporting employees through the business transition by involving them in decision making, and offering personal and professional development opportunities. HSE sought to ensure health risks were well managed by leveraging extra support from our Employee Assistance Program and rolling out BHP’s peer-led Resilience Program. The project applied a dynamic, tailored approach to consider both the urgent needs of employees, and how to manage the more enduring impacts on their wellbeing.
With high levels of participation across all initiatives, this work has created a positive cultural shift in the Petroleum workforce. It has also established BHP’s reputation as an industry leader in mental health and wellness, with Mental Health America of Greater Houston recognising their efforts through the prestigious Ima Hogg Award.
Integrated fatigue and drowsiness program
Escondida, Minerals Americas
Across our global operations we manage a range of potential fatigue risks for our people.
At Escondida mine in Chile this is especially challenging at over 3,000 metres above sea level, with fatigue and drowsiness found to be leading contributors to the risk of material road accidents at the site. To help address this, the team identified the opportunity to evaluate sleep disorders and conditions associated with working at altitude.
The project took a holistic and localised approach to assessing sleep hygiene and fatigue risks. The HSE team began by engaging external providers to perform sleep assessments on the most vulnerable mine operators and transport providers. Later, they integrated the application of the SmartCap safety technology device to read brainwaves, identify micro-sleeps, alert operators and identify the hours of greatest risk.
Since the program’s inception, 739 employees have been evaluated and 178 of those have received specialised treatment for associated sleep disorders. These employees are now having their fatigue proactively managed so they can safely perform their work, with flow on benefits to their personal health and productivity at the mine. The success of the project was underpinned by strong operational leadership, and could be applied in other operations with similar challenges.
Standardisation of fatality risks at Minerals Americas
HSE, Minerals Americas
Despite having similar operations and exposure to the same potential fatality risks, Minerals Americas identified variations in the way these risks were managed across different sites. In 2016, they launched a standardisation initiative across the region.
They developed a process for the identification, definition and management of critical controls for the ten most common risks in Minerals Americas, which generated about 97 per cent of all significant safety events in FY2017.
To seek to ensure the same level of protection for everyone, the standardised process includes: a risk analysis in a single bowtie diagram for all operations; the same critical and non-critical controls for each risk; a Standardised Critical Control Verification Process; and on-site implementation of unique and standardised Safety Instructions.
Using the Field Leadership database to record and track effectiveness, the process has contributed to a reduction in the number of significant safety events. The simple, practical approach, along with a collaborative and consultative design process, was critical to its success.
Controlling the uncontrollable: Trailing cable innovation and improvement campaign
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Minerals Australia
High Voltage Trailing cables are flexible electrical cables used to power mobile machinery such as draglines, shovels, drills and other ancillary equipment. Damage to a trailing cable can result in uncontrolled release of energy, causing a high potential incident. The project team at BMA decided to identify the root causes for these incidents and rework the issues from the ground up.
The team designed, developed, trialed and implemented a new, reengineered cable type, along with an awareness campaign to educate the workforce about cable risks and how to interact with them safely. Importantly, the educational materials were created by peers, for peers, to ensure successful engagement of the frontline workforce.
Since being rolled out at two BMA sites, the project has achieved a significant reduction in cable risk, along with reduced downtime and maintenance costs. It has also been widely acknowledged by regulators and industry peers, and has prompted a review of the industry standard itself.
Cleaning system for infrared sensors of motor tachometer of SAG 5 mill
Escondida, Minerals Americas
Tachometers are used by the mill control system within the concentrators at our Escondida operations to determine the mill motor’s position and verify its speed. The infrared sensors within the tachometers regularly become covered in dust, preventing optimal operation of the motor. Previously, maintenance workers had to go inside the motor to clean the sensors over 20 times each year.
This cleaning process potentially exposed the workers to four fatality risks, including contact with electricity, entrapment, working in confined spaces and working at height.
Various measures were in place to control each of these risks, but the team decided to look further for a ‘higher order’ solution.
Working with experts from the equipment manufacturer to investigate options, the maintenance team came up with a simple and cost effective automatic cleaning system.
Not only did this new system completely eliminate the four potential fatality risks, it also led to a 95 per cent improvement in tachometer failure response time and has improved concentrator production performance. This unique and innovative solution could be applied at any of our sites using this type of equipment.
Ship loader anti-collision and automation program
Western Australia Iron Ore, Minerals Australia
Collisions between ship loaders and vessels at BHP’s Port Hedland operations pose serious potential risks of significant equipment damage, operational downtime, and safety issues for both vessels and crew.
