GRI Indexes:

Safety ensuring effective operation

Employees of the copper mines operated by KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. work in a difficult environment and are exposed to many hazards. One of the most hazardous and life-threatening events faced by employees working in the mines of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. are the natural hazards associated with the underground mining of copper ore. In particular, hazards related to mining tremors and their potential effects in the form of rock bursts and mine roof collapse are considered critical from a safety point of view, since their occurrence can lead to serious or even fatal injuries. Our employees’ safety is our priority, and we take a number of preventive and protective measures to ensure they are protected. We conduct regular seismic observations in our mines based on a well-developed network of underground and surface-based seismic monitoring stations, encompassing all the Company’s active mining areas. We evaluate the condition of the rock mass on an on-going basis, marking off areas which are particularly susceptible to rock burst. We carefully select the extraction systems, direction of the advancing mine work and the optimum order of ore extraction. We apply pro-active methods to reduce the hazard of rock burst using rock blasting techniques. We systematically implement state-of-the-art organizational and technical solutions aimed at improving the occupational safety of the crews employed.

The KGHM Group applies an integrated model of occupational health and safety management which involves the following KGHM Group entities: Occupational Health and Safety Service, a world-class Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division; Miedziowe Centrum Zdrowia S.A. – a company providing advanced medical services; KGHM Cuprum Sp. z o.o. CBR – a research and development unit, and an accredited laboratory, Centrum Badań Jakości Sp. z o. o. as an entity specialized in rescue services with its own medical facilities.

Our employees’ safety takes first place among the values pursued by the KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. It is also one of the pillars of our Corporate Responsibility Strategy. Our main research and development initiatives are also focused on improving occupational safety. We comply with all the applicable standards and legal regulations relating to occupational health and safety. But more importantly, we apply our own, more rigorous rules, in selected areas. The profile of our activities, our intervention in the natural environment and care for our employees necessitate setting challenging goals, the achievement of which translates into measurable effects associated with improvements in working conditions and safety. Our manifestation of respect for human health and wellbeing further enhances our effectiveness and efficiency, and ensures the continuity of production. Furthermore, the highest occupational health and safety standards not only apply to our employees, but also to all the service providers cooperating with our Company.


The KGHM Group uses new technologies and cutting edge solutions to improve employee safety. The research which has been conducted for many years is aimed at reducing our employees’ exposure to the hazardous conditions. For example, we have developed a remote controlled system for crushing larger rocks. The system which was developed now enables the operator to remotely control three ore crushing machines at the same time. The new URB/ZS-3 automatic system presented in 2016 and developed by the research and project team of KGHM Zanam, AGH University of Science and Technology in Kraków and KGHM Cuprum Sp. z o.o. CB-R makes it possible to eliminate, almost entirely, an employee’s exposure to the associated hazards and now have chiefly monitoring and controlling roles in the process. Employees have also been removed from particularly dangerous places where other hazards are often present (the risk of rock burst and mine roof collapse, unfavorable microclimate and other hazards) to a control room which is free of these hazards.


People who are safe among the elements – a Zero Harm value: zero accidents resulting from human and technical errors, zero occupational diseases among our employees and suppliers/service providers.


People are the most important asset in the pursuit of our business goals. We jointly care for our common safety, health and wellbeing.

Safety is one of the key values for the KGHM Group, always emphasized and appreciated by the Polish Copper employees. Our employees’ life and health is a priority for all of us. Therefore, all the actions taken by the Company’s Management Board are aimed at mitigating risks in the work environment. Strict rules of safety are binding both for the Company’s employees, irrespective of their place of work, as well and for third parties providing services to the whole Group. We have implemented a work safety management system, which supports our daily efforts, at all KGHM’s branches. We are continuously applying the latest solutions developed by scientists, therefore minimizing the risk of potential hazards. As the manager of a global company with well-established values, I would like to emphasize that we never forget about the safety of the environment in which we operate and plan our development. We pay particular attention to local communities. We take care of the natural environment, and therefore we use Polish Copper resources rationally, ensuring the sustainable development of our Company and the surrounding areas where we build the KGHM brand value together.” Radosław Domagalski-Łabędzki
 President of the Management Board & CEO

Safety rules

2016 was another year of hard work focused on improving occupational safety within the Group. Each of the Company’s Divisions has implemented an occupational safety management system which complies with the applicable standards.

