Prioritising employee safety
The sustainability and continued success of our business are underpinned by our continuous work to enhance employee safety
2020 RESULTSThe environmental and social performance includes the results of acquired Krasnoyarskaya GRES-2 from October 2020, Primorskaya GRES from August 2020, Reftinskaya GRES from July 2020. Murmansk and Tuapse Bulk Terminals are not included.
Our regulatory framework
Employee health and safety is SUEK’s top priority. We strive to create a completely safe production environment and promote a culture of safe production among all employeesto reduce injuries to zero. Since 2018, SUEK has been supporting the international Vision Zero initiative.
SUEK’s system for managing health and safety is regulated by our Safe Production Strategy and Occupational and Industrial Safety Policy, which is binding for all employees and contractors. We consistently improve our policies, procedures and systems in accordance with our principles and ISO 45001 standards. In 2020, SUEK's assets in the Krasnoyarsk region were certified, and in 2021, we plan to have our facilities in Khakassia and Kuzbass audited.
To ensure production safety, we adhere to the following main principles:
Promoting culture of safe production
By promoting a culture of safety, we demonstrate that it is everybody's responsibility — from top management down.
The facility heads make regular rounds of the production sites and discuss the conditions of the workplaces with personnel. The facility heads are evaluated against the results of these rounds, which we submit for open discussion between the heads of HSE departments at the Group level. This evaluation helps us to form a management team of like-minded people, identify and promote leaders, taking into account their performance, deliver training, exchange experiences and share safety culture at all production units.
Our approach also involves the continuous development of health and safety competencies, regular employee training and testing, careful monitoring of equipment at production facilities and using the best available safety technology and equipment.
At SUEK’s production sites, we have systems to help up-skill SUEK employees and contractors. Before shifts they can access tests and interactive training programmes via computer terminals to learn about safe working methods and conduct express checks of their knowledge of health and safety requirements.
We also deliver an internal communications programme to support the changes to our health and safety system and also ran competitions around this. The goal is to raise awareness of health and safety management and to involve each and every employee in this process.
SUEK’s internal industrial and labour safety standards also apply to employees of contracting organisations working at our facilities. Our relations with contractors are governed by a dedicated regulation on monitoring compliance with industrial safety requirements by contractors at SUEK's production assets:
- Contractors are required to have permits to perform the work assigned to them
- Contractors must be staffed with the required number of qualified personnel
- Contractors must have the necessary management structures and employees dealing with industrial safety
- Contractor personnel must be provided with the certified personal protective equipment, work clothing and safety shoes
- Contractor personnel must be equipped with a sufficient number of fault-free, certified, verified/tested tools and accessories
We assess regularly contractors for compliance with our safety requirements:
- When we select a contractor
- When contractors work at our facilities, we include them in the unified production supervision system of a particular asset, and they stick to a common schedule
- When we find violations or inconsistencies at one contractor, we initiate spot inspections of all contractors
SUEK's industrial safety management system provides a unified methodology and monitoring at all levels of the company's management.
The Board of Directors monitors the progress of our health and safety strategy. At its meetings, the Nomination and Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors reviews regular management reports on the current state of production safety, discusses strategic initiatives and their progress, evaluates the completeness and sufficiency of response measures and sets KPIs for executives in this area. In 2021, the issue of health and safety has been transferred to the Board’s dedicated Health, Safety and Environment Committee.
SUEK's CEO chairs two executive Health and Safety Committees, one in the Coal and Logistics segments, and the other in the Energy segment. The main tasks of the Committees are setting up effective production safety management systems, addressing important issues and coordinating and monitoring health and safety activities at our facilities.
Representatives of trade unions are invited to participate in commissions when conducting special assessments of workplace conditions for SUEK's personnel and are actively involved in identifying and measuring risk factors. Public industrial safety inspectors from various trade unions regularly inspect our production facilities. The elimination of any violations found during these inspections is mandatory.
Risks associated with personnel, processes, working conditions and equipment are regularly assessed at all levels. This assessment is the basis for further strategic and operational steps to improve labour and industrial safety.
