Safety and Environment

We believe that sustainability matters – legally, ethically and operationally, and we address safety and environmental KPIs on every engagement.

Working towards zero harm is one of our core values and it guides every client engagement.

The growing pressure to work sustainably and manage human impact on our resources and environment creates many challenges. As a firm, we uphold the principles of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) Sustainable Development Framework and of the UN Global Compact. Internally, we walk the talk by encouraging our people to adopt safe and sustainable work practices at all times. Our biggest impact is external, where we help our clients to implement sustainable operating practices that improve their safety, reduce their environmental impact and build new sources of competitive advantage.

We have successfully improved the safety and environmental performance in many operations and industries. Our consultants know that the fundamental disciplines of effective goal-setting, clear accountability and disciplined behaviour, which are good for operations, are also good for safety and environment. Our experience shows stable and controlled operations or construction with low variability are the safest. We believe that a zero-incident rate is achievable in all operations.

At Partners in Performance, we are committed to building a culture of correct attitudes and disciplines, empowering people to prevent hazards and mitigate risk. In this regard, safety shares, walking the talk, coaching, having the courage to point out unsafe acts or conditions are all part of our philosophy and daily life, whether on a client site, in the office or at home. We also encourage our people to reduce their environmental impact by recycling, using public transport for urban travel and purchasing carbon offsets for our flights.

We work with clients to ensure that they have the five improvement fundamentals in place to deliver a turnaround in site safety and environmental performance. These fundamentals are:

  • Stretch targets that are widely understood and communicated. Too often safety and environmental goals are well intentioned but vague. We focus on disaggregating these targets into tangible actions that individuals can deliver within the month.
  • Operation-wide involvement: from the General Manager/Project Director to the Operators. Any improvement is only sustainable when it involves everyone, at all levels of the organisation, adopting improvement disciplines as part of the way business is carried out each day.
  • Cascaded reviews that focus on Key Performance Indicators and actions to impact them. These reviews provide a closed loop to ensure managers are walking the floor, carrying out observations, carrying out audits on procedures and getting feedback from people on how to improve the safety of the operation.
  • Root Cause solutions to address the key drivers. The Root Cause approach, which we apply to rigorously analyse the key drivers of throughput, costs or downtime, is also effective when applied to safety and environment where high-frequency incidents and injuries can be targeted and eliminated. Our emphasis on coaching in root-cause problem-solving embeds these skills to ensure ongoing improvements.
  • Closing the loop with regular audits. Regular auditing of the adherence to procedures and both the completion and effectiveness of actions can reduce incidents and save lives.

Example: Safety improvement

A client, a large metal refinery in Europe, was experiencing a worsening safety performance, with five lost-time injuries (LTIs) in six months. We developed a safety Value Driver Tree to make the link between risk-reducing behaviours and desired outcomes clearer; then we worked with key stakeholders to review fully integrate safety metrics and initiatives with daily shop-floor production meetings. In six months, we helped our client to achieve zero LTIs, with a twentyfold increase in hazard reporting, safety observations and other risk-reducing behaviours.

By adopting core improvement fundamentals – including visible input and output targets, widespread employee involvement, cascaded action reviews, root-cause problem-solving and regular audits to close the loop – operations can turn their passion for improved safety performance into reality.

Example: Emissions and production improvement

A metals company had high emissions from its blast furnace at one of its sites. We worked with the site to stabilize the furnace operations and improve production and reduce emissions. This included optimizing feed purchase to best fit the furnace constraints, improving sinter quality, reducing unplanned downtime, tightening up procedures and adherence to them. Emissions were reduced by 75% whilst simultaneously increasing daily production by 25% and reducing costs/tonne by over 20%. At a sister site, the emissions from the furnace were reduced by 50%, whilst simultaneously increasing volume by 24%.

Example: Water usage

Prolonged dry summers created the need for a major metal smelter to substantially reduce its water consumption if the smelter was to remain open. In prior years the operation had only just escaped a major slowdown of operations due to lack of water. Our team helped management to generate ideas, implement short interval controls and adopt new management practices. This yielded dramatic results – a 35% reduction in water usage and an associated 48% reduction in water. This approach was also successfully applied in other areas of the business– reducing acid leaks by 30% and furnace emissions by 50%.

Our Relevant case studies