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Deaths increase despite setting of ‘zero’ targets

February 2010

Fatalities among employees of UK-based mining companies have risen sharply during the past five years.

A Financial Times study shows that with the exception of Anglo-American, which still has the highest death rate, the largest UK-based mining groups – BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Vedanta and Xstrata – collectively saw fatalities more than double from 23 in 2004-05 to 54 in 2008-09.

Anglo-American, which has a relatively poor record because of the dangerous depths of its South African platinum mining, has cut deaths in the same period from 49 to 27.

Fatalities at Vedanta and Xstrata, meanwhile, have risen every year since 2004. All companies in the study have a stated ‘no harm’ policy, which aims to reduce employee fatalities to zero.

Rio Tinto, which has expanded its efforts to cut occupational deaths, said: ‘Our figures should be looked at in terms of an expanding workforce.’

The news comes as the FTSE4Good index prepares plans for new health and safety requirements, which are expected to be finalized this year.




Financial Times | UK & NI Ireland | Health and safety

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