Orano Mining
Corporate Social Responsibility
Report 2017
  • GRI Index
  • Download
  • Contribute
  • Contact us

Our employees may be exposed to several risk factors that could affect their health, whether on industrial sites, in offices or during business trips to the various countries in which Orano's mining activities are based.
In the course of our activities, a great number of information and prevention actions are undertaken in order to maintain a high level of occupational health and safety. The Orano group aims for excellence in occupational safety. Our permanent goal ultimately is to achieve zero lost-time accidents and zero impact of our activities on the health and safety of our employees, of our operatives from outside companies, and of everyone living in close proximity to our sites.


OUR FUNDAMENTALS IN HEALTH, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND RADIATION PROTECTION

McClean Lake Infirmary - Canada

Orano's Occupational Health, Safety and Radiation Protection Policy 2017-2020

The Orano Group's Occupational Health & Safety and Radiation Protection policy, which has been overhauled for the period 2017-2020, aims to continuously improve the results in this area and to reinforce prevention. This policy has been signed off by the CEO and distributed throughout the group.

Developing primary prevention in health, safety and radiation protection is a matter of concrete measures: it involves assessing and gauging risks before taking action, and reinforcing a culture of risk anticipation at all levels of the company.

That is why this policy includes three key areas:

  • primary prevention,
  • control of operations,
  • feedback and sharing of experience.

Orano undertakes as follows:

  • to secure appropriate medical surveillance for all its employees, through:
    • the definition and application of international standards for medical surveillance of occupational risks;
    • reinforced governance of health actions and increased vigilance on the quality of life at work, particularly with regard to prevention of psychosocial risks;
    • continued deployment of the group occupational health service in France;
    • systematically addressing the specific nature of expatriation in our employee medical surveillance;
  • ensuring, in the field of occupational safety, prevention and control of all industrial risks connected with our activities for employees and external operatives.

The new, proactive Health, Safety and Radiation Protection policy, was launched by the group from early 2017 to drive down its lost-time occupational accident frequency rate by 2020.

Each group entity has appropriated and applied this policy, adapting it to the risks related to its activities and identified in the risk assessment file known as the “document unique” in France (legally-required document providing a record of workplace and occupational health risks and preventive measures in place), or its equivalent internationally, taking into account the feedback from accidents or events that have occurred within its scope.

Health-safety and radiation protection roadmap for mining activities

In terms of occupational health & safety and radiation protection regulations, employees are the responsibility of their entity of origin and are subject to national legislation. These regulatory considerations are incorporated into our operating policies and practices.

The objective of the Mining BU is to harmonize our practices as much as possible and to apply international standards in the field, whilst rolling out the Orano group policy with the aid of the following four pillars:

Each local action plan is challenged by Orano Mining's Health, Safety, Environment and Radiation Protection (HSE-RP) team (to examine feasibility in terms of coherence, resources, leadtimes, etc.).

Risk factor prevention

Our employees are exposed to different categories of health risk, including the injuries that may occur following an accident in the workplace mainly on an industrial or mining site, but also the exposure to ionizing radiation, that is intrinsic to uranium ore mining and the production of uranium oxides (U3O8 – Yellow Cake). Our employees may also be exposed not only to psycho-social risks, but also to other risks as well, principally those such as exposure to noise, to dust, or to chemical substances which may potentially lead to occupational illnesses. Other factors may be directly linked to risks that are endemic in the country.

Sources pouvant affecter la santé de nos collaborateurs

The prevention of risks that may affect the health of our employees takes place at several levels in the deployment of Orano Mining's health policy.

Health

Our fundamentals in terms of occupational health

We deploy, through our health policy, a health service in all the countries where we operate by ensuring prerequisites for occupational health and healthcare, as well as providing support for medical evacuations for local people and expatriates.

In the course of our activities, a range of provisions are designed to maintain a high level of occupational health:

Examples of actions conducted in 2017
  • Performance of audit assignments in regional and national hospitals in Mongolia and Kazakhstan in order to update the medical evacuation schemes and procedures.
  • Conduct of a "noise and impacts" survey on the sites in production.
  • Organization of a preventive health working group on the subject of air pollution in the city of Ulaan Baatar.

