We place great importance on safety issues in all areas of our operations and we continuously focus on making the workplace accident-free. We believe all incidents, injuries and occupational illnesses are preventable and, thus, our goal is Zero Harm. Our safety aims and objectives intend to encourage our employees to behave in ways which project a positive and proactive attitude towards safety.

This reporting year our safety performance has not been ideal. Whilst we had five Zero Harm-months - which demonstrate that it is possible to work injury-free - we had ten Potential Fatal Incidents where ten colleagues could have lost their lives at work. This is of great concern and a stark reminder to all of us that safety needs to be internalised as a core value and not just as a priority.

During 2015 we carried out a gap analysis on the new Rio Tinto performance safety standards and aligned our safety strategy with the three-pillar safety improvement strategy. This strategy focuses on three important aspects, namely fatality elimination, reduction of injuries and prevention of a catastrophic event.

As part of our intensified drive to make our workplace safe, the Critical risk management (CRM) programme was launched at all Rio Tinto operations worldwide. This programme replaces our Critical controls monitoring plans which were used for the past years. The CRM programme aims to protect us from risks that could kill any one of us.

Rössing Uranium's CRM pilot project began more than a year ago, with some specific areas targeted first. Subsequently, we expanded the project into full scale rollout across site, and in December we officially launched the CRM programme, attended by more than 400 employees at the mine's main entrance. This will focus on the critical risks and involves everyone checking that critical controls are in place and working before starting the job.

CRM works alongside our safety standards, our safety tools such as Take 5 , our safety interactions, Safe Shift Start meetings, Leadership-in-the-field activities, incident investigations and lessons-learned actions.

Rio Tinto Group identified 22 critical risks that could cause death or injuries in any of its operations around the world. Our current safety signage was rebranded to focus on critical risks as well as our Lifesaving rules and placed at appropriate positions all around our mine site.

A safety diagnostic was conducted to help us understand what drives the current safety culture and a number of actions implemented, including the Rössing Uranium Leadership Safety Charter.

To help us learn more effectively from incidents in order to prevent recurrence, the Critical lesson-learned communication project was piloted and will be implemented site-wide during 2016.

During the reporting year we recorded an All-injury Frequency Rate (AIFR) of 0.74 against the target of 0.72. This is an improvement on the previous year's AIFR of 0.81.

The following injuries and significant potential incidents occurred on the mine during the reporting period:

  • Lost-day injuries: 7
  • Restricted workday injuries: 2
  • Incidents requiring medical treatment: 4
  • Incidents requiring basic first aid treatment: 26
  • Potential incidents/significant potential fatal incidents: 10

In 2016 some of the focus areas in our continuous journey towards Zero Harm will include the following:

  • continue with the CRM programme as part of a broader approach at Rio Tinto to stop fatalities;
  • continue with our Leadership-in-the- field project;
  • development of supervisors in areas such as hazard identification and risk assessment applications;
  • continue with our initiatives aimed at safer driving and vehicle-pedestrian segregation; and
  • communicating critical learnings from incident investigations.

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Rössing Uranium's eight Lifesaving rules aim to protect employees and contractors from safety-related incidents. Eleven critical risks associated with these Lifesaving rules are continuously assessed by employees prior to work to ensure that work is safely done at the mine.