ArcelorMittal is committed to achieving zero incidents, injuries and fatalities at our mines
We are committed to the goal of becoming the safest steel and mining company in the world. With this aim in mind, our mining units are rigorously following the group-wide safety programme, Journey to Zero, with its objective of zero incidents, zero fatalities and zero occupational illnesses.
As we focus on expanding our mining business, we are aiming not only for improved systems in mines for employees’ health and safety, but also for a company culture that puts safety first, always.
Our Courageous Leadership programme is playing a part in fostering this culture, creating an environment in which we value our people above all other priorities, in which we believe we can reach zero injuries, bring a positive attitude to work, eliminate risky behaviour, face challenges with determination, accept the responsibility of leadership, and have the courage to make the necessary commitment to complete the Journey to Zero.
Permeating all levels of the organisation, from top management to the shop floor, courageous leadership is our foundation. It not only gives our people the right to speak up, but more importantly clearly sets expectations that everyone has the authority, responsibility and accountability to speak up if they are concerned about health and safety.
If we can become that good at thinking about risk before an incident instead of after, and if we can take that knowledge and act with courageous leadership, we’ll be well on the way to zero harm. Tom Paddon, CEO of Baffinland Iron Mines. Our mines have seen a steady decline in the lost time injury frequency (LTIF) rate, which is the number of injuries that have resulted in loss of work time per million hours worked. Our LTIF rate reduced from 3.40 in 2008 to 2.42 in 2009, 1.53 in 2010, 1.2 in 2011 and 0.7 in 2012.
Our approach to safety systems at every mine is based on an understanding of the mine’s environment, which varies at different locations. On Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic, for example, where we are undertaking site exploration, there is a safety hazard in working on frozen ice. To minimise this risk, our team trained in a new operating procedure for measuring ice thickness and evaluating conditions safe for work on floating ice covers.
“Each time we conduct a different emergency response drill appropriate to the type of work being conducted, it further improves our response capability in the event of a true emergency.”
Dave McCann, responsible for mining project sites, Baffin Island, Canadian Arctic
At our other mines, we face different challenges. In Kazakhstan, for example, the high methane content of coal extracted increases the risk of gas outbursts or even explosions. We have made progress in reducing this danger, with a programme to capture methane gas for use in a captive power plant.
We have an extensive mining modernisation programme under way, and have spent US$365m since 2007.
ArcelorMittal’s coal mines in the US have a strong safety record in the industry. In 2010 the mines received awards from Mountaineer Guardian, Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and Joseph A. Holmes Safety Association.
ArcelorMittal Princeton in the US has risen from having the poorest LTIF rate among our mines in 2008 to an LTIF rate of zero in 2011.
The unit has also been recognised for open-mine safety by the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy. The Non-Fatal Days Lost (NFDL) incident rate at the Virginia Point Surface mine reduced from 3.49 in 2009 to zero in 2010, while the mine logged 201,383 work hours and produced 575,177 million tonnes of coal.
In 2012, its mine no. 40 was presented with a Sentinel of Safety Award by the US National Mines Association (NMA) for achieving 117,034 employee hours worked without a lost workday injury. The award was in the “large underground coal” category, for Princeton’s safety record in 2011.
At our Andrade iron ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, we are proud to have completed 20 years without a lost time injury in September 2012. It also marked the mine’s 64th year without a fatality.
Thus, some mines have already achieved our safety target of zero injuries and fatalities, which reinforces our confidence in our approach to safety.