Making occupational safety a priority

Our objectives: A commitment at all levels within the company

The occupational safety objectives of Orano Mining are to ensure the prevention and control of all industrial risks related to our activities, both for our employees and our external operatives, through:

  • daily involvement of our managers in strengthening the safety culture of our teams;
  • deploying applicable safety standards in all entities;
  • evaluating risks in all our activities using a gradual approach and a common methodology;
  • involving all employees in the detection and the elimination of dangerous and risk-prone situations;
  • collecting and exchanging bests practices in occupational safety;
  • sharing the experience feedback from our accidents among the entities of the group and with our industrial partners.
Safety standards

Since 2012, the Orano group has been running a program specifically aimed at establishing an occupational safety culture. Its purpose is to develop a safety culture that involves all our employees and subcontractors.

Our commitment to safety is based on 12 standards applicable on all group sites. These 12 standards are not a substitute for local regulations, standards or rules of best practice, but serve to complement them whilst also complying with them.

Poster : Occupational safety

A specific Governance structure

Safety governance takes the form of a safety committee. Both think-tank and executive body, this committee meets 2 to 3 times per year. It is made up of the main directors of the Mining Business Unit.

Prevention, Rigor & Vigilance
"One single ambition: to aim for zero accidents"

Safety means prevention and attention on a daily basis and every minute. As long as our colleagues continue to suffer injuries at work, we have to keep working to strengthen our safety culture and be rigorous in the implementation of preventive actions.
We must all conduct ourselves in an exemplary manner in all matters relative to safety. I expect the following from each and every one of you:

  • Strict compliance with standards, rules and instructions. There can be no compromise when it comes to safety.
  • A questioning attitude, as well as rigor and not waving attention in performing your everyday tasks and activities.
  • Responsible and attentive behavior: know how to engage with a colleague who is putting himself/herself into a hazardous situation or is not following the rules; intervene where necessary; know how to handle feedback from one of our colleagues who alerts us about a hazardous or non-compliant situation.
  • Alert others and stop work when the situation requires.

I know I can count on the commitment of each and every one of you.

Commitment and message from
Jacques Peythieu, Senior Executive Vice President of the Mining BU.

The Safety committee is responsible for the planning of courses of action (roadmap), the supervision of their application, as well as for monitoring them and ensuring continuous improvement in safety results.

The safety representatives of Orano Mining are responsible for deploying these actions in the territories where it is present, with the assistance of managers and all employees who are responsible for their implementation. This occupational safety policy applies to everyone, including employees of Mining BU subsidiaries, sub-contractors or visitors.

Every year, with a view to achieving continuous progress towards achieving the goal of zero accidents, the safety committee of the Mining BU sets intermediary objectives, which apply to everyone.

For 2018:

  • 0 fatal accidents.
  • LTIFR <0.7 i.e. no more than 10 lost-time occupational accidents.
  • TRIR < 3.5 i.e. no more than 43 accidents without lost time.
  • Improve and reinforce feedback with systematic sharing of High severity POtential (HIPO) events at site level.
  • Continue the rollout of safety culture improvement training with a focus on supervisors / team leaders.
  • Apply the pre-job briefing safety standard on the sites.
  • Conduct an assessment of the condition of lifting gear.

LTIFR / TF1 (Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate): Fatalities, and lost time accidents
TRIR / TF2 (Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate): Fatalities, and accidents with and without lost time
AIFR including first aid / TF3 (All Injuries Frequency Rate): Fatalities, and accidents with and without lost time (including medical care and first aid)

4 priority actions for 2017

In 2017, the Orano Mining Safety Committee established four priority actions:

  • Action N°1 : Deploy the safety culture improvement training with a focus on supervisors / team leaders
  • Action N°2 : Improve and reinforce feedback with systematic sharing of High severity POtential (HIPO) events.
  • Action N°3 : Establish a standard for mining for the Pre-Job Briefing.
  • Action N°4 : Finalize the experience feedback on 2015 and 2016 SIFs (Serious Injuries and Fatalities) and identify ways forward for improvement.

