SUSTAINABILITY TOPIC: OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

403–1  Occupational health and safety management system

All Boliden units have occupational health and safety management systems in line with ISO 45001:2018. Present certificates are available at https://www.boliden.com/sustainability/our-responsibilities/current-certificates.

403–2  Hazard identification, risk assessment, and ­incident investigation

All units have procedures for risk assessments, hazard identification, incident reporting, and safety inspections. Boliden also promotes initiatives designed to involve employees on a more informal basis by encouraging them to submit suggestions for health and safety improvements. Risk assessment is a requirement of ISO 45001:2018 and the certified Boliden units are consequently audited internally and externally on their risk assessments processes and performance.

Some of Boliden’s workplaces involve a risk of exposure to lead, which could result in lead poisoning. Illness is preventable by avoiding exposure to lead and Boliden constantly measures its employees’ lead levels in order to safeguard their health. Internal exposure requirements are set higher than legislation. Work identified as hazardous/dangerous may not be assigned to those under 18 years of age.

403–3  Occupational health services

All Boliden employees have access to occupational health services in the form of internal and external facilities.

Workplaces are regularly checked with regard to exposure, ergonomics, air quality, noise, and vibrations as part of Boliden’s occupational hygiene monitoring programs. The results are analyzed, actions are taken when required, and are reported to the authorities. Employees are screened regularly via the occupational health services provided at their workplace to ensure that everyone is fit to perform their assigned duties. Any sign of illness that could be associated with work is documented and reported.

403–4  Worker participation, consultation and communication on occupational health and safety

Boliden’s Top Management meets with union representatives four times per year in line with the European Workers’ Council Directive. Worker participation, consultation and communication on occupational health and safety is also a requirement of ISO 45001:2018, which Boliden follows.

Boliden has developed additional Group Safety Standards, which encourages daily health and safety pulse meetings with worker participation. Boliden has health and safety committees at all workplaces where more than fifty employees work on a regular basis. More than 95% of the workforce is represented by the committees. The health and safety committees identify potential hazards, evaluate them, recommend corrective actions, and follow up on implemented recommendations. The committees also hold regular meetings and carry out workplace inspections. Additionally, committee members are available to receive worker concerns and recommendations, to discuss problems, and to provide input into existing and proposed health and safety programs. Workers, contractors and visitors not directly represented by a health and safety committee are encouraged to submit suggestions on improvements.

Boliden conducts biannual safety culture surveys where all employees are provided with an opportunity to assess and further develop the safety priorities of both their leadership and colleagues. This is a key activity as part of the workers’ participation program designed to improve health and safety even further.

403–5  Worker training on occupational health and safety

Worker training in occupational health and safety is a requirement of ISO 45001:2018. Boliden holds annual BeSafe days where all workers are given an opportunity to participate in various forms of health and safety training. There are also many formal health and safety training courses conducted each year on topics such as evacuation, fire prevention, first aid and working at height. All operations also regularly provide health and safety training for employees and contractors, to improve knowledge and create a personal commitment to working and acting safely at work. A senior mid-management program was conducted in 2021 to promote safety training among emerging leaders in the company. Root-cause analysis training was also conducted in 2021. A program to train informal leaders to become safety ambassadors (Safety Savvy) was held at the Tara site.

It is estimated that of the annual total amount of skill training per employee, about six hours are specifically related to health, safety and emergency training for employees and four hours for contractors.

403–6  Promotion of worker health

Boliden has a zero-harm philosophy with regards to accidents at work. The goal for each unit is zero accidents every month. Low absentee rates and low injury rates also create positive results in productivity and profitability. Boliden has a responsibility to create structures, procedures, and other conditions for a safe working environment. Equipment, instructions, risk assessments, incident reporting, safety audits, and inspections all help safeguard the individual’s safety. Boliden continuously invests in automation and new technology to improve safety and productivity. However, no matter how much effort is put into new and improved systems and techniques, they still require individuals to behave in a safe manner. Every individual shall be personally willing to act safely. The principle of “production is important but your health and safety is more important” must be clearly established in every employee’s mind. This message is communicated clearly during the 60 annual BeSafe Days that are held within the Group.

This has contributed to the number of accidents, for both employees and contractors, to decrease in recent years with the number of accidents with absence (LTI) decreasing by 15% during the period 2012 – 2021.

In 2021, minor injuries increased for a second year in a row. The number of serious accidents continues to decrease, but there has been an increase in minor accidents such as trip, slip and fall accidents and hand/finger injuries at a number of units.

To reverse the trend and better identify where improvement measures should be implemented, a Group-wide safety culture survey was conducted in the autumn of 2020. The survey also included a psychosocial section to analyze the consequences of for example stress and the prioritization of safety work under pressing production conditions.

More than 4,900 employees participated in the survey, which resulted in more than 700 improvement proposals. The results were discussed in local working groups and a joint action plan with local measures was implemented during the first half of 2021. It is hoped that implementing these proposals will reverse the accident trend again in all units.

