Discuss About The Practices Adopted By Newmont Corporation?
The Case Study is the sustainable development report produced by Newmont Corporation. Newmont is a leading mining company in Australia. The report enlists and evaluates the sustainability strategy and practices adopted by Newmont Corporation. Safety is the prime concern of the mining employees and employers. The economic and social implications of occupational injuries and safety are huge (Hermanus, 2007). The economic impacts of occupational injuries can be linked to the direct costs like compensation, workplace damages, and costs due to interruptions in operations; and some indirect costs like lost of livelihoods, giving income to the dependents and the caregiving costs associated with the injured employees (Hermanus, 2007). Apart from all these costs, today, mining companies also face the fear of reputation damage and losing investments (Hermanus, 2007). Hence, it is increasingly important for mining companies to ensure state of the art safety practices (Hermanus, 2007). The broad context of what is known as sustainable development, safety, and healthy working conditions are the most important sustainability expectations in the mining industry. The paper will highlight the importance of occupational safety in the mining industry, and also discusses the importance of occupational safety in sustainable development. The paper also discusses the sustainable occupational safety practices to be adopted by mining industry so as to eliminate ill-effects of occupational injuries in the mining industry and achieve zero fatalities in the mining industry.
The objective of the study is to discuss the different safety strategies which lead to sustainable development in the mining industry. The safety practices can be adopted to deal with the current safety issues and costs related to occupational injuries in the mining industry, and how these newly developed sustainable practices will meet the future expectations regarding safety in the mining industry.
Employees working in mining industry face various health hazards like physical, psychological, chemical hazards, biological hazards, and ergonomic hazards. All ergonomic hazards include the various types of fatigue, sleep deficits, prolonged disability or any other hazards caused due to continuous use of machines (ILO, 2016). The use of remote controls for operating the machines and other instruments has largely reduced the economics hazards. The Psychosocial hazards include the drug and alcohol addictions, mostly the mining are carried out in remote locations, and hence, the threat of drug addiction is greater (MiningReview, 2015). However, the different set of safety and regulatory policies, as well as health check-up and support have helped in reducing the impact of such hazards and helped in reducing drug and alcohol abuse in mining workers. The biological hazards are more common on sites that lack proper sanitary conditions and lack proper cleanliness. However, improved sanitation and cleanliness measures have largely helped in reducing these hazards (Weeks, 2011). The ill effects of the chemical hazards are more prominent in the mining industry. The chemical hazards of silicosis and exposures to different other chemicals like cyanide; nickel compounds, coal tar, and mercury are widely known (Spiegel & Veiga, 2010). The physical hazards caused due to accidents while working like falling of rocks and fall from heights and others constitute the physical hazards. Noise pollution and the hazards due to noise are also important hazards. The different types of safety and other health hazards are recognized as the biggest concern for the mining industry. The different occupational hazards impact the individuals and decrease the various direct and indirect costs and the harm done to the environment due to mining is also a major issue. Under the broad context of sustainability, eliminating occupational hazards will largely reduce the direct and indirect costs to the economy, society and organizations.
Different existing and new technologies have been used by the mining industry to eliminate the different types of occupational hazards (Donoghue, 2004). The mining organizations and the government have collaboratively undertaken different measures to reduce occupational hazards. The Australian Government has enacted few laws to ensure safety and cleanliness in the mining industry. Moreover, the compensation criteria for the families of the mining workers have been an excellent approach towards providing support to the families of the mining workers. The new developments in mining like reducing noises by putting noise reducing techniques like using noise protector headphones, and soft ear-plugs to reduce the effects of noise (WHO, 1999) (McBride, 2004). The use of new and advanced technology for preventing silicosis, like the use of water fed rock drills, ventilation techniques, and use of enclosed cabins and respiratory protection which limits silica particles from entering respiratory organs have been successfully controlled silicosis (Levy et al., 2005). Moreover, the role played by the government regulations is also critical in controlling the different health hazards faced by mining workers.
The occupational safety largely impacts the economy and society. Direct and indirect costs are associated with occupational injury. The direct costs of workers compensation and family compensation as well as the costs related to the damage caused in the workplace and the sense of security in the minds of the co-workers, and also the costs to the company due to interruptions in the operations and production (Lott & Manning, 2000). The indirect costs are critical to the economy because these costs are estimated to be about 2-3 percent of the GDP in various nations (Hermanus, 2007). These costs include the costs linked with the caregiving for the injured employees and cost of the lost livelihoods. Although, the concerns in the mining industry are similar to other manufacturing industry the biggest challenge facing the mining industry is the environment of the mining sites. The environment of the mining industry is degrading fairly and changes rapidly as the mining processes progress. Although, mining has a multiplier effect on the economy as it contributes significantly to the GDP. Moreover, the mining industry is crucial to reducing unemployment by providing skilled and unskilled jobs. Hence, considering the contribution of the mining industry towards economy and employment it is critical to address the health and safety challenges in the mining industry and ensure health and safety workplace practices in the mining industry (Hermanus, 2007).
However, the recent development in safety in mining Australia has been able to reduce challenges significantly. As per the 2013 reports on mining and sustainability, the fatality rate in Australia in the mining industry was 0.05 fatalities every million hours worked which corresponded to death of 12 employees in Australia (Hermanus, 2007). However, Australia is incorporating new practices, processes and regulations to achieve zero fatality targets. The Enduring Value Framework established by the Mineral’s Council of Australia for promoting sustainable development provides appropriate guidance to the mining organizations for applying the International Council on Mining and Metals framework for sustainable development, which encourages the mining companies to give importance to the environment, economy, community, and safety of the employees. Australian mining industry has been continuously engaged in heavy investments in the research and development directed towards improving safety practices (AustraliaGovernment, 2013). It also involves investments in personnel training and development so as to ensure that industry best standards and practices are achieved.
The Newmont’s Sustainability report is rightly named as ‘Beyond The Mine’ because the industry best practices applied by the company has enabled them to achieve various safety and environmental sustainability challenges, and the company has achieved the zero-fatality target in the year 2016 (Newmont, 2016). The company has adopted the ICMM framework to support industry-wide practices and have implemented strategies to achieve fatigue reduction among employees. Fatigue was considered as a major problem encountered by the Newmont employees. Moreover, the company have adopted different policies and practices to ensure the safety of the employees and have included training and development activities. Additionally, the company has worked towards the benefit of the community. Thus, Newmont constantly strives towards achieving sustainability.
Occupational safety is the biggest concern facing the mining industry worldwide. The contributions of the mining industry towards GDP and employment make it necessary for the industry to address these challenges; moreover, considering the direct and the indirect costs associated with occupational hazards it is critical for the mining industry to ensure safety and best work practices. In the broad context of sustainable development safety and healthy working conditions are the most important sustainability expectations in the mining industry. Hence, mining companies must strive towards continuous improvements and improve the processes and practices for ensuring the safety of the mining employees.
The scenario has largely changed, in Australia, and Australia is the leading nation in sustainable mining. The Australian government has invested heavily in designing and adopting different safety practices and requires the mining companies to apply the framework and ensure the safety of their employees. Providing healthy work environment and safeguarding the lives of the workers who are continuously exposed to different hazards and frisks while working for the company is the prime responsibility of the company. The Australian mining industry is determined to achieve the zero-fatality target and ensure a healthy, safe and sustainable environment for mining.
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