Workplace Safety

Keeping Our People and Workplaces Safe

Throughout history, there have been numerous hazards associated with the mining industry—from long-term illnesses to accidents and fatalities. At U.S. Borax, we mine a remarkable mineral that is essential to human progress. But, human progress should not come at the cost of human wellness. This is why we are determined to create a fatality-free environment, where everyone goes home safe and well every day, after every shift. Nothing less is acceptable.

Corporate policy

As part of Rio Tinto, we share in the critical risk management (CRM) strategy. CRM works by making sure that before starting a task, every person fully understands the risks and takes the right actions to make sure they are protected. In practice, this means checking that fatality critical controls are implemented and working before the job starts.

All learning and trends are shared across the entire Rio Tinto group. In addition to workplace fatality prevention, CRM also includes three critical health fatality risks—thermal extremes, chronic hazardous substances, and malaria—to prevent harmful health exposures to our workforce.

Rio Tinto is an active member of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and we collaborate with the 22 other member companies to find ways to improve health and safety performance across our sector.

The way we work
How we behave, in accordance with our values on safety, teamwork, respect, integrity, and excellence. Watch the video
Fusing Plant 5 safety date
Did you know that all new employees receive extra safety training called Operator Integration Training? This extra boost helps them acclimate to our safety culture and adapt better to their new surroundings.

Culture of safety

U.S. Borax operates a:

Throughout all of our sites, employees are empowered to say something if they see something. An employee traveling from a sales office may see something at a refinery to which facility employees have “gone blind.” That employee is actively encouraged to report safety issues he or she sees. And, the same goes for mine employees visiting corporate offices. A culture of safety, through teamwork, pervades our workplaces. For us, “Team Success Is the Only Success.”

Additionally, U.S. Borax practices Leadership in the Field (LIF). This leader-driven safety initiative focuses on one safety concern at a time. The idea is to embed the safety behavior throughout the entire organization—from Boron to Coudekerque. Started in spring 2018, our teams have explored the concepts of vehicles and driving, working at heights, and housekeeping ... with many more planned. Outcomes from the LIF program have not only changed behaviors but strengthened relationships as well.

Our entire workforce attends regular, safety meetings and discussions pertinent to individual job duties—from vehicle pre-operation inspection procedures to fire evacuation drills. In addition, U.S. Borax offers several optional health and safety courses. Past examples have included first aid and CPR training and identifying domestic abuse in the workplace.

Safety statistics

Total Recordable Injury Rate Graph
Comparative workforce metrics are sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017 (the most recent full year available). Displays rate of injury and illness cases per 100 full-time workers. Metrics are focused solely on our existing operations.

Compliance

U.S. Borax strictly adheres to all workplace safety laws in the areas in which we operate. In the United States, operation facility employees undergo annual Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) training days where topics range from confined space and electrical standards to accident prevention and work place harassment training.

We are open about our safety record. Our MSHA mine IDs are:

  • 0400743: Boron Operations
  • 0402834: Owen Lake Mine
Take a look at this timelapse video that illustrates the work involved to retrofit one of our tailings impoundments to comply with regulatory requirements. Watch video
Rio Tinto hard hats

Awards and recognition

2013 Chief Executive Safety Award for Best Project: When updating our Modified Direct Dissolving of Kernite plant, we completed 1 million man hours with an all injury frequency rate (AIFR) of zero.
2012 Chief Executive Safety Award nominee

Learn More About Careers at Rio Tinto

U.S. Borax, part of Rio Tinto, is a global leader in the supply and science of borates—naturally-occurring minerals containing boron and other elements. We are 1,000 people serving 500 customers with more than 1,700 delivery locations globally. We supply 30% of the world’s need for refined borates from our world-class mine in Boron, California, about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.  Learn more about Rio Tinto

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