“Protecting the safety and wellbeing of Iluka’s people lies at the heart of the business,” Greg Martin, Chairman 

We strive to maintain a fatality-free workplace, minimise injuries and protect the health and wellbeing of our people. For 2017, this has included introducing Iluka’s safety and risk mitigation frameworks to Sierra Rutile.

Our health and safety approach focuses on creating a culture which encourages all members of our workforce to be leaders in creating a safe work environment. This is supported by Iluka standards outlining minimum requirements of performance, implementation of targeted programs and facilitated training and incident investigation processes.

Regular communication about health and safety at all levels of the business is integral to promoting Iluka’s safe work environment. Health and safety meetings are held at a departmental level by representatives and employees, and between management and contractors, to identify improvement areas and to ensure that concerns are addressed. Field safety visits (interactions) are regularly performed to ensure operational activities are meeting standard requirements and to communicate improvements. Scheduled workplace inspections are carried out as part of maintaining a safe work environment. Investigations are undertaken for serious incidents to ensure the cause is identified, that appropriate steps are taken to avoid repetition of the incident and that key learnings are shared.

The health and wellbeing of employees and contractors is equally important. We seek to identify and manage occupational exposure risks, minimise occurrences of occupational illness and promote healthy lifestyles.

Iluka promotes a culture that aims to minimise the severity and frequency of safety incidents and is fatality-free.

Safety risk identification and preventative action planning have been a key focus for Sierra Rutile. The initial safety focus could be characterised as “back to basics”: personal accountability, understanding risks, incident and hazard reporting and the wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Examples of actions taken include:

  • safety boots, shirts, pants and other PPE have been distributed to employees;
  • regular daily alcohol testing has been introduced; and
  • review and rollout of local procedures for high risk activities, such as traffic management and tailings management.

To monitor safety performance, a series of indicators are tracked, such as the number of safety visits, planned workplace inspections and the identification of near hits and hazards. These statistics are detailed in the Performance Data section of this report and summarised below.

The Iluka safety and environment incident definitions were applied at Sierra Rutile from January 2017. The alignment will be progressive and it will take time to achieve the same level of reporting as for existing operations. As such, 2017 was a baseline reporting year for Sierra Rutile, with the focus on ensuring all incidents were identified, reported and classified. Performance improvement targets were set to measure the improvement in reporting, with targets for both environmental and hazard reporting being exceeded.

Twenty-six people sustained recordable injuries while working for Iluka in 2017; nine of these were lost time injuries, 13 were medical treatment injuries and four were restricted work cases. Eight of these injuries also had the potential to be severe permanent disabling injuries or fatalities. All injured persons were male, and a total of 899 days were lost to injury during the year.

Iluka’s primary safety measures, in accordance with industry practice, include the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) and the Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR). These measures are calculated per million hours worked by our employees and contractors. The frequency rates for 2017 exclude the Sierra Rutile operation. In 2017, the TRIFR increased slightly from 4.4 in 2016 to 4.8, while the LTIFR increased from 0.4 to 0.9. Over the same period, employee and contractor work hours decreased from 2,758,690 to 2,292,715.

Sierra Rutile ended 2017 with a TRIFR of 2.2 and a LTIFR of 1.0.

At 31 December 2017, the combined Iluka (including Sierra Rutile) TRIFR was 2.8 and LTIFR was 1.0. These rates will be used for 2018 comparisons.

over 4,000 planned workplace inspections

over 21,000 planned safety visits

We are continuing our focus on preventing fatalities through monitoring and investigating serious potential injuries (SPIs). An SPI includes any event where there a potential consequence of a fatality regardless of likelihood. Both injuries and near hits can be rated as an SPI.

There were 45 SPIs recorded at Sierra Rutile in 2017, with most related to surface mobile equipment and light vehicles incidents.

For the remainder of the business there were 15 SPIs recorded in 2017 compared to 13 in 2016. The majority of these were related to surface mobile equipment, road haulage and falling objects. The 2018 work plan will focus on addressing these aspects.

 

Iluka conducts occupational exposure monitoring annually across the business to quantitatively assess potential exposure to identified contaminants, and to assess the effectiveness of risk mitigation strategies. The monitoring programs are based on qualitative risk assessments and are guided by our standards and guidelines. Programs are in place at all Australian sites and will be developed for the US and Sierra Leone sites in 2018.

Progress and performance results for each monitoring program are reviewed by the Board quarterly, inclusive of occupational exposure limit (OEL) exceedances.

Based on our operational risk profile, the programs typically focus on monitoring exposure to airborne contaminants including respirable dust, respirable crystalline silica, inhalable dust, noise and radiation.

Management plans are developed and implemented at site level for significant occupational hygiene risks and include detail on risk controls, monitoring programs, designated responsibilities, objectives, targets and timeframes.

In Australia, there were 84 exceedances of OELs recorded, with the majority (95%) attributed to noise. Radiation monitoring results and dose assessments for the workforce did not record any employees and contractors above the regulatory annual limit. For more on Iluka’s management of naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM), refer to the Environment section of this report.

Noise exposure remains a potential risk across all Australian sites. As a result, a focus on reducing exposure has been included in the sustainability performance improvement targets.

In 2017, there were five cases of occupational illnesses reported, with four of these cases related to employees undertaking short-term work at international locations other than their usual place of work (typhoid and malaria). There was one reported case of noise induced hearing loss.

Ensuring our activities have negligible impact on community health and where possible have a positive impact on community health is an area of focus for our Sierra Rutile operation. Additionally, there is a risk of local community health issues impacting on our workforce that travel internationally to Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, China, India and other countries. It is important that these employees are educated on the areas they are travelling to and have the appropriate health information and protection.

A health impact assessment is being completed as part of the ESHIA studies at Sierra Rutile. Health impacts associated with our activities can be as a result of influx of new workforce, opening of transport corridors, changes in the biophysical environment, lifestyle and demographic changes. This can have an impact on communicable and non-communicable diseases; vector related diseases; water, sanitation and waste related disease; sexually transmitted disease; food and nutrition; and health service infrastructure. Prevention programs and management plans will be updated following this assessment.