ICMM releases its annual safety performance report

July 29, 2022

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), released its annual safety report, ‘Safety Performance: Benchmarking Progress of ICMM Company Members in 2021.’

The report collects data from its members and provides safety performance data of ICMM members in 2021. It found the total number of work-related fatalities in the mining sector among ICMM member companies was 43 which is one less than the 2020 total of 44. The leading cause of death in the industry was through mobile equipment accidents with 12 fatalities.

“The hazard posed by vehicles is common across the industry since it is not dependent on geography, or the commodity being produced. As part of ICMM’s collaborative Innovation for Cleaner Safer Vehicle (ICSV) initiative, members are working in partnership with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to identify and promote solutions including collision avoidance technology, process improvements and training capable of eliminating fatalities from vehicle interactions,” ICMM said in its report.

ICMM reports that the improvement in safety numbers comes despite a 7 percent increase in the total number of hours worked in the year before.

While approximately half of mining deaths happened in South Africa, the highest death rate compared to hours worked came from Côte d’Ivoire, followed by Bolivia. However, each of these countries saw only one death each, giving drastically skewed death rates due to the low number of hours worked.

This marks the lowest annual total of deaths and the lowest death rates since the ICMM began the report series in 2012. Injury rate rose only slightly, remaining in line with the general downward trend seen over the past 10 years."

In a foreword, ICMM president and CEO Rohitesh Dhawan said: “Despite the industry’s focus on operational, cultural, and leadership transformation that has reduced fatalities in recent years, we have still not achieved our goal of zero harm.

“Any year with even a single fatality is unacceptable. This means, as an industry, we must and will continue to work to improve our safety performance so that every single worker returns home safely.”

In the past year, mobile vehicles replaced rock falls as the most prolific killer of miners worldwide. This last happened in 2018, when 15 mobile vehicle deaths accounted for 30 percent of deaths across 2.3 billion work hours. In 2021, mobile vehicles accounted for 28 percent of deaths across 2.5 billion work hours.

Rock falls still accounted for almost 20 percent of deaths, with height-related dangers and electrocution causing the next-most deaths. Over the past five years, most causes of death have shown a general, weak downward trend, although anomalies remain common given the relatively low totals. For approximately two-thirds of deaths, control measures remained in place but proved ineffective at preventing the death.



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