Australian alumina company recognised as national leader in safety and health

Worsley Alumina has won the Australian minerals industry’s highest accolade – the 2007 MINEX Award – the National Minerals Industry Safety and Health Excellence Award. Worsley Alumina is a joint venture company operated by BHP Billiton, with three sites located in southwest Western Australia. The sites are separated by hundreds of kilometres, with the bauxite mine at Boddington, the alumina refinery at Collie and the port facilities at the Port of Bunbury.

At the 15th Annual Awards dinner, Charlie Lenegan, Chairman of the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA), said: “the MINEX Awards are designed to demonstrate this industry’s commitment to its number one value of zero harm in the workplace and the communities in which we operate. We consider there is no greater stewardship responsibility than the safety and health of our people.”

Worsley Alumina impressed the evaluators and judges with its leadership and safety culture applied through its consistent use of systems and procedures across three complex and discrete sites. “Worsley exhibits a well structured, well resourced commitment to safety and health with a high degree of employee participation,” Lenegan said. “The level of management commitment is outstanding, with health and safety fully integrated into all operations with a high degree of participation by all. The company has clear measures of competency and continuous improvement goals with management committed to long term objectives. The business integrated approach with active and continuous improvement represents industry leading practice.”

Health and safety systems are embedded in Worsley Alumina’s overall business planning cycle whereby strategic considerations are applied to risk profiling, interventions and initiatives, appropriate resourcing and a commitment to both capital and operational funding.

The judges also awarded a Highly Commended Award to Mt Whaleback iron ore mine in Western Australia’s iron rich Pilbara region, operated by BHP Billiton. Mt Whaleback has considerable strengths in safety and health management, made more remarkable by the enormous scale of the operation and the large number of employees. The judges were extremely impressed with the strong leadership, commitment and the substantial amount of resources made available across the site to achieve continuous safety and health improvement. Mt Whaleback’s risk management systems are strongly embedded in the company’s operation and the focus on employee health and wellbeing is exemplary – translating to both families of employees and the wider community through significant complementary programs.

Loy Yang Power’s coal mine in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley was awarded an Encouragement Award by the judges. The Minex judges considered that if the site follows through on the significant commitments it has made on the road to continuous improvement it will reach a level of maturity in its safety and health management that next year and the following years is likely to be outstanding.