There aren’t many sectors which have to deal with the risks the mining industry does.
The mix of people, dangerous environments and big machinery means safety needs to be put ahead of profit and productivity.
According to federal government agency Safe Work Australia there were ten deaths in the sector last year.
It’s an issue which keeps BHP Billiton boss Andrew Mackenzie awake at night.
In an interview with PwC the CEO said even though he’d like productivity to become apart of the fabric of the mining company safety needs to come first.
“The kind of bricks that I’d like to put in the wall is that we really get productivity as a way of being, and being something that is absolutely critical to this company, and that means a whole area of operational excellence,” he said.
“But before we even discuss that, people just get the whole issue of safety and health and we get into an era of what I would call zero harm.”
Productivity improvements, cost reductions and safety is what Mackenzie wants his tenure at the mining company to be focused on.
“We’ve chosen to make this very much, after safety, as the prime focus of our organisation. So everything; our training programs, our culture, our systems, the way we plan, the way we talk about it, is driven towards lifting our ability to become more productive.”
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