The sick leave rate was stable in 2021, despite some periodic increases in the short-term absence due to Covid-19. Boliden is actively working to minimize the risk of the virus spreading at its workplaces. This work has so far been successful despite minor Covid-19 outbreaks in some of Boliden’s production units and offices. Boliden also took an extraordinary measure by offering employees an opportunity to assist in the overstretched healthcare sector while still retaining their Boliden salary.

403–7  Prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts directly linked by business relationships

The prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts directly linked by business relationships is a requirement of ISO 45001:2018. Boliden has well-established routines to engage suppliers and contractors in health and safety work, whereby contractors are encouraged to participate in daily pulse meetings covering health and safety.

403–8  Workers covered by an occupational health and safety management system

All employees and contractors working in Boliden’s units.

403–9  Work-related injuries

Boliden’s operations include a large variety of different work activities with potential risks of personal injury and ill health. This applies to the entire production chain from the extraction of ore to the creation of products at smelters and transport to customers. The focus is therefore on active risk reporting at daily pulse meetings and regular safety inspections to detect and mitigate serious hazards and risks (considered as risk class 3, RC3) before they become incidents. RC3 cases are followed up with a Root Cause Analysis (RCA), which includes preventive and corrective actions. In 2020, employees submitted 18,453 risk reports.

Despite efforts to decrease work-related injuries, the number of accidents leading to absence from work (LTI) increased slightly by 2% during 2021, from 5.8 to 5.9 per one million hours worked. A possible explanation to this increase is that maintaining routines of daily pulse meetings and physical safety inspections have been a challenge during 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, 56 (50) accidents resulting in absence from work were reported at Boliden’s units by Boliden employees. The most common form of accidents included slip, trip and falls and finger/hand injuries during work with hand tools. The number of accidents resulting in absence from work, including contractors, was 90 (88). The number of workdays of absence due to accidents among Boliden’s employees was 580 (530).

The MSHA all-incidence rate are 1.1 for employees and 1.4 for contractors while the near miss frequency rate is 36.5 for employees and 19.3 for contractors.

LTI Frequency1) Boliden employees

 

2019

2020

2021

       

Sweden

3.4

4.2

4.6

Norway

7.3

3.5

8.6

Finland

5.1

6.6

6.7

Ireland

2.7

4.5

4.6

Group

4.0

4.9

5.4

LTI Frequency1) Boliden contractors

 

2019

2020

2021

       

Sweden

5.8

7.2

5.3

Norway

0.0

10.1

4.1

Finland

5.7

9.8

9.7

Ireland

2.0

2.1

8.6

Group

5.2

7.7

6.9

LTI Frequency1) employees and contractors

 

2019

2020

2021

       

Sweden

4.2

5.2

4.8

Norway

5.2

5.2

7.3

Finland

5.3

7.7

7.7

Ireland

2.5

3.8

5.8

Group

4.4

5.8

5.9

Lost day rate1) Boliden employees

Lost days due to injury per 1,000,000 working hours

Work days

2019

2020

2021

       

Sweden

31

62

64

Norway

213

3

133

Finland

63

110

32

Ireland

19

42

41

Group

49

70

56

Sick leave rate1) Boliden employees

Percentage

2019

2020

2021

       

Sweden

3.9

4.8

4.6

Norway

6.6

5.9

6.6

Finland

4.8

4.8

4.4

Ireland

4.1

4.9

6.9

Group

4.3

4.8

4.9

Work-related fatalities employees and contractors

Percentage

2019

2020

2021

       

Employees

0

0

0

Contractors

0

0

0

Total

0

0

0

1) The LTI frequency is calculated per one million working hours and includes all injuries that have caused one day’s absence or more from work after the day of the injury. To calculate the injury rate (IR) and lost day rate according to GRI, the frequency/rate stated above is divided by five. The number of days absence for contractors is not reported as there is no reliable data available. The sick leave rate is the total number of hours of absence due to injury or disease divided by the total number of scheduled working hours. Boliden currently lacks the ability to monitor sick leave for contractors working for several clients (other than Boliden).

 

Work-related fatalities are very rare within Boliden. No work-­related fatalities have occurred on Boliden sites during the last 10 years of operation.

403–10  Work-related ill health

Work related injuries and ill health have the highest priority on the agenda on all management group meetings in Boliden. Every month, reports are compiled at Business Unit, Business Area and Group level, which contain information on the latest developments in health and safety. The reports include detailed information on proactive safety employee engagement indicators and the number of accidents and serious risk situations. Furthermore, the reports contain information related to short-term and long-term sick leave as well as information on the Covid-19 situation and preventive measures to minimize the spread of infection at Boliden’s workplaces. An analysis of the psychosocial work environment is also performed on a regular basis.

Work-related ill health can include acute, recurring, and chronic health problems caused or aggravated by work conditions or unhealthy practices. Detailed data is followed up on unit level with the local health service providers. The information is partly confidential and it is therefore not always possible to share or analyze as well as disclose in this report. The number of reported occupational diseases or data on absenteeism connected to occupational diseases is not included in Boliden’s reporting since it can take several years before a reported occupational disease is finally accepted or not accepted as an occupational disease by the authorities.