At Newcrest, safety and sustainability is the foundation for everything we do.
Our goal is unchanged from that which has driven us forward over the last few years. It is to create a work environment where everyone can work safely and healthily every day, both physically and emotionally. We empower our people to be safe, in an environment in which they have the authority and responsibility for their own safety and the safety of others. We continue to strive to create an environment where everyone can make a difference and share their concerns, insights and learnings with others, no matter where our people are or what they do.
Our Safety Transformation Plan, established in 2015, continues to direct our efforts and deliver results, and we will never become complacent. An ongoing focus on culture, controls and systems is required to continue to improve our safety and health performance.
- Our safety culture is centred around NewSafe, which drives our understanding of why people do the things they do, and how we all can influence the right safety outcomes.
- Our Critical Control Management program puts in place the review, approval and verification steps for high-risk tasks. It helps our workforce identify which events could cause fatalities or life-changing injuries and verify that preventative controls are in place.
- Process Safety is aimed at managing chemical and energy hazards through the proper design and operation of our plants. It helps reduce the risk of the types of events that can cause multiple fatalities.
Our overarching aim remains the elimination of fatalities and life-changing injuries from our business and in the 2020 financial year we had no fatalities or life-changing injuries. We are pleased to have been able to further reduce our level of injuries in the period. On a like-for-like basis, we ended the year with a total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) of 2.01 per million hours worked, which is a 13% improvement on the prior year. We also experienced a significant reduction in injuries at Red Chris since we took over management, with our Group TRIFR including Red Chris being 2.6. These are industry-leading low levels of injury and we remain focused on achieving further reductions in injury rates.
We have also made progress in occupational health and hygiene and contributed to enhancing the health of our local communities. Across Newcrest we have worked hard to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic threat and, in cooperation with the communities within which we operate, we were successful in keeping our sites COVID-19 free in the financial year. This achievement was made possible through the significant efforts of our workforce and support from their families (e.g. adapting to roster changes and quarantine periods), local communities and host governments which we recognise and appreciate. The risk from COVID-19 remains with us and we will continue to be vigilant with our preventative controls.
We made significant progress in developing and implementing exposure reduction plans for key hygiene risks including silica, diesel particulates and noise. We also focused on better managing fatigue risks. During the year, we introduced the three pillars of our Health, Hygiene and Wellness framework which includes Healthy Business, Healthy Workers and Wellness Matters.
Under our Wellness Matters program, and in response to the challenges COVID-19 may have had on our employees, we were able to introduce ‘Thinking Well’ which covers mental health.
Our Sustainability Framework builds on Newcrest’s transformation plan to clearly articulate our vision and commitment to sustainability, and how we will deliver on our commitments through a series of supporting objectives and targets.
During the 2020 financial year we were pleased to have our membership of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) formally confirmed following a comprehensive independent assessment. During the year the World Gold Council also launched a set of Responsible Gold Mining Principles that Newcrest has committed to as a member of the Council. The Newcrest Sustainability Framework incorporates the ICMM’s 10 Principles for Sustainable Development and the World Gold Council’s Responsible Gold Mining Principles (which have a three year timeframe for implementation). We also progressed the implementation of our flagship sustainability-related policies of Climate Change, Water Stewardship, Biodiversity and Social Performance policies. In our Sustainability Report for FY20 (due to be released in the second half of CY20), we have reported on our performance against our financial year 2020 public sustainability commitments and for the 2021 financial year have committed to deliver against an updated and expanded suite of sustainability metrics.