To reduce these risks, the Technology, Engineering and Integrated Production and Remote Operations (IPRO) teams collaborated with the Port Production team on a solution.
The pilot system on Ship Loader 3 (SL3) used state of the art 3D LiDAR (laser) technology to implement an advanced anti-collision system.
They also developed an automation system for the ship loaders that uses models and sensor data to determine how to safely load the vessel. To date, approximately 1 million tonnes have been loaded autonomously by SL3, culminating in the autonomous loading of an entire vessel in October 2017. This is the world’s first autonomous ship loader and a significant achievement for the project team.
Work is underway to roll out the automation system to the remaining ship loaders at BHP’s Port Hedland operations, and core components of the system are directly transferable to other types of machines both at mine and port.
Emissions from the transportation and distribution of BHP’s products represent a material source of Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). As one of the largest dry bulk charterers in the world, we believe we have a responsibility to seek to influence emissions reductions across the full lifecycle of our products, including shipping.
The Sustainable Shipping project took a holistic and forward thinking approach to look at how we can reduce our shipping emissions and rethink how we deliver commodities to our customers on the 1,500 voyages we charter each year.
The project covered three streams. The first involved collaboration with industry organisations to develop an emissions-based rating system for ships. Next, they took steps to progress the application of marine biofuels, which can significantly reduce carbon emissions, as an alternative fuel source for dry bulk vessels. Finally, the team led a joint industry project to progress liquefied natural gas as a viable fuel source for vessels travelling the ’Green Corridor‘ between Australia and China.
In a challenging environment, the project is already influencing transformative change across the industry. In FY2018, we decided not to accept vessels with the poorest emissions ratings, and this resulted in a 12 per cent reduction in emissions for BHP’s chartered fleet compared to industry benchmarks. We are also seeing action from ship owners who are starting to modify vessel design to reduce emissions. This work is a critical part of BHP’s focus on reducing emissions, and the principles applied here are relevant in many other scenarios.
WAIO’s biodiversity strategy - Why thinking big enables effective biodiversity management in the Pilbara
Western Australia Iron Ore, Minerals Australia
BHP owns, leases or manages over 13,500km2 of land in Western Australia’s Pilbara, a large area of important biodiversity value that could potentially be impacted by our operations.
Previously, consistent biodiversity data wasn’t available on a large scale or on a common platform. Surveys were commissioned to meet the needs of individual projects, and collection methods were varied.
Identifying the gap, WAIO brought together an in-house ecology team to take a more holistic, strategic approach to conducting biodiversity surveys across all WAIO assets.
The team worked with regulators to create new guidelines and policies, and bring historical survey data together into one platform to enable stronger analysis. They also developed common safety procedures for the wellbeing of consultants in the challenging Pilbara conditions.
With these new standards in place, the WAIO team can now identify biodiversity risks earlier in the planning process and commission further surveys to reduce the likelihood of biodiversity risks. Importantly, with a more holistic understanding of the data, WAIO can help strengthen biodiversity outcomes for the region and create flexibility for the growth of the business into the future.
Ningaloo Reef research and conservation project
BHP Petroleum’s Australian Production Unit operates the Pyrenees Floating Production Storage and Offloading facility and the Macedon gas field, 14 km from the UNESCO World Heritage, Ningaloo Reef Marine Park.
The reef is home to a huge diversity of marine life, but has historically had limited scientific research conducted. To ensure our operations were meeting legislative requirements, the team set out to address the management and protection of this special area.
In collaboration with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the team gathered new, scientifically defensible information on shallow and deep-water habitats, and shark and turtle populations, to enable better conservation outcomes. By merging science with community engagement, they have also been able to educate and build sustainable relationships with local stakeholders to support ongoing reef management.
By making the results publicly available, this project has made an invaluable contribution to business planning for both BHP and other local operators, as well as informing broader reef management policy. The project allows BHP to demonstrate its commitment to playing its part in protecting Australia’s natural assets and building capacity for environmental management in the communities where we operate.
Sustainable action: Pathways to creating value through carbon emission reductions
Minerals Americas, Chile
Secure, sustainable and price-competitive power supply is key for the future demands of Escondida and BHP’s Chile operations, in particular the Escondida Water Supply.
After approving a coal-fired power plant to meet this need, in 2012 the team made the bold decision to switch to building a lower carbon emitting natural gas plant, despite its initially higher operating costs. Commissioned in 2017, the Kelar Project is a greenfield, natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant in the north of Chile.
