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HEALTH & SAFETY

Nothing is more important to us than the health, safety and well-being of our people.

Providing the safest possible working environment is one of our highest priorities and aligns with international expectations. Occupational health and safety (OH&S) has also been identified by the World Health Organization as one of the basic elements of sustainable development. Protecting labor rights and promoting a safe and secure working environment for all workers is also included as a target for Goal 8 of the SDGs.

Prevention
New fatality prevention commitments developed and implemented

Zero
fatalities

42%
Reduction in lost time injuries in the Africa & Middle East region

2.24
Total reportable injury frequency rate1

103%
Planned senior Safety Leadership Interactions 103% of target

0.50
Lost time injury frequency rate2

  1. Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) is a ratio calculated as follows: number of recordable injuries x 1,000,000 hours divided by the total number of hours worked. Recordable injuries include fatalities, lost time injuries, restricted duty injuries, and medically treated injuries.

  1. Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) is a ratio calculated as follows: number of lost time injuries x 1,000,000 hours divided by the total number of hours worked. Lost time injuries are injuries that occur in the execution of duties that mean the person is unable to perform those duties for at least one day.

Effective safety management doesn’t happen behind a desk. It takes time and effort on the ground to engage sincerely with the workforce. That is why I spend time each day walking around my sites, observing processes and talking to our people about safe practices.

 
— Paul Wilmot, General Manager Carlin Process

SAFETY

Mines are dynamic and complex working environments where heavy vehicles and equipment are in continuous use to move significant quantities of material, and potentially hazardous chemicals are used to extract minerals from ore. Put simply, mining and refining operations are high-risk working environments where failure to implement robust safety standards and procedures can result in damage to equipment, serious injury to people and even loss of life.

Management Approach

Safety is our first consideration in everything we do. We are committed to protecting all our employees, contractors and site visitors, to building a strong safety culture based on both individual and shared responsibility, and to drive continual improvement in our safety performance.

Our aim is to eliminate fatalities and life-altering injuries from our operations, and to continuously reduce potential injury and health hazards at our sites. We have captured our commitment to safety through specific actions in our Occupational Health & Safety policy, as follows:

  • Meeting or exceeding all applicable regulatory requirements in our host countries and in the absence of appropriate legislation, using industry best practices and standards
  • Establishing and maintaining OH&S management systems that facilitate a structured approach to mitigate safety and health risks at all our managed sites
  • Providing the leadershiwp and resources required for an effective and sustainable OH&S management system
  • Providing the leadership and resources required for an effective and sustainable OH&S management system
  • Promoting a safety culture that encourages people to proactively manage health and safety risks through education, instruction, information and supervision, thereby preventing injuries and illnesses

Every mine has its own site-specific safety procedures, management plans and systems in place, in line with our Health & Safety Management Standard and international best practice. Through these systems we work to identify, understand, monitor and implement the safety controls appropriate to the risks present. Our goal is for the safety management systems at all operational mines to be certified to the internationally recognized ISO 45001 standard by the end of 2021.

Implementing Our Fatality Prevention Commitments

Our Fatality Prevention Commitments are the bedrock of our approach to safety management. They provide a set of guidelines which can be applied at every site to help reduce and eliminate the risk of fatalities and serious injuries at our operations. However, we know that when it comes to safety, a written commitment is only the first part of the job. To be effective these commitments must be known and understood by all our workers. To help workers understand why we have safety rules, and ‘their stop unsafe work authority’ we also developed a fatality prevention program. A key part of the program focuses on communicating the fatal risk procedures to all our employees. Our communications program includes:

  • Displaying signage and posters to communicate our safety commitments
  • Embedding the safety commitments into onboarding and operational training content and performing field observations to verify understanding and application
  • On a monthly basis, focusing on different safety risk communications before a shift starts as well as toolbox talks
  • Issuing colour coded cards to all workers summarizing our safety commitments and unacceptable behaviors

In North America, standardized Fatal Risk management procedures have been developed for the Nevada Gold Mines Joint Venture, to align best practices across all sites
 

Safety and emergency response training at Pueblo Viejo, in Dominican Republic. Refresher courses in various safety procedures are carried out regularly at every Barrick site.

Safety and emergency response training at Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic. Refresher courses in various safety procedures are carried out regularly at every Barrick site.