Safety management systems implemented in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s plants

Lubin Mine
Management System Certificate “Occupational Health and Safety”
No. CS/10/V/15 valid until June 2018
Polkowice-Sieroszowice Mine
Sieroszowice – Management System Certificate “Occupational Health and Safety”
No. CS/35/IV/2015 valid until June 2018
Rudna Mine
Management System Certificate “Occupational Health and Safety”
No. Ac090/146/2996/2008 valid until June 2017
Legnica Smelter and Refinery
Management System Certificate “Occupational Health and Safety”
No. B-63/1/2016 valid until June 2019
Głogów Smelter and Refinery
Management System Certificate “Occupational Health and Safety”
No. 252921 valid until May 2018
Cedynia Smelter and Refinery
Certificate of an Integrated Management System “Quality, occupational health and safety”
No. JBS-2/8/2014 valid until April 2017
Concentrators DivisionManagement System Certificate “Occupational Health and Safety”
valid until April 2017
Tailings Division
Certificate of an Integrated Management System
“Environment, occupational health and safety” valid until April 2017

Hazards were identified, professional risks were evaluated and measures increasing occupational safety were implemented for all work positions. The working environment is monitored on an ongoing basis, and periodical reviews and evaluations of potential threats are conducted, as well as reviews of machinery and equipment and the necessary technical reviews and approvals. Employees undergo regular training and continuously improve their qualifications. 

In 2016, work on implementing the “Program to improve occupational health and safety at KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. by 2020” focused in particular on developing a desired safety culture among employees. We also updated the timetable and scope of the remaining components of the program, taking into account current operating conditions.

The key areas of the “Program to improve occupational health and safety at KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. by 2020” are as follows:

The objectives of the “Program to improve occupational health and safety at KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. by 2020” are as follows:

  • Reducing the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (number of accident per 1 million hours worked)
  • Strengthening the occupational safety culture
  • Broadening employees’ skills
  • Greater employee engagement in caring for safety at work
  • Implementing a comprehensive program for preventive healthcare
  • Further improvement of the working environment
  • Optimizing occupational health and safety

We strictly follow the legal requirements for organizing periodical training on occupational health and safety, training courses and exams which qualify for work on specialist position with high responsibility.

Occupational safety standards of the KGHM Group

Polish assets
- Safety standards are the effect of experience accumulated for more than fifty years of continuous mining operations.
- All plants comply with the very strict occupational health and safety regulations applicable in the Polish mining sector.
- The newest organizational and technical solutions aimed at improving occupational health and safety are being gradually implemented.
- KGHM follows an integrated model for occupational health and safety management which comprises the following Units: - Occupational Health and Safety Service, the world-class Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division and Miedziowe Centrum Zdrowia S.A. – a company providing advanced medical services, an accredited laboratory, Centrum Badań Jakości Sp. z o. o. and KGHM Cuprum Sp. z o.o. CBR – a research and development unit.
International assets
- Strictly following local laws and standards concerning occupational health and safety.
- The “Zero Harm” vision is effectively implemented based on the ongoing identification and mitigation of risks in the area of occupational health and safety.
- Given the dispersion of the operations, the concept of operational leadership in implementing and complying with occupational health and safety standards in accordance with local cultural conditions is of key importance.
- The development of an integrated Health Seafety and Environmental Management System by a team of internal subject matter experts based on critical risks identified by the group of International Assets.

The prevention of accidents at work and occupational diseases are treated as a priority at every level of our organization.