Creating a new operator for the Chilean grid, the Kelar power plant has increased competition within the local power market, while increasing the potential for a broader transition of the country’s energy to more sustainable sources. Additionally, it is only the second gas-fired power project in the world to obtain certified emissions credits through the relevant Kyoto Protocol’s Clean Development Mechanism methodology. These credits will be monetised to fund step change projects in our Chilean assets to reduce greenhouse gases and support long-term sustainability.
With a multi-disciplinary team and strong leadership support, this project applied a strategic, forward-looking approach to our goal of producing safe and sustainable copper over the long term in Chile. It also aligns with BHP’s strategy to accelerate the transition to lower carbon sources of electricity while balancing cost, reliability and emissions reductions.
Local crib relief program
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Minerals Australia
The Local Crib Relief Program identified the opportunity to change the existing approach of ‘truck crib relief,’ to improve workplace diversity, support the delivery of production targets and reduce costs at BMA’s Saraji mine in Queensland, Australia. Truck crib relief involves ‘hot seating’ of trucks to allow operations to continue while drivers take their scheduled meal breaks. Previously, people
from outside of the local community filled many of these roles.
After consulting with the local Dysart Women in Mining group, the Saraji team decided to reduce shift length to better align with school hours. This helped to unlock a new and more diverse local talent pool. In just the first few weeks, the program received more than 120 applications.
This simple yet effective solution created 48 new employment opportunities, achieved significant cost savings for the business, and injected an extra $4 million AU in wages into the local community.
The program has improved operational outcomes by creating a more stable, flexible workforce of local people, and has significantly reduced absenteeism. It has also led to improved gender diversity within the team, an improvement in culture and morale, and growth in the local community. The project is easily replicated, and BMA is looking at options to apply it elsewhere.
Martulu Palyalu (‘Strong Martu, strong culture, healthy country’)
Corporate Affairs, Australia
The Martu are the Traditional Owners of 13.6 million hectares of land in central Western Australia, an area twice the size of Tasmania. In 2007, BHP identified an opportunity to better engage with the Martu people and facilitate ongoing connection and reconnection for one of the oldest continuing traditional customary cultures in Australia.
Based on the fundamental Martu belief that the existence of Indigenous people on country is good for country and for people, the Martulu Palyalu project employs over 300 Martu and 30 non-Martu people across a range of social, cultural and environmental programs in collaboration with the local Martu organisation, Kanyirninpa Jukurrpa.
Along with bringing meaningful employment, over its 10 year history the project has made an AU$3.5 million direct economic contribution to families, provided positive role models for children in the community, and produced significant conservation outcomes.
Importantly, the partnership has enabled the Martu to return to their country and preserve their culture for generations to come.
The project is considered a leading example of Indigenous land management by the Western Australian Government, and is recognised throughout local and international communities. Elements of the partnership are now being replicated in other parts of BHP.
Minerals Australia Indigenous employment plan
Human Resources, Australia
Indigenous people are an important part of BHP’s organisation and the communities in which we operate. In Australia, as in many regions of the world, Indigenous people have been and remain some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
Built on the principles of Western Australia Iron Ore’s 2016 HSEC award winning project, Changing Lives of Indigenous People, the Minerals Australia Indigenous Employment Plan sets a national approach to improving employment opportunities at BHP. It demonstrates our contribution to addressing social and economic disadvantages faced by Indigenous communities in Australia.
To evolve the cultural and employment landscape at BHP, the plan established tangible programs and ambitious targets to recruit and upskill Indigenous employees, while supporting assets and leaders in recruitment processes and cultural awareness. Additionally, by championing Indigenous education organisations, the plan aligns with BHP’s broader social investment strategy and complements the BHP Foundation’s education initiatives.
With a collaborative approach to engaging the business, the program is having a significant impact. A number of assets are already on track to meet our 2020 Reconciliation Action Plan goal of achieving 5.75 per cent Indigenous representation in the Minerals Australia workforce by FY2020. We are now working to apply the Minerals Australia approach across other BHP operating regions.
Strengthening economic empowerment of women in Coloso
Escondida, Minerals Americas
In 2008, women living in the small fishing port of Coloso, Chile banded together to form the Sindicato de Mujeres del Mar (Union of Women of the Sea) to provide opportunities and a means to contribute financially to the traditionally male dominated culture and community.
