The most important commitment we all make at South32 is that everyone goes home safe and well. 

Built on our internal safety standards and system of risk management, we provide clear global expectations on how our operations can proactively identify and manage safety risk.

Since our company was created, the core focus for safety at South32 has been the creation of an inclusive workplace. This helps our people to speak up and share any concerns or ideas regarding safety. Our openness contributes to a learning culture and helps us work towards continuous improvement in everything we do. 

An inclusive workplace also means all work is well designed, with continuous improvement to our systems and processes at all our operations.

Work is considered well-designed when potential causes of harm have been identified and the work is planned to reliably deliver safe and efficient outcomes. This is based on an assessment of the workplace, tools and equipment, processes and people. Controls are designed, implemented and verified as effective before work is started.

A strong focus on hazard and event reporting provides us with opportunities to learn. Beyond this, we’re committed to investigations that identify corrective actions to reduce risk and improve safety performance. This has been demonstrated with increasing, effective use of our global event and risk management system for reporting, investigation and action management.

We promote safety behaviours and leadership through the training of our people. Effective training helps our people to be competent and have the right skills to safely carry out their work.

Risk management


Our system of risk management enables us to identify and manage threats and opportunities. We use it to support the delivery of our business goals and act on our commitment to everyone going home safe and well.   

We have simple risk processes, fit for purpose tools and intuitive technology. These combine to enable continuous and dynamic risk management activities. Our material risk management outcomes inform the key decisions that support the steady performance of our operations. Our focus on management of health and safety risk exposures helps us manage the wellbeing of our workforce through safe and sustainable practices on our sites.

We operate based on a ‘three lines of defence model’. This provides regular assurance over our controls, driving reliable and sustainable risk management results. 

Safety training

Ensuring our people and contractors are trained and competent for the work they do is essential to maintaining strong safety performance. Each of our operations systematically plans and delivers training so that people with the right skills and competencies are engaged in all work. This includes specific safety training so all our people have a strong understanding of the principles of hazard identification and risk management.  

Leadership capability

Having leaders with the right skills and capabilities is critical to ensuring safety is effectively managed. Our leadership capability development program was first launched in FY17 and is focused on attracting, developing and retaining exceptional leaders. 

Since its launch, more than 1,000 leaders have participated. The program includes:

  • Review of individual skills and experience
  • Examining individual values and motivations
  • Delivery of our “Catalyst” inclusive leadership workshops
  • Development of annual individual development plans

We also want our leadership to be visible at the frontline. Our visible safety leadership approach requires our leaders, including our Lead Team, to regularly engage with the workforce. This helps set clear expectations and provides greater opportunities for improvement to be shared and acted on. 

Emergency preparedness

We have a company-wide policy built into our safety standards to prepare for and respond to emergencies. This includes the development of Crisis and Emergency Management (CEM) Plans.

These plans are designed to help us deliver a well-coordinated emergency response. This includes protecting our people while minimising our impact on the environment and surrounding communities. Business continuity and recovery form part of the plan to mitigate significant operational loss. 

We’ve had a strong focus on improving our standards and procedures for CEM across the business so that our operations, environments and host communities can be prepared for and protected from potential adverse events.
Along with detailed CEM plans, each operation has well-resourced emergency response teams and contingency arrangements to manage potential events.

Security practices


We engage dedicated and professionally trained security teams to protect our people and assets at our operations. By holding these security providers to high standards of conduct, we believe they can have a positive impact on local governance, peace and stability.

Globally, all our private security providers must operate consistently with the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR). 

In addition, our Africa-based private security providers must meet the requirements of the International Code of Conduct for Private Security Providers. These requirements are mandated in our internal standards which form part of our company assurance programs. Our asset protection management standards acknowledge the importance of developing and maintaining good community relations as a part of successful security risk management.


cnn safety Web card
Innovations at our Cannington operation

We trialled two technological solutions to improve the safety and performance of our underground activities.

Read more
Hillside safety Web card
Inclusive safety in the workplace

The most important thing we can do is make sure that everyone goes home safe and well at the end of every shift.

Read more
Web card
Well-designed work at Worsley Alumina

We've taken steps to improve the safety of our people by introducing remote switching of electrical breakers.

Read more