Employees are required to report any situations which could have an impact on the safety and health of others. Participation in regular training sessions on the rules of occupational health and safety is mandatory. Occupational health and safety is constantly monitored and evaluated and the conclusions are immediately acted upon. In order to eliminate or reduce hazards, we apply the best available technologies and develop new solutions. We impose strict safety standards both on ourselves and our suppliers and contractors.

You have the right to be safe

Each person employed has the right to work in a safe environment and the right to return home from work.

01. First, health and safety

In everything we do, we put health and safety first. Preventing accidents and occupational diseases is our value.

02. Zero tolerance

We do not tolerate behaviors which do not comply with the law and pose a threat to safety and health.

03. We all share responsibility

We are responsible for our own and our colleagues’ health and safety.

04. We are continuously searching for new solutions

We eliminate or reduce threats to employee life or health by applying the best available technologies, techniques, methods and measures in our workplace. We do not spare any effort in seeking continuous improvements.

05. We are not indifferent

We encourage all employees to report any circumstances or behaviors which pose a threat to life or health.

06. We all participate in training

All of us, without exception, participate in training on occupational health and safety.

07. We rely on high qualifications

We require high qualifications and professional skills from all our employees. Every employee is encouraged to increase his/her qualifications and skills.

08. The management regularly evaluates occupational health and safety

Our top management evaluates the state of occupational health and safety in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. to implement continuous improvements.

09. Everybody is assessed

We regularly assess our managerial staff for occupational health and we oblige them to assess their teams.

10. We take care of our health

We work continuously on improving our healthcare services and wellness programs. At the same time, we expect each employee to take care of their health to safely and efficiently perform their duties.

11. We require that everybody comply with our health and safety standards

We require our suppliers and subcontractors to comply with the health and safety standards.

GRI Indexes:

Employees of the KGHM Group are fully represented on the Occupational Safety Board which works based on principles of mutual trust and cooperation. It has forty members, including representatives of employers and trade unions operating in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. as well as Labor Inspectors elected by the employees of each Division of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.

The duties of the Occupational Safety Board include, among other things, conducting periodical evaluations of occupational health and safety, assessing preventive measures and presenting conclusions concerning improvements in working conditions.

In each of the KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. plants, Occupational Health and Safety Committees—which consist of employer, employee and occupational healthcare service representatives—perform periodical reviews of the working conditions and level of occupational health and safety, and present conclusions concerning improvements in the working conditions. Since 2016, the current state of occupational safety in the Company has been discussed at every meeting of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s Supervisory Board.

Dedicated occupational safety teams are also present in the KGHM Group’s international facilities. For example, there is a six-member Occupational Health and Safety Committee in the Franke Mine. The Committee identifies and evaluates the hazards associated with accidents and occupational diseases, and carries out relevant inspections. Since mid-2016, a similar team has been operating in the Sierra Gorda mine.

Measuring the level of occupational safety.

Over the past six years, we recorded a more than one-third decrease in the number of accidents at work in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. (from 556 to 370 incidents). The accident rate was reduced by 32.4 percent compared with 2010.

In 2016, the accident rate in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s plants, standardized in relation to employee exposure to working environment factors, amounted to 12.65. This was 2.42 higher than in 2015 and reached a similar level to that recorded in 2013.

LTIFR in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. calculated the LTIFR (Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate) as follows:

*In accordance with the definition of an accident in the Polish Act of October 30, 2002 on social security with regard to accidents at work and occupational diseases.

In 2016 we recorded a worsening in health and safety results compared with the prior year, including an increase in the total number of accidents at work from 298 to 370 (+24.2 percent) and an increase in LTIFR from 10.23 to 12.65. This was due to a large number of extraordinary collective accidents resulting in many people being injured at the same time.

Irrespective of the above, we will continue to pursue our challenging goal of reducing the number of accidents at KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. in the next four years to a LTIFR level of less than 5.36.

Accident rate in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.*

Accident rate

* Calculated according to the formula: number of accidents/1,000 employees

Number of accidents at work (incidents) in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. in 2016

Total number of accidents at work
Number of fatal injuries
Number of serious incidents
Number of minor accidents
Total number of injuries in accidents

Source: KGHM

The number of accidents at KGHM is declining systematically, but not always from year to year.

