Health & Safety

Rio Tinto Alcan and QAL operations both strive to achieve a ‘zero harm’ culture to ensure employees go home safe and healthy at the end of each shift. Safety is about our people, so it was important that we implemented effective protocols and strategies to ensure our vision was delivered in 2013.

Approach

Our safety performance at QAL met its target with a 1.02 injury frequency rate in 2013. However, there were still 17 recordable injuries. The key areas for improvement in 2013 included toolbox for safety improvement, better safety interactions between team leaders and employees, and Take 5 pre-task hazard assessments (PTHA) and procedural rigour.

At Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun, we recorded 13 injuries and an all injury frequency rate of 1.18 in 2013. In the majority of cases, incidents were caused by poor assessment of the hazards involved with the task. In response, considerable effort was put into coaching employees on completing quality Take 5 PTHAs. Leaders are now auditing PTHAs daily and providing coaching to team members to continuously improve the application and quality controls.

2013 Injury Breakdown

Statistics

Yarwun Statistics

Statistics

2011

2012

2013

2014

All injury frequency rate (aifr)

0.53

0.74

1.18

0.94

Lost time injury frequency rate (ltifr)

0.18

0.41

Lost time injuries (ltis)

2

5

All (recordable) injuries (ais)

6

9

13

Occupational illness

2

0

0

0

Wellness programme participants

83

204

312 - 44% of employees

Performance fell short of target   Target met/exceeded   No target set/not measured

QAL Statistics

Statistics

2011

2012

2013

2014

All injury frequency rate (aifr)

1.14

1.36

1.02

0.82

All (recordable) injuries (ais)

22

24

17

14

Occupational illness

13

3

2

<3

Spi closure rate

100%

95%

Performance fell short of target   Target met/exceeded   No target set/not measured



Pre task hazard assessment training

Considerable effort and training has been put into the revised pre task hazard assessment (PTHA) training. The poor quality of these assessments has been attributed to many of the recordable injuries at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun. More than 1100 employees at the Yarwun operations completed this training in 2013. Leaders are now auditing PTHA’s daily and providing coaching to team members to continuously improve the application.

HSE bravo awards

The QAL safety innovation process was established in June 2013. Employees have embraced the initiative, with 64 safety innovations submitted since it was established. It has helped our leaders engage with employees about health and safety and also helped employees recognise that simple ideas can make a big difference in the workplace. Our employees took greater control and ownership of health and safety in the workplace in 2013. The HSE Bravo! award programme continued to run with great success for the third year at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun in 2013.

Ergonomics

At QAL, our focus has been on reducing the number and severity of musculoskeletal injuries throughout 2013. As part of the QAL safety innovation process, 11 manual handling initiatives were submitted, specifically dealing with manual handling improvements.

At Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun, there were 25 ergonomic improvement projects completed. The programme involved training employees as ergonomic assessors to identify and implement improvements to five high-risk ergonomic activities in their work areas. Since the programme started in 2010, the incidence of musculoskeletal injury at the Yarwun refinery has fallen from 65 per cent of all injuries to approximately 40 per cent.

Working from heights

About 80 per cent of working at heights and dropped object incidents over the last two years at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun had the potential to cause a fatality. In response, an action plan was formed to include specialised training and assessment programmes for all employees and contractors that work at height. The new practical training programme incorporated competency-based assessment and this work will be shared with other business units in 2014.

HSE leadership

Critical to our improvement in health and safety was the adoption of the leadership roadmap matrix at Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun in 2013. The roadmap had five distinct areas that our leaders needed to demonstrate to move the refinery’s safety culture towards interdependency. The five focus areas are:

The refinery reached green status for most of these focus areas with golden rules and HSE interactions listed as further improvement opportunities in 2014.

Looking Forward

Rio Tinto Alcan Yarwun will continue to work on maintaining a clean, safe and tidy workplace in 2014. We will also focus on ensuring all employees and contractors are well trained and competent to perform their roles in key safety system elements. We want to continue to develop the building blocks of our safety system so safety observations are well integrated and effective. We also hope to hold another Hand Expo in 2014, which will be an interactive programme where employees and contractors learn the consequences of personal injury.

Our focus at QAL in 2014 will remain on manual handling and ergonomics. Our goal is to complete 25 manual handling and ergonomic projects across the operation.

Case Studies
  • Longstanding issue solved

    Two Yarwun employees solved a longstanding safety issue in the condensate storage area in November 2013. Dominic Glenister and Peter Walk saw that the area was filled with oil containers and given the lack of organisation, the risk of an environmental incident was high. Dominic and Peter relocated the oil to a site-approved cabinet, which captures any leaking oil in the cabinet’s built-in spill tray. The oils are easily located and there are safety data sheets in the cabinet. The area is also now free of trip and slip hazards. This improvement has significantly reduced the risk of health and safety, and environmental incidents in the area.

  • Dr Bob joins the ranks

    QAL and Rio Tinto Yarwun Alcan welcomed Doctor Bob Hoskins during 2013. Doctor Hoskins’ initial focus was to address the process for site pre-employment medical assessments.

    ”Pre-employment medicals are an important tool to ensure the right person is employed for each role,” Dr Hoskins said.

    Doctor Hoskins will also focus on the development of an evidence-based wellness programme for the sites using workforce demographics as guidance.