Our highest priority is the safety of our workforce and the communities where we operate.
BHP’s Our Charter value of Sustainability articulates safety as a fundamental element in the way we conduct our business. The safety of our people and the communities where we operate must always come first. By their nature, our working environments potentially expose our workforce and the communities where we operate to risks. Therefore, our objective is to identify those risks and implement controls to prevent or mitigate the potential impacts. Our assessment of safety risks also includes, where relevant, consideration of potential community impacts and controls to manage these broader impacts.
We set global safety priorities in FY2016 that continue to guide our decision-making and approach to safety. The four focus areas are:
- reinforce that safety comes before productivity
- continuous focus on in-field verification of controls for risks with the potential to result in one or more fatalities
- enhance our internal investigation process and widely share and apply lessons
- enable additional quality field time to engage our workforce
Safety management systems are governed by the Our Requirements for Health, Safety, Environment and Climate Change and Community (HSEC) standards and the BHP Risk Framework. At a minimum, our operated assets and functions must meet the Our Requirements standards (where applicable) and assess and implement further controls in accordance with their local risk profiles, standards and regulatory requirements. The Our Requirements for Safety standard requires the implementation of controls to manage identified risks using the hierarchy of control (elimination, substitution, separation, engineering, administrative, personal protective equipment) in:
- design and construction of new operated assets, facilities and equipment
- changes to existing operated assets, facilities and equipment
- design, planning, scheduling and execution of work
We believe having the right controls in place to manage risks that have safety impacts will lead to improved safety outcomes. Our leaders are accountable for implementing the Our Requirements standards and ensuring supporting systems and processes are in place. For example, creating an environment where everyone feels safe to report any threats to their own safety or the safety of others, including supporting workers who stop a job due to a safety-related concern. We continue to engage with our workforce, which we believe improves our safety performance. We communicate relevant safety information to workers through several global and local communication pathways across the organisation, including in-field leaders discussing job-specific safety risks, coaching from HSEC Business Partners, Safe Starts and Toolbox Talks, digital media and implementation guidelines.
Subject matter experts across our operated assets and functions are also engaged to participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of the Our Requirements standards relevant to safety. Formal joint leadership and worker health and safety committees exist within a number of our operated assets and functions and are driven by local regulatory requirements. Committees meet on a regular basis and general responsibilities include identifying health and safety improvements and supporting the implementation of health and safety initiatives.
BHP ’s Risk Appetite Statement is approved by the Board and is a foundational element of the Risk Framework and BHP’s approach to safety. Key risk indicators are developed to monitor performance against risk appetite . Within BHP, trained and qualified employees have specific responsibilities to manage fatality risks, in accordance with the Risk Framework. At a global level, we monitor and take action to manage performance against our risk appetite. At a local level, risk owners and control owners are accountable for the implementation and evaluation of controls to manage the risks within risk appetite. Risk and control owners are supported by the Risk and Health, Safety and Environment functions.
We achieved our second consecutive fatality-free year at our operated assets in FY2021 and demonstrated improvements across key safety metrics. This supported our safety performance target of zero fatalities and year-on-year improvement in total recordable injury frequency (TRIF).
We have a sustained focus on managing our risks through new and existing programs of work, including:
- Safety event investigations
- Fatality Elimination Program
- Integrated Contractor Management Program
- Field Leadership Program
- Security, Crisis and Emergency Management, and Business Continuity Plans
We also continue to build our culture, capability and leadership through supporting the BHP Operating System (BOS) and initiatives related to inclusion and diversity, and mental health.
We continue to play a key role in supporting the International Council on Mining and Metals in its work to encourage the development and delivery of innovations that promote lower emissions and safer mining vehicles.
Safety event investigations
Our mandatory minimum performance requirements for health, safety, environment and community reporting requires all HSEC events to be reported and recorded in our Event Management System. During FY2019, we introduced our improved and more intuitive Event Management System. The system has allowed us to report incident investigations and share information across BHP so that we can learn from those incidents. In FY2020, we enhanced our Event Management System to allow events to be recorded in more detail to enable deeper analysis and continuous improvement. Hazard reporting is encouraged as a proactive measure to help reduce the number of near-miss and significant events that might result in injury.
Event and investigation processes are governed through our global standards for event and investigation management (in addition to any local regulatory requirements). An event is any occurrence that has resulted in or has the potential to result in adverse impacts to people, the environment or the local community and is classified on its potential and actual severity using our risk management severity table).
Near-miss and injury events with fatality potential have minimum investigation requirements based on event severity. This includes prescribing the method of investigation to be used in addition to identifying the requirement for a trained investigation lead and facilitator. This approach is designed to drive actions at the higher end of the hierarchy of control to prevent event reoccurrence. Senior leaders are involved in leading these investigations, which is intended to positively impact their ability to share lessons and influence learning across their leadership networks and routines.
Organisational factors are examined to consider whether they contributed to an event. Investigation findings and actions are required to be recorded, monitored and communicated through the global Event Management System. The investigation of an event with a HSEC impact must be completed within 28 days of the event occurring or being discovered (investigation extensions require approval). Any gaps identified in the causes or controls in place are required to be managed to prevent or minimise further impacts. We promote the reporting of events so that we can learn and seek to avoid the reoccurrence of events. Our Code of Conduct and EthicsPoint processes are designed to support and encourage event reporting and to protect our workers against any potential reprisals from doing so.
