We aim to optimize employee health and well-being because poor health may increase the risk of injury and illness and can decrease both productivity and our people’s quality of life.

We seek to identify and manage the risks arising from physical, chemical, and other workplace hazards by anticipating, identifying, evaluating, and controlling these health hazards and exposures. To accomplish this, our sites carry out specific occupational health activities and programs, depending on the exposure at each site.

Our Approach

Barrick’s Safety & Health Policy and Safety & Health Management System are the primary tools that guide our efforts towards achieving zero incidents. They require safety and occupational health evaluation, planning and design to be integrated into our business development strategies.

Barrick monitors all sites to verify they are meeting industrial hygiene standards, including regulations on dust, noise control, and ergonomics. Barrick also promotes wellness, including stop-smoking programs, fatigue management, travel security training, and other initiatives. Through data collection and monitoring, we have identified respiratory illness, improper body positioning that contributes to sprains and strains, fatigue, and poor lifestyle health as the top health risks within the Company. We have put in place a number of programs to address these risks, described below.

Elimination of occupational illness and injuries continued to be a focus at Barrick during 2016.  Priority objectives included health exposure determinations and mitigation actions, mitigation of physical demands for top high-risk tasks, and providing functional capacity evaluations for newly hired and transferred employees. Our 2017 strategy will continue to focus on these areas and sites will continue to report their progress. 

Respiratory Illness

Respiratory illness is a concern within the mining industry and, without proper controls in place, it is difficult to detect since symptoms are often not present until years after exposure. Because of this, Barrick has industrial hygiene programs that detect exposure agents such as dust, gases, and fumes, which are tracked in a database management system. This helps us to better identify exposure to agents and allows us to develop measures to mitigate these exposures. We do so with engineering controls such as dust collection systems and ventilation systems. When systems are being installed or repaired, or where engineering controls simply are not enough, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as respirators, are used to protect our workers.

Barrick implemented a Respiratory Protection Standard across the Company in 2012, and we conduct periodic assurance reviews against the Standard, at a minimum of every two years at each site. In addition, through our Health and Wellness program, we conduct periodic medical checks for employees who have a high risk for respiratory illness (such as employees who are frequently exposed to silica or lead).

Sprains & Strains

Sprains and strains are a leading type of injury within Barrick. We recognize that placement of employees in positions that they are not physically or mentally capable of fulfilling can cause many of these injuries. To keep people safe, our workers must be physically able to do the job they have been hired to do.

Through our Health and Wellness program, we evaluate job positions within the Company for physical requirements. Each of our sites has identified the ten most physically demanding jobs, as well as those that are associated with the most sprains and strains. Each site has an annual target of reducing the heavy physical demands of the job in order to reduce the risk of injury. This process has also helped the Company identify areas where we can improve processes to mitigate physical demands for our workers. Along with physical demand studies, we are focused on ergonomics awareness and training for our employees in order to reduce sprains and strains.

Fatigue Studies

Fatigue is inherent in any operation in which employees work late into the night, start early in the morning, or work long hours. It is generally believed that fatigue can negatively affect an operation in many ways: fatigued employees are less productive, more prone to health problems, more likely to quit and, most important, more likely to be in an accident. We turned our attention to fatigue in 2011 and began to develop a Fatigue Risk Management Standard (FRMS) using the science of circadian physiology. This Standard is now implemented across the Company and provides a consistent structure and approach to program components such as training, work scheduling and monitoring.  At the same time, we investigated how we could identify fatigue episodes on the job.

In South America, Barrick has made significant strides in fatigue management that we plan to roll out to other mine sites. Through the use of smart watches, the Company is piloting the monitoring of individuals’ sleep quality in order to identify those who, through lack of sleep, are highly likely to have a sleep event during a shift.

This information can help workers identify ways to help combat fatigue and improve their overall health. To support this work, Barrick has a specific training course for shift workers called Managing a Mining Lifestyle. This four-hour course focuses on personal changes a worker can make in his or her lifestyle to improve both family time and work time. It also looks at sleeping and waking times and hours of sleep during the day and night, and includes an employee survey to better understand commute times, sleep schedules, and worker preferences. Through the Managing a Mining Lifestyle course and working with our management teams, our aim is to develop a culture where employees are comfortable reporting fatigue.

The Company is working to expand the use of sleep monitoring and fatigue monitoring technology to other mine sites.

Biometric Screening

Poor lifestyle health can increase the risk of injury and illness. That is why, a few years ago, we began to look at what we could do to help employees in North America become healthier. We developed a biometric screening program, offered free to employees and their families, which includes on-site health check-ups and review of results, along with advice from a wellness coach, if desired. The program tries to combat such health-related issues as increased obesity and cardiovascular diseases brought on by aging and lifestyle choices, such as lack of exercise, smoking, and poor nutrition. Incentives are offered to employees to take advantage of this program, which has resulted in increased participation. The focus of the biometric program is to encourage employees to take ownership of their own and their families’ health before serious health issues arise. The program has been growing each year as more employees and their families participate.

HIV/AIDS and Malaria

HIV/AIDS and malaria remain a health problem for employees and community members in Zambia. We have programs in place, often in collaboration with NGO partners, to address these illnesses, including HIV/AIDS Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT), HIV/AIDS awareness, peer educators, anti-retroviral therapy (ART), and mosquito abatement. These programs have both on-site and community components. One hundred percent of at-risk employees and their families (with regard to HIV/AIDS and/or malaria) are currently eligible to access preventive initiatives or treatment. Affected employees and their families are receiving treatment, highly subsidized or free of charge.

In 2016, the Lumwana mine in Zambia partnered with the Kalumbila District Organizing Committee and the Lumwana Community AIDS Task Force to sponsor World AIDS Day at the local Primary School. The event was attended by approximately 1,800 people and supported the testing of more than 250 people for HIV.

Industrial Hygiene

Industrial hygienists use environmental monitoring and analytical methods to detect the extent of worker exposure to contaminants and employ engineering work practice controls and other methods to control potential health hazards. Our hygienists have developed a global database to collect exposure data, which is helping us identify areas where controls are lacking or inadequate.

At the end of 2014, Barrick initiated a study of our internal Occupational Exposure Limits through a third-party professional consultant. The objective was to review peer-reviewed scientific studies related to hazardous substances exposure. Through recommendations and toxicological models, we have established the most appropriate Exposure Limit Values to prevent our workers from suffering adverse effects associated with exposure to these substances. In addition to establishing an Exposure Limit (in workplace air), the review provided "good practice" guidance on the most up-to-date procedures for biological monitoring of certain blood or urine metabolites associated with the substance so that we can know that the substance either does not exist or is at a safe level that would not cause any adverse effect. The review was completed in June 2015; among the findings was confirmation that our biological sampling for arsenic conformed to best practice and that no adjustment to our current sampling and analysis was necessary.


1,000 Days With Zero Lost Time Injuries

At Turquoise Ridge in Nevada, Simon Pollard, Safety and Health Superintendent, tells us about the latest safety achievement at the mine

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May 6, 2015 files/design/bodybg/our-approach.jpg
2014 Responsibility Report

Our vision is the generation of wealth through responsible mining — wealth for our owners, our people, and the countries and communities with which we partner.

World Gold Council MemberMember of ICMM

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