We manage health and safety risks through control of hazardous production situations, resulting from hazardous factors and dangerous actions of personnel. The hazards are identified and monitored during internal audits, and the safety of personnel actions is assessed during behavioural safety audits. A behavioural safety audit is based on direct observation of the employees ' actions, the state of the site and joint discussion of the internal auditor and the employee of the results of these observations.
The standards, principles and methodology for identifying, monitoring and assessing risk also apply to SUEK's contractors.
There is a plan for mitigating potential accidents at each of our facilities, which is regularly reviewed and updated.
We test all candidates applying for job vacancies and engineering positions to evaluate their risk appetite and their ability to learn and follow rules. We do not hire anyone who appears prone to excessive risk-taking.
In 2020, SUEK's overall LTIFR decreased from 0.50 to 0.48 year-on-year (-4%). The Coal Segment’s LTIFR fell from 0.72 to 0.69; in the Logistics and Energy Segments LTIFR was 0.52 and 0.24 respectively.
Occupational injuries dropped by 4% year-on-year. Out of the 55 injured in accidents, 38 people were injured at SUEK's mining, processing and service facilities, three employees at the logistics facilities and 14 employees at the energy facilities.
Regretfully, despite all our efforts, four company employees and one worker of a contracted organisation suffered fatal accidents. These accidents were thoroughly investigated by dedicated panels, as well as by the Group’s Health and Safety Committees. It was found that the root causes of these accidents were related to shortcomings in the organisation of production, work processes and documents, inconsistent actions, and disregard for personal protective equipment and safety systems. The company has since developed and implemented comprehensive measures to address these causes and prevent similar incidents in the future.
In 2020, $83m was spent on occupational health and safety (8% of SUEK’s total CAPEX).
Ensuring miners' safety
The nature of the mining industry carries the risk of accidents and emergencies, due to natural factors and operational processes.
Reducing methane concentration
The highest risks in underground coal mining are from potentially explosive concentrations of methane, and the accumulation of fine, explosive coal dust deposits in working areas.
Therefore, our priority is to ensure safe gas levels. We provide mining areas with fresh air, organising optimal ventilation and gas management schemes for them. We carry out complex degassing of mines with a methane content of more than 10 m3 per tonne of coal is carried out.
In 2020, SUEK constructed main ventilation fan units and gas-drainage wells, introduced underground degassing for the new seam at the Yalevsky mine.
We also prevent the possibility of dustexplosions by using inert dust for stonedusting.
Multifunctional safety systems
All of our mines are equipped with a multifunctional safety system. Information flows from the mines are consolidated, monitored and analysed at all levels of company management:
- At SUEK’s head office, our Control Centre monitors industrial safety parameters remotely, in real time
- Our centralised Control and Analysis Centre in Kuzbass receives information on the atmospheric conditions and gas levels, personnel geolocation and production process safety parameters in underground and open-pit mines
Ensuring air quality at above-ground operations
We also strive to reduce dust at open-pit mines, washing plants and ports to ensure favourable air conditions for our workers:
- We use aspiration and dust removal systems, vacuum collection, transportation and discharge of fine coal dust
- We equip production areas, warehouses, ports and adjacent territories with fog-generation units and foam generators
Health and safety at power facilities
There are several key risks associated with producing and transmitting electric power and heat and with repairing and installing equipment at power facilities:
- The possibility of generating a potentially explosive pulverised coal mixture in CHPP units
- Depressurising of equipment operating under significant overpressure
- Electric shocks
- Falling from height during repairs
We make every effort to improve fire safety at our plants:
- Upgrading fire alarms and firefighting systems
- Installing additional fire protection systems for personnel
- Applying fire-retardant coatings on electrical power cables
- Installing flame arrestors in boiler coal pulverisation units
We are careful to ensure the correct procedures are followed when carrying out power installations and attending to repairs (installation, commissioning) of equipment at power facilities.
We control the suitability of the equipment, especially operated under excess pressure, in terms of metal elements condition. When detecting critical defects, we immediately take the defective equipment out of service.
In 2020, we established a corporate centre for coordinating training in safe work at height. Under its management, Siberia’s largest training ground was opened at Krasnoyarskaya CHPP-3 and a smaller one at Biyskaya CHPP.
