BHP Billiton today said that it accepts, in principle, all the key recommendations that apply to the company from the recent Ministerial Inquiry into health and safety systems and practices at its Pilbara iron ore operations.
State Development Minister Clive Brown commissioned the Inquiry, conducted by Perth barrister Mr Mark Ritter, in June 2004.
President BHP Billiton Iron Ore Graeme Hunt said that while the company is still reviewing the Inquiry report, its initial response was that the key recommendations would enhance its existing health and safety initiatives.
“We will develop an action plan to help achieve the desired outcomes of the Inquiry and look forward to meeting with the Minister to discuss the proposed timing and structures of the recommendations,” he said.
“While many of the Inquiry’s key recommendations appear to mirror initiatives that have been put in place at our operations over the past 12 months, we will expand our current plans to take the Inquiry recommendations into account and will work with contractors on the recommendations that apply to them.”
These initiatives include:
- Ensuring standardised safety systems and procedures;
- Further encouraging employees to raise safety issues;
- Implementing Fatal Risk Control Protocols;
- Reviewing fatigue management programs; and
- Enhancing supervisor and employee safety training
Mr Hunt also said the recommendations relating to the Boodarie Iron Plant, which is currently being placed in care and maintenance mode, would be adopted in the event that a decision is made to recommission the plant.
“We are committed to continuous improvement in our health and safety performance and the recommendations from the Inquiry will help shape the way we move towards achieving our goal of Zero Harm to people and the environment,” he said.
“The safety of our employees and contractors is our highest priority and will always take precedence over production.”