Occupational health and safety

Occupational health and safety is our most important focus area as it involves the well-being and, ultimately, the lives of our employees and contractors.

Our approach to health and safety

We have a zero-harm philosophy with regard to accidents and harm at work. A strong safety culture is characterized by a values-driven leadership that trusts employees’ ability to act in relation to risk, health and safety.

We have 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. We continuously invest 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, we still require individuals to behave in a safe manner.

As Boliden competes for a limited supply of competent employees and is located in rural areas – the ability to offer safe working environments is crucial for the business. Low absentee and injury rates also create positive results in productivity and profitability.

Safety challenges in the mining and metals industry

Large material flows are handled underground and above ground. Employees and contractors are periodically exposed to heavy machinery and lifting, high temperatures and substances harmful to health. In the event of deviations from established routines, or inadequate planning and allocation of resources, dangerous situations can arise, and people may be at risk of injury. Many employees and contractors work in shifts, which increases the psychosocial risks related to stress and an unhealthy workload. Boliden always complies with local legally required limits when assigning regular and overtime working hours.

Occupational health and safety
management system

All Boliden units have occupational health and safety management systems in line with ISO 45001:2018. Current certificates are available at www.boliden.com.

Hazard identification, risk assessment and incident investigation

Our operations include a large variety of different work activities with potential risk for personal injury and ill health. The focus is therefore on active risk reporting at daily pulse meetings and regular safety inspections to detect and mitigate serious hazards and risks before incidents occur.

We also promote initiatives designed to engage 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, which all Boliden units are certified to, and involves internal and external audits on their risk assessment processes and performance. In 2022, employees and contractors submitted 19,555 (18,144) risk reports.

Some of our workplaces involve a risk of exposure to lead, which could result in lead poisoning. Illness is preventable by avoiding exposure to lead and we constantly measure employee lead levels to safeguard their health. Internal exposure standards are set higher than legislation. Work identified as hazardous/dangerous can not be assigned to those under 18 years of age.

Promoting health

All Boliden employees have access to occupational health services in the form of internal and external facilities. Workplaces are regularly checked in terms of exposure, ergonomics, air quality, noise and vibrations as part of our occupational hygiene monitoring programs. The results are analyzed and actions are taken, including with the local health service providers when required. 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.

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 a 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 our 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.

To better identify where health improvement measures should be implemented, the annual Group-wide safety culture survey has been broadened to also include a psychosocial section to analyze the consequences of issues such as stress and the prioritization of safety work under stressful production conditions.

5,492 employees participated (83%) in the survey during 2021, which resulted in more than 800 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 2022 to drive safety performance at all units.

Employee engagement 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.

We encourage 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 and evaluate potential hazards, recommend corrective actions, and follow up action. 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 on 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 for improvements.

We conduct annual 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, which is designed to further improve health and safety.

Employee training on occupational
health and safety

Employee training in occupational health and safety is a requirement of ISO 45001:2018. We hold around 70 annual “BeSafe” days where all employees are given an opportunity to participate in various forms of health and safety training. Many formal health and safety training courses are 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 2022 to promote safety as a priority area among emerging leaders in the company.

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.

Mitigation of occupational health and
safety impacts

The prevention and mitigation of occupational health and safety impacts directly linked by business relationships is a requirement of ISO 45001:2018. We have 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.

Health & safety reporting

Every month, reports are compiled at Business Unit, Business Area and Group level, which contain information on the latest health and safety developments. The reports include detailed information on proactive safety employee engagement indicators and the number of accidents and serious risk situations. The reports also 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.

Health & safety performance

The frequency of the number of accidents with absence has decreased since last year. The number of accidents resulting in absence from work, including contractors, was 75 (90). The number of workdays of absence due to accidents among Boliden employees was 723 (580). The most common types of accident included slip, trip and falls, and finger/hand injuries while working with hand tools. The number of serious accidents have decreased during the last couple of years as a result of active safety work.

An important new element of our proactive work with safety was to carry out reviews at eight production units in 2022. The purpose of the reviews was to identify and agree on areas for further improvement and to follow up the 2021 employee survey My opinion/Safety culture. More than 80 interviews were conducted with our employees and contractors to better understand their ideas about what needs to be done to improve trust, commitment and safety.

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, the sickness absence remained at a higher-than-normal level for most of 2022. Despite this, our production units managed to maintain good production levels throughout the year. This was the result of well-established ISO 45001 work environment management routines at Boliden's production units.

Work-related fatalities are very rare within Boliden. No work-related fatalities have occurred on Boliden sites or controlled areas since 2010, which is an exceptional result in the high-risk industry the company works in.

LTI Frequency1) Boliden employees

Frequency

2020

2021

2022

Sweden

4.2

4.6

4.2

Norway

3.5

8.6

9.4

Finland

6.6

6.7

4.8

Ireland

4.5

4.6

1.8

Group

4.9

5.4

4.4

LTI Frequency1) Boliden contractors

Frequency

2020

2021

2022

Sweden

7.2

5.2

3.6

Norway

10.1

4.1

1.8

Finland

9.8

9.7

8.8

Ireland

2.1

8.6

6.6

Group

7.7

6.9

5.1

LTI Frequency1) employees and contractors

Frequency

2020

2021

2022

Sweden

5.2

4.8

4.0

Norway

5.2

7.3

5.8

Finland

7.7

7.7

6.2

Ireland

3.8

5.8

3.2

Group

5.8

5.9

4.7

1) The LTI frequency is calculated per one million hours worked and includes all injuries that result in one or more days absence 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. We currently lack the ability to monitor sick leave for contractors working for different clients (other than Boliden).

Lost day rate1) Boliden employees

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

Workdays

2020

2021

2022

Sweden

62

64

65

Norway

3

133

329

Finland

110

32

21

Ireland

42

41

73

Group

70

56

69

Sick leave rate1) Boliden employees

Percentage

2020

2021

2022

Sweden

4.8

4.6

5.3

Norway

5.9

6.6

7.8

Finland

4.8

4.4

6.0

Ireland

4.9

6.9

5.8

Group

4.8

4.9

5.6

Work-related fatalities employees and contractors

Percentage

2020

2021

2022

Employees

0

0

0

Contractors

0

0

0

Total

0

0

0

1) The LTI frequency is calculated per one million hours worked and includes all injuries that result in one or more days absence 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. We currently lack the ability to monitor sick leave for contractors working for different clients (other than Boliden).