Health and safety

Material topic

Health and safety

Our operations are focused on our people, their safety and wellbeing while mitigating operational risks and maintaining productivity.

FY20 health snapshot

  • COVID-19 Business Continuity Plan to manage health and safety protocols.
  • Employee health, focusing on “fitness for work” assessments.
  • Fundamental occupational hygiene hazard review.

FY20 safety snapshot

  • TRIFR (total recordable injury frequency rate) = 8.6 per million hours worked.
  • LTIFR (lost time injury frequency rate) = 2.9 per million hours worked.
  • More than 1,400 Physical Distancing Safe Work Observations at operating sites during COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Introduction of saliva testing for detection and quantification of drugs as part of our fitness for work regime after it was introduced in 2019 by Standards New Zealand.
  • Independent audit of our training standard at operating sites.

New ways of working

We introduced a number of new standards this year to enhance the way we operate; key to note are:

  • Contractor management – we aim to manage safety, health and environmental risk in relation to contractors working at any operation by defining the relationships between parties.
  • Hazardous substances – we introduced company wide hazardous substances management standards during the year to ensure consistency across our sites.
  • Vaping – vaping nicotine in New Zealand is legal, and up until recently the smoking laws did not cover vaping. We developed standards to ensure that our people are not exposed to detrimental effects to their health from vaping in the workplace.

People first, shared responsibility

We have a robust, people-centric and innovative approach to workplace health and safety. We do everything we can to encourage, improve, and enforce the right behaviours, culture, and processes across every aspect of our operations, starting with shared responsibility.

We ensure that every one of our mine workers:

  • is always alert to their own safety;
  • focuses on their fitness for work;
  • cares about the health and safety of their colleagues; and
  • watches for potential safety risks at all times.

Continuous improvement

During the year, we completed the roll out of our occupational health monitoring programme across all sites. We expect this system to be a game changer in how our workforce understands and responds to their fitness for work status.

We continue to ensure that all incidents or potential incidents are reported quickly, as a matter of legal compliance. We are improving the competency of our operational supervisors, developing their leadership and management skills.

COVID-19 pandemic

As New Zealand started experiencing cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in early 2020, we worked to understand and communicate the implications for our people. On 26 March, New Zealand entered Alert Level 4 – Lockdown. Coal production for domestic consumption at four of our sites continued as an essential service, and we implemented strict COVID-19 social distancing, hygiene and other health and safety related protocols.

The same protocols remained in place for all operating sites and offices through to the commencement of Alert Level 1, when reduced protocols were initiated once the risk of community transmission had decreased from zero community cases recorded within New Zealand.

Where possible our people worked at home during the 4.5 week lockdown period. Mining at Stockton ceased during this time because export coal was not deemed to be an essential service by the Government. At the time of preparing this report, we are pleased to say we have not had a single confirmed case of COVID-19 among our workforce.

The pandemic has had a significant economic impact on our financial results, primarily from lower export coal prices, but also the inability to export coal during the lockdown, and a 10 percent impact on worker productivity in observing COVID-19 protocols.

We have been working with our people to retain them in employment while benefiting from government wage subsidies when available, and will continue to do so into the future.