A mining company’s new approach to safety excellence continues to drive operational performance improvement.

Executives at one of the world’s leading companies (hereafter referred to as “MineMetal Co”) found themselves in an all-too-common situation for higher risk industries: a plateaued overall injury frequency rate and an unchanging fatality frequency. 

MineMetal Co’s injury frequency rate had plateaued to an average of five people injured every day in its organization of 50,000 employees. A global safety culture, seen as a necessary catalyst for safety excellence, eluded them. Corporate-wide safety initiatives struggled to be embraced and sustained at their hundreds of worksites across six continents. Despite best efforts, the company’s leaders were not sure of their next move to improve performance.

Given the size of the organization and the breadth of its operations, MineMetal Co’s leadership recognized the enormity of its challenge and sought outside guidance.

Piloting an approach to turning safety performance around

In 2009, MineMetal Co began working with ERM to develop a change process with two critical objectives: getting on a fast track to turnaround safety performance and embedding a culture of safety excellence throughout its operations.

The team implemented a strategic approach that was designed to establish profound, sustainable improvements in safety performance at the site level through employee and leader collaboration, mutual understanding and new insights. Since 2009, MineMetal Co has employed the approach at more than 25 of their sites around the world – delivering results that stretch beyond safety to the core operations, with process efficiencies and cost reductions made possible by improvements in planning, scheduling and equipment maintenance.

Insights from the initial “deep dive” into the prevailing state of safety and its root causes across MineMetal Co’s portfolio in 2009 provided a firm starting point. Over a decade of deployment and refinement, a proven approach emerged that continues to enable the local management team to diagnose and respond to site-specific organization, operational and leadership roadblocks.