As home to Escondida’s industrial facilities, Coloso is strategically important to our operations and a positive, proactive relationship with the local community is critical. Partnerships such as this one are key to our efforts to improve social and economic outcomes for the region.
The Union identified an opportunity to repair, make and sell customised diving suits to support the local fishing community. With financial support and guidance from Escondida, the women were able to complete training, source suppliers, and design a sustainable business model. Since they began, they have produced over 140 diving suits and are now beginning to grow the business into other areas of Chile beyond the Antofagasta region.
Importantly, the project has had a broader cultural impact on the community by increasing recognition for the role of women, and enabling an independent, sustainable livelihood for the women and their community. It has also strengthened BHP’s trust and understanding with the Coloso community.
Operations Manager Trinidad and Tobago Production Unit
Petroleum, Trinidad and Tobago
With a focus on education and empowering her team in the Trinidad and Tobago Production Unit (TTPU), Dawn Allen takes a proactive approach to managing safety and continuously improving the standards of our safety processes and culture.
Dawn has implemented and advocated for a series of programs including the Process Safety Competency initiative and the Field Leadership Program, to educate, equip and empower the team to own safety improvements and ensure they are sustainable. In each case, Dawn proactively developed workshops and materials to increase the accessibility and uptake of training across all levels of the operations team. She applies a continuous improvement mindset to everything she does, and her strong leadership is reflected in improved safety performance across the TTPU in FY2018.
Along with driving greater safety accountability across her team, Dawn also exemplifies the concept of ‘chronic unease’.
She not only calls out risks and opportunities, but also volunteers to support corrective action. Dawn’s approach reflects her belief that world-class sustainability performance comes from a shared mindset, with every team member pulling in the same direction.
Vice President Freight
Rashpal’s passion for sustainability and his drive to challenge the status quo and continuously improve safety and performance standards has established him as a leader in the global maritime industry. He has played a key role in leading transformative change by inspiring BHP and the dry bulk shipping industry more broadly to harness technological innovations along the supply chain.
Since leading BHP’s introduction of an emissions-based rating system for ships, Rashpal has leveraged his standing in the industry to advocate for improved environmental performance across the maritime sector. This work is influencing a broader shift in industry standards.Rashpal is widely recognised for his commitment to culture and the wellbeing of his colleagues and the local community. He is actively involved in the BHP Singapore Charity and Community Committee, and dedicates time to raising awareness for mental wellness in the shipping industry. His influence in building a culture of performance, care and trust within the BHP Freight team is evident from year-on-year improvements across all dimensions of the team’s Engagement and Perception Survey results.
Principal Community and Indigenous Affairs
Operations Americas, Minerals Americas
For over a decade, Alejandra Garcés has worked with community stakeholders across Chile to develop long-term sustainable partnerships with a focus on the importance of understanding, authenticity, mutual respect and trust.
She has grown BHP’s cultural program in Chile from its small beginnings to one that now reaches more than 35,000 people in five different cities around the country. These partnerships have earned BHP widespread recognition as a trusted business partner, helping to bridge the gap between the mining industry and the community. Her programs, including the ‘Pre-Columbian Museum’ and Taranathi Exhibition have also forged important connections between the Chilean and South Australian communities.
Alejandra’s contribution goes well beyond community and Indigenous affairs. She has been an active supporter of BHP’s mental health agenda, improving safety standards among partner organisations, and a number of significant environmental projects.
Her strategic thinking and drive for productivity and simplicity continues to strengthen social outcomes for BHP across Chile, and her contribution will leave a lasting legacy well beyond the Company’s operations.
Head of Geoscience
Coal, Minerals Australia
Adam Webb’s career as a geologist with BHP has taken him around the world, working with diverse teams of many different backgrounds and languages. This experience has driven Adam to build a team culture of sustainability and respect.
In his role at Coal, he has created an environment where people feel safe to speak up, and are energised and empowered in their roles. Adam believes this culture is the key to unlocking high performance. One of his standout achievements is his leadership during the transition from drilling to 3D seismic surveys. He took a collaborative approach to develop and build the capability of his team to safely and productively manage this new way of working.
Adam’s approach has achieved significant results. His team improved their identification and reporting of hazards, resulting in an increase in the number of reported hazards from 13 in FY2017 to 127 in FY2018, and their engagement and perception survey esults have improved across all categories.
He has put considerable focus on lifting both the quantity and quality of hazard reporting associated with the potential material and fatal risks in his team’s operating environment.
Adam is also a champion of inclusion and diversity, and he has taken active steps to improve gender balance and Indigenous representation in his team.