Fatality Elimination Program
Analysis of the Group’s historical safety performance, investigation outcomes and external safety best practice approaches have identified further opportunity to enable BHP to take additional steps in eliminating fatalities. In FY2021, we introduced our Fatality Elimination Program to support a step-change towards our goal of zero fatalities across BHP. The program seeks to integrate with existing programs of work where possible and primarily focuses on improving:
- controls – identifying new and improving existing controls across our top 10 safety risks
- human performance – understanding the human dependencies associated with controls and strengthening the control environment to minimise the degree of dependency and support optimal performance
A suite of over 60 recommended controls was identified comprising new available controls and material improvements to existing controls. Where applicable, our operated assets and functions conducted assessments against the recommended controls and prioritised the implementation.
Mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) organisations were engaged to provide control solutions, including controls identified across industry as emerging in safety innovation. These controls have been evaluated for potential implementation within BHP based on applicability, effectiveness and readiness for implementation.
A project team was established to coordinate global objectives for BHP associated with this work, including global fatality elimination roadmaps; updates to the global minimum safety requirements; and central coordination of selected control and human performance improvement initiatives.
Integrated Contractor Management programOver half of the fatalities at our operated assets over the last 10 years involved contractors or subcontractors. This has brought into sharp focus the issue of contractor safety, given contractors comprise more than 50 per cent of our workforce.
Our Integrated Contractor Management (ICM) program is designed to make it safer and easier for our contractors to work with BHP at our operated assets. Introduced in FY2020, the program is focused on building long-term mutually beneficial relationships, integrating and simplifying processes and systems, and creating an inclusive, respectful and caring workforce culture.
In early 2021, we issued our mandatory minimum performance requirements for contractor management to establish how we work with contractors (including subcontractors and consultants) across BHP globally. This is intended to drive best practice by guiding leaders on how they can effectively work together with contractors, subcontractors and partners.
To embed the minimum requirements, a number of initiatives and tools were developed in FY2021:
- Our Contract Execution Plan was co-developed with our vendor partners to define key performance indicators, accountabilities and agreed ways of working to help to deliver safer, stronger performance and better cultural outcomes.
- An Operational Tiering Model was introduced to assist in defining the minimum requirements for roles involved in the contract management process and the engagement level for new partnerships. This model incorporates work scope, risks and contract arrangements to enable the assessment.
- Our Scope of Work Library Resource Centre supports users to build improved scopes of work with helpful guidance and support materials. The resource centre will grow over time, providing a platform for our people to share best practice templates to support the development of clearer and more effective scopes of work.
- In collaboration with our Human Resources team, we developed a specific Contractor Perception Survey. The survey is built on a shared Employee Perception Survey platform and where possible, replicates employee questions for direct comparisons.
- Our Vendor Management System (VMS) is a source data system for all contractors across our operated assets, providing a single, unique identifier for each contractor. The VMS is also capable of integrating with learning and site access systems to simplify and provide direct access to onboarding requirements.
Our safety performance
In FY2021, our total recordable injury frequency (TRIF) performance decreased by 11 per cent to 3.7 per million hours worked, compared to 4.2 in FY2020. The highest number of injuries related to slips, trips and falls.
Our high-potential injuries (HPI) frequency rate decreased by 17 per cent from FY2020. The highest number of events with potential for one or more fatalities were related to vehicle and mobile equipment accidents. High-potential injury trends will remain a primary focus to assess progress against our most important safety objective – eliminating fatalities.
(1) High-potential injuries (HPI) are recordable injuries and first aid cases where there was the potential for a fatality.
(2) FY2016 to FY2018 data includes Continuing and Discontinued operations (Onshore US operated assets).
(3) FY2019 data includes Discontinued operations (Onshore US operated assets) to 28 February 2019 and Continuing operations.
(4) High-potential injury basis of calculation revised in FY2020 from event count to injury count as part of a safety reporting methodology improvement.
(1) FY2016 to FY2018 data includes Continuing and Discontinued operations (Onshore US operated assets).
(2) FY2019 data includes Discontinued operations (Onshore US operated assets) to 28 February 2019 and Continuing operations.
(1) FY2010 to FY2018 data includes Continuing and Discontinued operations (Onshore US operated assets).
(2) FY2019 data includes data for Discontinued operations (Onshore US operated assets) to 28 February 2019 and Continuing operations.
Our global Field Leadership Program drives a common approach to improving health, safety and environment (HSE) performance with a focus on preventing fatalities and developing a positive ‘safe to speak up’ culture of care – a key attribute of the world’s best HSE performers.
The Field Leadership Program was deployed with a common global approach in FY2019. This included common training and a system designed to support the recording of field leadership activities. Over the past two years, more than 2 million field leadership activities with our workforce were completed, which we believe shows the program is being embedded into our daily leadership routines. We monitor field leadership participation and coaching at our operated assets to support the continual improvement and embedment of the program.