Each site has prepared its own roadmap based on these five priority actions.

Each local action plan is challenged by the Health, Safety, Environment and Radiation Protection Department (to examine its feasibility in terms of coherence, resources, leadtimes, etc.).

Management system

Work to prevent professional risks is carried out at most of our mining sites using a management system that meets the requirements of standards OHSAS 18001 (for occupational health and safety) and ISO 14001 (for the environment).

These systems make it possible to set up processes and procedures to control the main risks encountered on sites, prioritize them, monitor them, take corrective action and make improvements.

2017 results

In 2017, the safety objectives of the Mining BU were not met. A fatal accident occurred at COMINAK during an underground mining operation.

Nevertheless, the commitment to safety at all levels of the organization allowed us to achieve a lost-time accident frequency rate equal to (LTIFR = 0.68), corresponding to 11 lost-time occupational accidents for the year in total and 1 fatal accident. Since 2011, the frequency rate has included the safety results of our subcontractors.

FEEDBACK ON THE COMINAK ACCIDENT

On Wednesday, August 23, 2017, Mr Mamane Bachir Brah, aged 38 years, a Mining Foreman at Cominak, lost his life following an accident caused by a rockfall in the underground mine.

The Management of Orano Mining expressed its deep regret, as did all the Orano group teams, for this tragic incident.

On the Friday following the accident, a minute's silence was observed by all the teams at each Orano Mining site, in remembrance of Mr Mamane Bachir Brah.

The teams from COMINAK analyzed the underlying causes of this accident by studying the organizational and human factors that may have contributed to it.

Beyond the immediate actions taken, a prevention action plan has been implemented involving:

  • continuation and reinforcing the safety culture training commenced in 2016 and targeting all members of line management and teams,
  • an external geotechnical appraisal,
  • more robust addressing of organizational and human factors and a strengthening of the pre-job briefings.

ORANO MINING ACCIDENTS AND FREQUENCY RATES

AREVA MINES ACCIDENTS AND FREQUENCY RATES
Reminder of definitions

Main risks of lost-time occupational accidents

Risks of accident

Injuries associated with occupational accidents

2017 RESULTS: injuries due to occupational accidents (lost time injuries, medical aids) for employees and subcontractors

Lésions relatives aux accidents de travail

Radiation

Radioprotection / Dosimètre - Canada

Radiation protection of employees

In terms of radiation protection, as stated in the group's nuclear safety charter, Orano is committed to a proactive approach and emphasizes the priority it places on risk management based on the environmental safety and health, safety and radiation protection policies.

Orano is committed to keeping personnel exposure to ionizing radiation in its facilities as low as reasonably achievable in application of the ALARA principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable), and has adopted a continuous improvement program to that effect.

Within this framework, Orano is committed to applying a threshold, in countries with less stringent legislation, of 20 mSv/yr (over a rolling 12-months) as the maximum individual dose received by workers exposed to ionizing radiation in its facilities. This is based on ICRP (International Commission on Radiological Protection) recommendations.

Radiation protection is taken into account from the design phases of projects. Facilities are built to limit exposure at workstations. Zoning, ventilation and structural components are the most important factors for sound design.

Following this, during normal operation, risk analyses are conducted at workstations and the exposure of workers is monitored using suitable dosimeters.

Exposure to ionizing radiation is a form of occupational risk like any other, such as exposure to noise or risks of falls from height. It does however have a number of features which make it specific, in particular that of being an invisible risk that requires high-performance equipment to measure individual exposure to it.

In the uranium mining sector, as in other sectors, such as the nuclear industry, certain fields of medicine, veterinary medicine or research, ionizing radiation is an integral part of an employee's everyday work.

The radiation protection of workers includes the whole coherent set of activities with the purpose of preventing and controlling any risk of exposure of workers to ionizing radiation by guaranteeing adapted and relevant dose rate monitoring under all circumstances.