Key elements of our site-specific safety management systems include:

  • Risk assessments conducted at a site level to identify and inform personnel of the potential operational risks and the most appropriate hazard controls. Individual risk assessments are also conducted prior to any worker or team conducting a potentially hazardous or non-routine work activity.
  • Training is a crucial part of our approach to safety management. The first time anyone steps on to one of our mine sites, they are required to undergo site-specific orientation and safety induction training. In 2019, we carried out specialized training to educate our workforce to implement our new Fatal Risk controls – such as work at heights and confined spaces – so that the Fatal Risk procedural requirements are firmly embedded.
  • Monitoring including regular internal and external audits, inspections and assurance reviews of our safety controls and procedures through Leadership Safety Interactions. The workforce is actively engaged in these reviews and encouraged to identify potential weaknesses in our controls, and to contribute to the development of additional controls. Critical controls are being piloted in North America to help the Fatality Prevention Commitments become fully implemented and understood by our workforce.

Our Group Sustainability Executive is responsible for the implementation of our safety policies, the associated procedures and overall performance. The Group Sustainability Executive is supported by regional-level health and safety leads as well as dedicated site-level health & safety teams who drive implementation at an operational level. Safety is not only integrated into weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting, but also discussed as a key part of weekly Executive Committee meetings, and regional operational meetings. Safety is also a key agenda item at every Board meeting. Achieving our injury reduction and workplace safety improvement targets make up a significant part of both site and grouplevel compensation packages.
 

The bedrock of Barrick’s safety program is the fatality prevention commitments. These provide a set of guidelines
which can be applied at every site to help reduce and eliminate the risk of fatalities and serious injuries at our
operations.

The bedrock of Barrick’s safety program is the fatality prevention commitments. These provide a set of guidelines which can be applied at every site to help reduce and eliminate the risk of fatalities and serious injuries at our operations.

At Barrick, no job is so important that it is not worth taking the time to do it safely.

 
— Dr Mama Kanta, Occupational Health and Safety Specialist, Loulo-Gounkoto Mine

Performance

We measure our safety performance by tracking a combination of leading and lagging indicators. Leading safety indicators include Safety Leadership Interactions, which promote discussion of workplace health and safety between senior management and the workforce. On average across the group, we completed 103% of planned Safety Leadership Interactions for the year.

We also track the number of High Potential Incidents (HPIs) reported at each site to make sure management is effectively managing near miss incidents that have a higher potential for losses. Root Cause Analysis is completed for all HPIs to identify potential causes and controls, and the lessons learned from these incidents are shared globally. As lagging indicators, we track Lost Time Injuries and Total Recordable Injuries and report on the respective frequency rates at a mine site and group level. This helps us to understand the severity and frequency of any injuries that occur at our operations, to recognize trends, and to take action to focus our safety management efforts.

In 2019, although we operated with zero fatalities at our operations, our Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) increased by 5%, from 2.12 to 2.24, year on year. Our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) increased by 7%, from 0.46 to 0.50. In analyzing the incidents and frequencies, the combination of assets into Nevada Gold Mines in the North America region did impact our performance, and specific action is being implemented at the Nevada joint venture to improve its safety performance. The Africa and Middle East region improved year on year in both LTIFR and TRIFR.

Our Safety Performance

Our Safety Performance

We do not include non-occupational injuries and fatalities in our safety performance statistics, but we are committed to transparently disclosing incident occurrences linked to our operations. Although we did not have any workplace fatalities in 2019, in Nevada two people were tragically killed on August 24 when a contractor’s empty ore hauling truck collided head-on with a bus transporting our employees on a secondary highway resulted in fatal injuries to the truck driver and a passenger on the bus. Following the accident, we completed an internal review of our transportation systems and practices, with particular emphasis on logistics scheduling, contractor performance management and roadway improvements.
 

Emergency response training at North Mara, Tanzania. Keeping its employees safe is a priority for Barrick.

Emergency response training at North Mara, Tanzania. Keeping its employees safe is a priority for Barrick.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

Mining and its associated processes can expose workers to a range of occupational health risks. These include respiratory problems through exposure to dust or hazardous materials, industrial deafness from prolonged exposure to loud noises from heavy machinery and drills, strain injuries from repetitive movements, and mental health issues linked to high pressure work in often remote locations. All of which can lead to serious long-term health problems if not carefully managed.

