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Managing Collision Risks

Mobile equipment and light vehicle collision is one of BHP Billiton’s material safety risks and is consistently identified in our open-cut mining operations.

Over the past three years, one fatality and a number of significant events relating to mobile equipment and light vehicle collisions have occurred at our operations. Externally, the industry continues to experience fatalities and near-miss events due to this risk.

During FY2014, as part of our ongoing review of our material safety risks, we conducted a study of mobile equipment and light vehicle collision risks in our active open-cut mining operations. The aim of the review was to assess if the events, risk ratings and critical controls to manage these risks were appropriate, given current industry experience and standards.

Although critical controls vary across our open-cut operations, there are similar types of controls for managing mobile equipment and light vehicle collision risks, including communications, maintenance, training and competency.

Our assessments identified potential improvements through implementing further controls at the higher end of the hierarchy of controls (refer to diagram page 26), ensuring a greater focus on road design and the separation of mobile equipment and light vehicles. Work is ongoing across our open-cut operations to implement these improvements.

There is currently minimal use of proximity detection and collision avoidance systems, although this technology is still advancing. Our Group Health, Safety and Environment, Supply and Technology functions continue to work together, and with industry bodies, to understand, research and drive faster development of this technology.