Safety & Health
Safety is integral to all Freeport-McMoRan operations and is the responsibility of all employees and managed by a formal structure starting with our Safety and Health Policy. Climax Molybdenum Company, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan, sustainability programs are consistent with commitments set forth in company-wide policies defined by Freeport-McMoRan. Our philosophy of safe production is demonstrated by the integration of safety practices in all aspects of our operational activities. Our Board of Directors requires comprehensive audits to assure the safety management system is effective, weaknesses are identified and resources are applied to achieve the Company’s policy objectives.
Our Health and Safety Management System consists of a framework for managing risks and compliance obligations. Our Management System is certified in accordance with the internationally recognized OHSAS 18001 standard. OHSAS certification audits are conducted at all metals and mining operations on a yearly basis. Twenty-three certification audits were conducted in 2014, including all active mining operations. These certification audits are supplemented with fatality prevention audits that focus specifically on high risk activities and are conducted by an independent organization using experts within the mining sector.
We draw no distinction between contractors and our own employees with regard to health and safety performance and reporting. The Freeport-McMoRan Contractor Safety Manual defines the minimal expectations and requirements for contractors working at our operations. Site-specific training is conducted with each contractor regarding safety and health issues specific to their work location, including task-specific hazard identification and control implementation. Training on regulatory-specific topics also occurs regularly.
We measure progress toward achieving our objective against regularly established benchmarks, including measuring company-wide Total Recordable Incident Rates (TRIR) across our businesses. Our TRIR (including contractors) was 0.56 per 200,000 man-hours worked in 2014, exceeding our target of 0.61. The company-wide TRIR in 2014 is the lowest in the Company’s history. We worked 202.5 million hours in 2014 compared to 175 million hours in the prior year, and we recorded a total of 567 reportable injuries in 2014 compared to 649 in 2013.
Occupational Health Freeport-McMoRan operations maintain comprehensive occupational health programs to assess the risk of exposure to occupational health hazards and implement adequate controls for the workforce. Our Field Guide for Occupational Health and Industrial Hygiene defines occupational exposure limits, standards and practices that apply globally. Every workplace job task includes an evaluation of physical hazards, as well as the potential consequences related to occupational illness. During 2014, our medical protocols were reviewed, expanded and standardized to assist with recognition and management of risks relevant to conditions such as heat stress; to evaluate fitness for duty; and to track specific indicators for specific exposures such as silica and lead. We also have implemented a new software system that enables electronic management of data to expedite response to events and to monitor trends and patterns.
There were 46 occupational illness cases reported at our operations in 2014. These cases reflect the number of workforce members involved, not the number of exposure events which was significantly lower. One exposure event involving six employees occurred at a leach pad where exposure to gases including nitrogen dioxide occurred. In response, the use of personal monitors and controlled access have been implemented and additional measures have been introduced to test acids being used for leaching to determine their potential to contain residual or higher than optimal constituents that could result in undesirable exposure risks. These measures are now being implemented at all operations with similar leaching processes. We experienced six cases of heat stress primarily related to higher temperatures experienced at a number of operations and correct classification of the cases as heat stress as opposed to fatigue. We continue to conduct educational campaigns to promote proper hydration practices within the workforce. Other cases included hearing impairment, dermatitis and illness as a result of exposure to agents including acid mist. Any injury or illness includes a root cause analysis and management actions to prevent reoccurrence
Award-Winning Health and Safety Initiatives
Climax Molybdenum Stowmarket Ferromolybdenum Plant won a Bronze Achievement Award in the Royal Society for Accident Prevention’s 2013 Occupational Health and Safety Awards (RoSPA) program. The award recognized Stowmarket for demonstrating the essential elements of health and safety management systems, implementing controls for risks, having no fatal or major injuries and maintaining a stable (or achieving a reduction) in the accident rate. The RoSPA Awards are the United Kingdom’s largest and longest running program of its kind. The non-competitive Achievement Award is based on an individual organization’s health and safety performance and success. Businesses and organizations of all types and sizes self-nominate by answering key performance questions and providing a portfolio of documentation. A panel of judges consisting of health and safety experts and consultants review each application against set criteria. To determine the level of Achievement Award – for example, Merit, Bronze, Silver or Gold – the judges take into consideration a range of performance indicators, including:
Organizations with continuous improvement in their health and safety management systems year after year may become eligible for more advanced award categories with more rigorous criterion. In this way, organizations can demonstrate their health and safety successes at higher levels and throughout the years.
Climax Molybdenum Fort Madison Plant won the Incident Rate Excellence award in the Gold, or top category for outstanding achievement in accident prevention by Iowa-Illinois Safety Council during 2011. The award recognized the site for achieving an incident rate of less than 25 percent of the national average based on the most recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To qualify for the award, applicants had to demonstrate an incident rate equal to or lower than the national average for their industry. The incident rate is based on the number of recordable cases, or workplace injuries or illnesses resulting in a fatality, loss of consciousness, days away from work, days in work restriction or those that required medical treatment.
Fort Madison was one of more than 170 business, industries and government agencies in Illinois and Iowa to receive an award for promoting active safety programs and reducing injuries among their employees.
Our team is proud of their safety accomplishments but realizes the real focus of attention must be on the tasks at hand. We will make every effort to achieve and sustain zero incidents one minute at a time, one task at a time, one shift at a time, and one day at a time.