The management of occupational safety in the KGHM INTERNATIONAL LTD Group is based on the same principles as those applied by KGHM Polska Miedź S.A., i.e. identifying, evaluating, eliminating and/or monitoring hazards and risks as part of following and continuously improving our “Zero Harm” organizational culture which is also one of our corporate values. The “Zero Harm” occupational safety policy applies equally to employees and contractors/suppliers and it is understood as the continuous prevention of hazards in the HSE area (health, safety and the environment).

The results of these activities are reflected in a low TRIR indicator (Total Recordable Incident Rate according to the ICMM definitions and calculated per 200,000 hours) being maintained over the past few years. Since 2010, the TRIR has decreased by 70 percent to 0.9 in 2016.


* Compared with the data on occupational safety in the Company and the Group provided in the prior year, the TRIR value for 2011 was amended due to a change in the reporting standard applied by KGHM INTERNATIONAL LTD. to the ICMM (International Council on Mining & Metals) standard in 2012. Compared with the data on occupational safety for the prior year, the TRIR value for 2012 was also amended due to changes in the presentation of roundings.

In the Carlota mine in the USA, no accidents were recorded in 2016, and in the Robinson mine, the TRIR improved by 38 percent.
The most tragic accidents in 2016:
Date: September 14, 2016
Localization: Rudna Mine
Description:  There was a rock mass tremor
  injuring ten miners. One miner died,
  and nine sustained non-life-threatening injuries. 
Date: November 3, 2016
Localization: Lubin Mine
Description:  there was a spontaneous rock mass
 tremor as a result of which one person
 lost his life and another sustained
 a light head injury. 
Date: September 23, 2016 
Localization: Polkowice-Sieroszowice Mine
Description:  two miners died and
 one sustained heavy injuries
 due to the loosening
 of the ceiling. 
Date: November 29, 2016
Localization: Rudna Mine
Description:  eight miners died and twenty-one
 sustained injuries in a collective accident
 resulting in a roof collapse
 as a result of a rock burst. 

Exposure to harmful and arduous factors at work

The number of work-related diseases recorded in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s mines is not more than six cases per year, and we recorded zero cases of work-related diseases in our smelters and refineries in 2015 and 2016. The average ratio of occupational diseases per 100,000 employees of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s mines amounted to 48.86 and was significantly lower than the same ratio for the whole underground mining sector in Poland which amounted to 281.01. 

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. systematically implements cutting-edge solutions in preventive employee protection. New personal protective equipment is introduced, including miners hats, disposable dust masks, reusable dust masks, thermo-breathable underwear, protective gloves, full face masks. Preventive programs relating to the main hazards in the working environment are implemented, including, among other things:
- in mines: a program of centralized air-conditioning in the mines, air-conditioning of mine face machinery, air-conditioning of specific workplaces and personal air-conditioning, a program for preventing exposure to hydrogen sulfide;
- in copper smelters and refineries: a program for preventing exposure to lead and arsenic.

We also searched for new solutions relating to: cooling vests for miners, footwear which minimizes injuries resulting from tripping over or slipping, and more comfortable and lighter full face gas masks as well as new solutions for filtering systems in the mining machinery cabs.

GRI Indexes:

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.’s work-related diseases and preventative measures

Identified hazard from factors harmful or dangerous to health
Groups of employees exposed to a higher risk of incidence of specific diseases due to their professional activities
Number of employees working in hazardous/risky conditions
Preventive measures taken
Industrial fibrogenic dusts
Personal protective equipment
Carcinogenic chemicals
Modernization of technology
Personal protective equipment
Biological monitoring
Job rotation
Educational activities
Miners, Metallurgists, Employees of ore processing plants
Technical and organizational measures, including personal protective equipment
Technical and organizational measures, including new, innovative machinery and equipment
Miners, Smelters
Centralized, mine face, and workplace air-conditioning, ventilation, organization of work
Excessive physical burden
Miners, Smelters, Employees of ore processing plants
Mechanization of tasks, modernization of processes and organization of work

