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 Community standards and BHP’s 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 potential safety impacts will lead to improved safety outcomes. Our leaders support the implementation of the Our Requirements standards in order to strengthen our controls and build capacity within our systems. This creates an environment where everyone feels safe to report any potential 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 to learn and improve as we believe they are instrumental in helping us to improve 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 health, safety, environment and community (HSEC) business partners
- Safe Starts and Toolbox Talks
- digital media
- implementation guidelines
Collaboration with our workforce is vital, so we ensure that subject matter experts across our operated assets and functions are engaged 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. Those 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 our Risk Framework and approach to safety. Key risk indicators are set by management to help monitor performance against our risk appetite. For more information refer to Operating and Financial Review 9 – How we manage risk. Within BHP, employees have responsibility to manage fatality risks, in accordance with our mandatory minimum performance requirements for risk management. At a global level, we monitor and manage Group-wide 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 risks within risk appetite. Risk and Control owners are supported by the Risk, Health, Safety and Environment teams.
We achieved our third consecutive fatality-free year at our operated assets in FY2022 and demonstrated improvements across key safety performance 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:
- Fatality Elimination Program
- Integrated Contractor Management Program
- Field Leadership Program
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.
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. Events are classified on the potential and actual consequence outcomes using an internal severity rating scale, as defined in our mandatory minimum performance requirements for risk management.
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 help focus on 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.
We focus on the context in which an event happened and organisational factors are examined to consider whether they contributed. 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 (extensions require approval) so that we may mitigate risks early.
Opportunities for improvement focus on contributing factors so that we may strengthen controls. We promote the reporting of events so that we can learn and improve. 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 learnings have identified further opportunity to enable BHP to take additional steps in eliminating fatalities. In FY2021, we introduced our Fatality Elimination Program (FEL) 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 and organisational performance – understanding the context relating to how work gets done, and the human dependencies associated with controls and improving how people, work systems, equipment, processes and culture interact
A suite of over 64 recommended controls were identified comprising new controls and material improvements to existing controls. Where applicable, our operated assets and functions conducted assessments against the recommended controls and prioritised their implementation.
Mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) organisations were engaged to provide control solutions, including those identified across industry as emerging safety innovations. 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. During FY2022 we:
- developed five-year fatality elimination roadmap guidelines, including the recommended sequencing of strengthened controls based on effort, cost and near miss reduction impact
- updated the Our Requirements for Safety standard to reflect FEL deliverables
- created the ‘Control Shift’ methodology for assets to replicate FEL processes for specific risks not considered within our top 10 risks (i.e. vehicle and mobile equipment, dropped object, electrical, lifting, geotechnical failure, entanglement/crushing, energy release, loss of containment, fire/explosion, fall from height)
- created an online dashboard to enhance local implementation plans, providing global visibility of challenges, similarities and differences, thereby assisting assets with their implementation
- published technical bulletins related to FEL controls to provide detailed implementation guidance based on site experience and lessons learnt
- undertook a human performance benchmarking study to identify the latest developments and best practices in the field of human behaviour
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 Program is designed to make it safer and easier for contractors to work with us. 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. Since its introduction, the program has standardised roles and responsibilities of contract owners and promoted improved partnerships with BHP service providers through the implementation of the Our Requirements for Contractor Management standard for existing and new onsite service contracts.
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.
In FY2022 we:
- developed the scope of work library as an online resource containing best practice examples for different types of contractor engagements
- created contract execution plans as a means of applying the Our Requirements for Contractor Management standard
- established an integration stream ensuring enhancements are holistic and cover functional interactions
- undertook assurance and audit activities across BHP including contractor engagements
- implemented a contractor perception survey that runs in parallel with our internal survey. The survey highlighted some results on the experience of our contractor workforce consistent with the internal survey and other areas of focus
- determined organisational design changes to improve contract ownership and management practices
- commenced deployment of a technology solution which supports an enterprise-wide approach to contractor on-boarding and management
Our safety performance
In FY2022, our total recordable injury frequency (TRIF) performance increased by 8 per cent from FY2021. This shift was influenced by COVID-19 through an 8 per cent reduction in hours worked between the first and second halves of FY2022. TRIF has decreased by 9 per cent since FY2018. The highest number of injuries was related to slips, trips and falls for both employees and contractors.
Our high-potential injuries (HPI) frequency rate decreased by 30 per cent from FY2021. The highest number of events with potential for one or more fatalities was 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.
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 involving our workforce were completed, which demonstrates that 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.
In FY2022 we:
- enhanced the efficiency and effectiveness of supervisor time in the field by integrating the BHP Operating System (BOS) process confirmation and field leadership planned task observation processes into a planned task confirmation
- continued to improve the quality of field leadership activities by increasing coaching and delivery of field leadership engagements
- conducted field leadership activities to support the verification of risks that have the potential to result in fatalities across our operated assets
- embedded the global, standardised field leadership procedure designed to increase the effectiveness of field leadership activities across the business
- conducted field leadership on COVID-19 controls, designed to sustain effectiveness within the changing environment
Our aviation assurance framework uses the ‘three lines model’ to define the roles of different teams across the organisation in managing risk. 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 team looking at global aviation risk and testing both the first and second line.
The risk governance model supports the ongoing standardisation efforts across managing aviation risk. This is facilitated through active working groups made up of participants from all operated assets where aviation operations, aerodrome operations and 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.
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.
Risk and Control owners within their operated asset or region lead the evaluation and implementation of 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.