Through our Field Leadership Program, leaders from all levels of BHP spend time engaging directly with employees and contractors about safety. They are also responsible for verifying critical controls that are behavioural in nature are working as intended. Through this engagement, we can identify positive behaviours, at-risk behaviours and opportunities for process and system improvements.
- planned and scheduled activities that reflected local risk profiles and geographical spread of the workforce
- coaching for continuous improvement in the quality of field leadership
- closure of actions
We monitor field leadership lead indicators to continually improve the quality of the program across BHP, including field leadership coaching activities, compliance to schedules and timely completion of actions to address critical control failures . One of the objectives of our global Field Leadership Program is to strengthen our reporting culture. We utilise the Field Leadership Program to promote conversations that encourage our people to report hazards and events so we can continually improve and learn.
Security, Crisis and Emergency Management, and Business Continuity Plans
We updated (and renamed) our mandatory minimum performance requirements for security, crisis and emergency management, and business continuity plans in FY2019. New requirements were introduced for security management, including the designation of a single point of accountability for security management and the use of approved security specialists. The requirements also provide guidance on when to undertake security risk assessments and when to prepare security management plans. In addition, the performance requirements include guidance on how to set up response teams and provide crisis and emergency management training.
Since updating the requirements in FY2019, we have introduced new tools to support a more consistent approach to security risk assessments. We also created an Accommodation Village Security Operating Standard, which is based on proven security management and planning fundamentals.
Our aviation assurance framework has continued to evolve and is now presented in a ‘three lines risk governance model’. This involves an approved aviation specialist assisting the business directly and conducting first line operational reviews of our contracted aviation activities. A second line assurance review process is managed by the HSE function to provide greater line-of-sight into the management of aviation risk. The third line is managed by our Internal Audit and Advisory team.
Formalisation of the three lines risk governance model has provided further opportunity for standardisation across BHP. This is facilitated through active working groups made up of participants from all operated assets where aviation and/or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) activities are conducted. An example of this is our global standardised approach to risk assessments and critical control management that is referenced in our mandatory minimum performance requirements for aviation.
Sexual assault and sexual harassment
Our position on sexual assault and sexual harassment is clear. This conduct is completely unacceptable, contrary to our values and unlawful. Over a number of years, we have taken action to prevent sexual harassment including through education, encouraging reporting and security measures. While we have made important progress, this continues to be an issue at BHP and, as long as it does, we must and will do more and we continue to focus and invest in preventing this behaviour.
In 2018, we formally defined sexual assault and sexual harassment as a health and safety risk. As part of the risk assessment processes, we engaged experts in health and safety, harassment and inclusion and diversity. We introduced a range of controls including security measures such as on-site security guards, additional CCTV, increased security patrols in public areas and improved lighting, with a further AU$300 million for planned improvements to occur in FY2022. We have also introduced trauma informed emergency response, victim-centric investigations and a dedicated support service that provides end-toend assistance and advice to anyone impacted by sexual assault and sexual harassment. We are committed to the full implementation of all requisite controls in FY2022, and have tied completion of actions to executive and employee remuneration. We also recognise that we can improve the coordination of our work to address this issue and have set up a project management office for this purpose.
Sexual assault and sexual harassment are risks for BHP and the industry, and we are working with others in the industry to address these risks, as we have done with other health and safety matters. We participated in the Minerals Council of Australia Taskforce that developed and released an industry statement and Code of Conduct aimed at eradicating sexual assault and sexual harassment from our industry. We also made a submission to the Inquiry in Western Australia into sexual harassment against women in the FIFO mining industry to contribute to the industry addressing this issue which can be found at BHP Submission – WA Inquiry in relation to Sexual Harassment in FIFO mining industry.pdf (parliament.wa.gov.au). BHP is a signatory to the Minerals Council of Australia's industry code on Eliminating Sexual Harassment.
Support for employees affected by family and domestic violence
Caring for our people’s safety extends beyond our operations.
BHP’s Family and Domestic Violence assistance program aims to provide employees with support for their health, safety, wellbeing and independence if they are experiencing family and domestic violence.
As part of the program, employees can access up to 10 days additional paid leave if they are affected by family and domestic violence or supporting someone who is.
Support available also includes emergency accommodation, emergency financial help and the implementation of safety and security plans. These plans consider safety measures such as transport to and from work, changing location of work, setting up new phone numbers, screening/blocking calls and emails, and supporting access to legal advice.
Safety roles at BHP
Roles and responsibilities
Within BHP, we have trained and qualified personnel with specific responsibilities to manage our approach to safety. Our Group Risk representative for occupational safety is responsible for the design, governance and approval of the aligned safety risks, while our Group Safety representatives lead the Global Risk Alignment Project and support the facilitation of alignment of risks across the regions with subject matter experts.
Risk and controls owners within their operated asset or region lead the evaluation and implementation of aligned risk content for their operated asset or region.
Risk teams support the alignment process changes within their operated assets or regions. Operational leadership, as well as teams from safety analysis and improvement and HSE Business Partners, support the alignment process, outcomes and governance within their operated asset or region.