Source: KGHM

The commitment to protecting the life and health of our foreign asset’s employees is reflected in the HSEMS (Health, Safety and Environmental Management System) introduced in 2016. Under the HSEMS, each facility is required, among other things, to develop appropriate procedures based on a set of critical stadards. The critical standards are based on an assessment of risks. The international assests observed an improvement in the “zero days” indicator (number of days in which no accidents were recorded among employees and other people present at the site), compared with the prior year. 

GRI Indexes:

A number of health and safety-related issues in the KGHM Group are governed by Collective Labor Agreements, including, among other things, protective equipment to which employees are entitled, training and education in safety, a grievance mechanism, the right to refuse the performance of hazardous work and regular health and safety inspections and audits.

A dedicated Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division operating within the structure of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is the best example of our commitment to protecting the life and health of our employees. Its tasks include, among other things, mining, technical, fire, chemical, and environmental rescue operations.

The team representing KGHM’s Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division was ranked third and the Sudbury basin team was ranked seventh, out of a total of 28 teams competing in the 10th International Mining Rescue Competition in Canada in August 2016.

In 2016, KGHM’s Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division participated in thirteen rescue operations in KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. mines. The majority of these operations related to rock bursts and roof collapse in the Rudna and Polkowice-Sieroszowice mines.

The tasks of the Mine Emergency Rescue Division.

There is also a Firefighting Unit within the structure of the Mine-Smelter Emergency Rescue Division, with firefighting teams in all major facilities of KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. The Firefighting Unit protects both our plants and their surroundings. The Firefighting Unit is also engaged in a wide range of prevention activities, from inspections of fire-protection systems to taking measurements of the concentration of hazardous substances associated with technological processes, inspections of tanks containing toxic substances, unloading of hazardous substances, etc. 

2016, as part of the preventive measures, fire- fighting operations conducted:

  • 120 operations securing work performed in the conditions of fire and chemical hazard; 
  • 125 training courses for KGHM employees in which 2,087 people received training;
  • 633 preventive inspections in which 1,562 KGHM facilities were checked;
  • 379 inspections of 14,740 fire extinguishers;
  • 185 inspections of 1,255 hydrants.

Recognition for safety management

Our commitment to the protection of employee life and health is recognized by industrial institutions. For our results in occupational health and safety, we have been obtaining a prestigious Golden Card for a Leader in Workplace Safety from the Central Institute for Labor Protection – National Research Institute every year since 2008. We first obtained this prestigious award in 2002.

The Golden Card is awarded to enterprises that do not exceed the national averages of accident rates and occupational disease rates in a given industry and which have developed and implemented an occupational health and safety management system. Every two years, KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. is subjected to a procedure confirming compliance with these requirements. Therefore, we can confirm that we belong to a prestigious milieu of twenty-nine enterprises in Poland where the rates of accident and occupational diseases are below the respective industry averages, and our commitment is an example of a safe work culture.

KGHM Polska Miedź S.A. receives Golden Card for a Leader in Workplace Safety 2017-2018

In addition, the occupational health and safety solutions we implemented were awarded in the 44th National Competition of Improvements in Working Conditions. Our team from the Głogów Smelter and Refinery received 3rd prize in the “Organizational and educational projects” category for its program for reducing lead absorption implemented since 2011. Work on a “System for Continuous Monitoring of Hydrogen Sulfide Hazards in the Polkowice-Sieroszowice Mine” and “Corporate Vortal of Occupational Safety at KGHM Polska Miedź S.A.” received honorable mentions. 

Employee safety is also regularly monitored by the State Labor Inspection, State Mining Authority, and the Regional Mining Authority. Every year, we receive an award for our achievements in safety at work in a competition organized by the State Mining Authority and the Professor Wacław Cybulski’s Safe Mining Foundation.