Modern work clothes and PPE
The company has standard requirements for personal protective equipment (PPE) that cover its protective properties, comfort, ease of use and durability.
Demand planning, procurement and distribution of PPE is generated automatically in SAP ERP. In 2020, began to work in this SAP module. In the reporting year, we rolled this system out at our energy facilities.
In 2020, we improved the visibility of our special clothing using a fluorescent yellow signal fabric to increase its protection against general industrial pollutions. Also industrial tests of special clothing based on aramid fibers, designed to protect against sparks and splashes of molten metal, was carried out.
Health and safety training
The company has established multilevel personnel training in health and safety.
We maintain a matrix of mandatory training by personnel categories and professions, in accordance with which training is planned and implemented for all employees, from directors to workers. Our regular programmes are aimed at increasing awareness of new health and safety standards, policies, rules, the best available technologies, and developing leadership skills.
We operate several training centres with classrooms that include multimedia interactive simulators of our large operating machines such as excavators, bulldozers, trucks, and other interactive tools.
In February 2020, we ran the final stage of the Energy segment’s Regional Safety First conferences for young professionals which strive to motivate and demonstrate the need for workers to work safely. The participants worked together to solve cases and resolve situations that could arise during production.
In the reporting year, 15 health and safety specialists took part in external trainings and received certificates from SGS Academy in ‘ISO 45001. Occupational health and safety management systems — implementation training course' and 'ISO 45001. Risk management to comply with the standard'.
SUEK runs programmes focused on maintaining and improving employee health, looking at overall production and specific risks. They identify early-stage symptoms of occupational diseases, work to prevent them and provide medical services.
We conduct annual check-ups and unscheduled check-ups to identify diseases early on, after which employees are placed into supervision groups and prescribed treatment or offered rehabilitation. Every employee working in harmful and/or hazardous conditions receives periodic medical check-ups.
In the Coal and Logistics Segments, diseases related to the respiratory system, hearing and physical overload are the most common. For the prevention of occupational hearing loss, which prevails in the structure of occupational pathologies, we have developed and use a two-stage therapeutic and preventive programme, including drug therapy and physiotherapy. To prevent diseases of the respiratory system, musculoskeletal system and vibration sickness, our workers receive post-shift rehabilitation (inhalations, whirlpool baths), halotherapy and exercise on ‘David’ treatment and diagnostic machines.
In 2020, there was a 21% year-on-year decrease in occupational diseases.
For the effective control and coordination of activities, we established Response Centres for Preventing the Spread of Infections at SUEK's head office, in each regional production association and at production facilities. These response centres are headed by facilities’ directors. Regular meetings are held at which the current situation and status of all scheduled activities is evaluated, and the necessary resources for the following day are allocated.
The response centres closely follow recommendations from the Russian watchdog Rospotrebnadzor and regional executive authorities. As part of measures to prevent the infection and spread of the coronavirus, in addition to Rospotrebnadzor's measures, we carry out:
- Daily monitoring and multivariate analysis of new employee cases
- Preventive anti-epidemic measures, sanitisation and disinfection of premises at industrial assets, administration and amenity buildings, health posts, canteens, passenger and industrial transport, adjacent territories and communities where our employees live
- Strict control of compliance with requirements for the disinfection of utility fluids at treatment facilities, uninterrupted operation of treatment systems and the availability of reagents and disinfectants in the necessary amount
- Regular testing of employees for COVID-19, along with health professionals at corporate health posts, staff of canteens and arriving shift workers
In February 2021, we started vaccination of employees.
In 2020, the number of employees infected with COVID-19 totalled 6,334. Unfortunately, the disease led to 23 fatalities. We express our deep condolensce to the families and colleagues of the deceased.
Innovation and digitalisation
We have introduced a number of different portable and wearable devices for monitoring health and vital functions, physical activity and safe behaviour at work, preventing collisions and injuries from moving machinery and monitoring hazardous areas. These are smart bracelets, smart helmets and vests.
The Logistics Segment delivered a number of pilot projects with partners to determine the need for and relevance of these devices and their functionality, and to consider changes to the projects given local contexts.
These are currently subject to tests, and a decision will be made according to their outcomes on whether to replicate the project to other units of the Logistics Segment.