In 2011, our corporate safety audits were modified to provide additional focus on fatality prevention efforts. The new audit protocol focuses heavily on the effectiveness of defining and maintaining critical controls for tasks with significant risk and efforts to learn from potentially fatal event (PFE) alerts from other operations. We have improved our process to share the causal factors and action plans for each PFE across the organization.
Fatality prevention efforts have helped us identify a number of "Global Significant Risks." These are tasks that are performed across numerous sites and that have the potential to cause serious injury or fatality if not managed properly. For example, one of our operations had a fatal injury related to handling High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) pipe in 2010, and we experienced serious near misses or potentially serious injuries handling HDPE pipe at other sites. In 2011, we developed a comprehensive guideline for handling HDPE pipe and implemented an auditing process to ensure that it is implemented effectively at all operations where HDPE is used. Similar guidance documents have been developed for risks associated with blasting, electrical work, and fatigue management among others. Comprehensive audit processes are currently being developed for each "Global Significant Risk."
Even with exceptional overall TRIR during 2011, five people lost their lives to workplace accidents at our PTFI operation:
Grasberg Mine An employee was fatally injured while operating a haul truck in the process of dumping overburden material on a waste stockpile. The truck inadvertently backed over the stockpile crest and came to rest at its base approximately 90 meters below.
Underground Division Heavy precipitation caused rain water to flow into the fractured geology above the DOZ underground mine, resulting in an accumulation of fine, wet material in the ore above a drawpoint in the mine. Twenty-eight hundred cubic meters of mud flowed abruptly out of the drawpoint and into a production drift, engulfing two employees.
Underground Division Sixteen hundred cubic meters of topsoil, vegetation, and rock broke loose from the mountainside above a commonly used road. The landslide was unrelated to mining activities; heavy rain, steep slopes and sub-surface geology contributed to the event. When the debris flow reached the road, it swept a light vehicle over the berm and down to the valley floor 150 meters below the road. The driver, an underground development contractor, sustained fatal injuries from the impact.
Underground Division A mine development contractor was in the process of parking a piece of mobile equipment. He inadvertently left it in gear without setting the park brake and exited the vehicle to lower hydraulic jacks to secure the vehicle. As he climbed out of the cab, he activated the fast idle switch to assist the hydraulic jacks. This caused the vehicle to move forward and pin him against an adjacent vehicle, causing fatal injuries.
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