We are determined to protect our people from occupational health issues. Through our health and safety management system we apply a systematic approach to anticipating, identifying, evaluating, controlling and monitoring occupational health hazards and exposures across all operations. Key aspects of this approach include:

  • Occupational hygiene surveys: We conduct job specific risk assessments to understand exposure levels across all parts of our operations. During 2019, we conducted occupational hygiene surveys across a number of our operations, including focused arsenic studies at Turquoise Ridge.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): We provide everyone entering operational areas of our mines with the appropriate PPE including hard hats, high visibility clothing, steel cap boots, safety glasses, dust masks and hearing protection.
  • Shift rotation: We rotate the shifts of workers to help manage and minimize their exposure to occupational health hazards. Fatigue-management is a key focus for our North American sites. During 2019, we asked some of our workers to wear biometric devices to help us better understand the impacts of fatigue. Results were received in January 2020 and are being reviewed to inform the development of fatigue management plans.
  • Engineering controls: This is our first line of defense when a risk cannot be otherwise managed. For example, we use ventilation systems across our mines to reduce exposure to dust, gases and fumes.
  • Promoting personal well-being: We run personal health and wellness programs at many of our mines, including stop smoking, healthy eating programs, and fatigue awareness programs. In North America, our workers are incentivized to lead healthy and active lifestyles, through a program that enables them to earn funds in their personal health saving accounts by making positive lifestyle decisions. Funds earned can be used for personal items such as health and wellness equipment, gym memberships and medical costs.
  • Regular medical checks for employees: We conduct baseline health checks pre-employment. These are updated at regular intervals to track employee health and well-being against preemployment levels, and to monitor effectiveness of controls in place. Checks conducted include blood tests for traces of heavy metals, hearing tests and respiratory and lung function monitoring. Staff regularly exposed to hazardous chemicals receive additional regular biological and radiation testing.

In 2019, all our workers (100%) were covered by occupational health and safety programs.
 

Barrick employees receive regular medical check-ups.

Barrick employees receive regular medical check-ups.
 

 

Protecting Kibali from the Ebola Risk

Since August 2018, the Democratic Republic of Congo has been grappling with what is now the world’s second largest recorded outbreak of Ebola, a highly contagious and often fatal virus. To date there have been over 3,400 confirmed cases, and more than 2,200 deaths in the country. We take no chances when it comes to the health and safety of our people. So even though our Kibali mine is more than 500km by road away from the centre of the outbreak, and not at immediate risk, we have put plans into practice to closely monitor the risk and prepare for any escalation in the threat. Our health teams have been working in close partnership with relevant local authorities, the Ebola response team in Beni and local World Health Organization representatives on a weekly basis in 2019 to make sure we remain up to date on all developments. Examples of our Ebola prevention program include:

  • Monitoring and awareness: Running awareness campaigns with workers, suppliers, contractors and the local community to help all our people understand how to identify the symptoms of Ebola and the urgent actions to take. As part of our prevention protocol we use contactless thermometers to check everyone who enters the mine for fever. We also monitor the travel of our people to and from areas such as North Kivu where the outbreak is centred.
  • No compromises on hygiene: We know from the Ebola outbreak in 2014 that the virus can be spread via contaminated hands. We have a focused campaign on handwashing and hygiene. This includes provision of alcohol-based hand rubs, as an important part of infection prevention. We have introduced compulsory handwashing across the mine site, including handwashing stations inside the main gate and at dining halls. We have also set up public handwashing stations with chlorinated water on the roads connecting local towns with the affected areas in North Kivu and Ituri.
  • Support to and equipment for local hospitals: We provided Ebola response equipment such as isolation tents and contactless thermometers to hospitals around Kibali, and trained local healthcare specialists and community members in Ebola prevention, detection and control measures.

Should any cases of the virus be detected, we have a strict protocol established for tracing and disposing of infected or potentially infected materials. We have also drawn up an escalation plan based on the proximity of the outbreak of the virus to our operations. Our crisis management plans integrate our responses with the medical and government authorities of the DRC and international NGOs.
 

Barrick’s operations in West Africa were fully trained and well equipped to deal with the 2014 Ebola outbreak.

Barrick’s operations in West Africa were fully trained and well equipped to deal with the 2014 Ebola outbreak.
 

 

Responding to the Coronavirus Pandemic

The well-being of our employees is a top priority for Barrick. We are currently engaged in managing the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on our people and our business. The experience gained while dealing with two Ebola outbreaks around our African operations has helped to inform our coronavirus response. Steps taken include the implementation of strict hygiene protocols and temperature monitoring at the entrance to our mines. We are in regular communication with local and international health agencies to monitor the situation and understand the infection rates near our operations.

Our actions also extend beyond our mine gates. In our host communities we have been liaising with local and regional clinics and hospitals to make sure they have access to information and advice. We are also providing additional supplies and equipment to make sure they are well resourced should an outbreak occur. We continue to monitor the situation closely and have escalation plans.
 

Proper hygiene practices and discipline are being rolled out at all sites to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Proper hygiene practices and discipline are being rolled out at all sites to curb the spread of Covid-19.

 

Temperature screening at mine gates.

Temperature screening at mine gates.