The Zero Index: A Strategic Approach to Safety for the Mining Industry

How do you achieve zero harm when you contend with some of the most challenging environments in the world? Like other industries in recent years, mining operations have made strides in safety performance. At the same time, there continue to be many challenges to achieving true “zero harm” performance. Among them is a project-engineering mindset that drives a focus on discrete activities instead of a comprehensive strategy. Even high-performing organizations can find themselves implementing more and more programs without defining a coherent vision of how all the parts fit together. Many leaders want to create an organization where “zero” is a reality, yet, few can describe what that means in real terms. Employees know that safety is important, yet find obstacles to safe work in “non safety” systems and processes.

Some organizations have navigated these difficulties and are on the road to true zero-harm performance. What makes these organizations stand out is not a magic combination of programs, but a different way of thinking and acting with respect to safety. These organizations tend to focus on inputs rather than outputs. They excel at engaging employees and creating a compelling vision of what safety is and could be. They are rigorous and proactive in their use of safety systems and safety measures, and have progressive decision-making structures that take risk into account far ahead of imminent danger. In other words, they practice discernible disciplines that can be assessed, learned, and improved.

This presentation introduces a state of functioning that we call Zero Index performance: the sustained practice of mitigating exposure to anyone who interacts with an organization—not just employees but also customers, vendors, visitors, and community. Zero Index organizations are distinguished by their ability to take a big picture view of how safety performance occurs. Safety is not a program, but an integral business function that is influenced by, and in turn influences, operational execution.
In this presentation, attendees learn:
• The state of safety in the mining industry: achievements and challenges
• Why what got us here won’t get us to the next level
• How to develop a comprehensive framework for safety performance improvement
• 10 disciplines critical to safety excellence
• The performance continuum: 6 stages of safety functioning to get beyond “high and low”
• Assessing where you are and planning for where you want to be
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