This means it is necessary not only to assess occupational risks of a radiological nature and to improve working conditions in order to optimize the exposure of personnel, but also to foster a culture of radiation protection by offering training and expertise.

Find out more

Ionizing radiation

Radioactivity is a physical phenomenon related to the structure of material. Certain atoms, such as those of uranium, are unstable and emit ionizing radiation. Such radiation is referred to as ionizing radiation as, when it interacts with material, it can result in ionizations, in other words tear away one or more electrons from its atoms.

Means of exposure to ionizing radiation

Two modes of exposure to ionizing radiation are possible:

  • External exposure:

    In the case of external exposure, the radioactive source is outside the organism. If the whole of the organism is affected, this is referred to as global exposure; if only part of it is affected, then it is a case of partial exposure.

    In the case of external "remote" exposure, exposure stops as soon as the person is sufficiently far away from the radioactive source or if a screen (shielding) is placed between the person and the source.

    When radiation is emitted by radionuclides present by being deposited on the surface of the skin, in direct contact with the person, we also talk about "external contamination".

  • Internal exposure:

    The radioactive source has penetrated inside the organism. This is referred to as "internal contamination".

    This can happen if a person inhales radioactive particles present in the air or ingests food that is contaminated with radioactive particles, or if there is direct contact with the skin or a wound (in this case we talk about "external contamination" that becomes "internal contamination").

    When contamination occurs, exposure to radioactive particles continues as long as the source remains inside or in contact with the body.

Radiation protection principles

Through radiation protection, we implement all the preventative measures that limit the exposure of teams and populations to ionizing radiation.

In order to avoid or reduce the associated risks, radiation protection follows three main principles: justification, optimization and limitation of doses.

  • The justification of activities that carry the risk of exposure to ionizing radiation;
  • The optimization of exposure at the lowest level reasonably achievable. This is the ALARA precautionary principle (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) ;
  • The limitation of doses of individual radiation exposure so as not to exceed the regulatory limits.

These three fundamental principles are taken from the recommendations of the ICRP (International Commission for Radiation Protection) and are enshrined, in France, in the French Public Health Code (Code de la santé publique).

More information

ALARA is the acronym for "As Low As Reasonably Achievable". It is one of the three main fundamental principles of radiation protection. The purpose is to reduce worker exposure to the lowest level possible, taking into account technical, economic, and social factors. The group adheres to this approach and applies this principle throughout its facilities.

It is with a view to achieving this objective that, in the underground mine at COMINAK (Niger), fixed equipment has been installed to monitor the activity concentration of radon with audible and/or visual alarms. This ensures that workers are directly made aware of the presence of radon in the atmosphere and makes it possible intervene as rapidly as possible should the ambient conditions deteriorate. The indication of "hot points", in other words areas with higher dose rates, by means of radioactive symbols in reflective paint on suspended signs is another optimization initiative which helps to make it easier to identify zones of risk.

Radiation protection was given pride of place at the AREVA Awards 2015, a challenge the main purpose of which is to reward teams at the origin of projects and accomplishments of an outstanding innovative nature. The Quick Change Pumps to reduce the exposure of workers at the McClean Lake mill (Canada) was chosen as one of seven winners from among the 24 finalists. This project, initiated by employees of AREVA Resources Canada (ARC) in charge of maintenance, has made it possible to shorten the time required to carry out pump replacements in the ore pulp reception and storage areas, by introducing standardized pumps. This initiative has delivered a significant reduction in repair times and therefore in exposure to gamma radiation, from 4 hours to 10 minutes. This results in a direct improvement in the radiation protection and safety of workers thanks to a reduction in exposure time.

At Katco (Kazakhstan), major preventive maintenance actions were conducted in 2016 at the plant for the activities 400 and 500. They are helping to contribute to the necessary optimization initiative. Maintenance of the calciner has made it possible to prevent leaks from the powder network. Similarly, at the crystallizer, the expected benefits are a decrease in clogging incidents and a decrease in the quantities of materials deposited on its walls. These anticipatory actions have thus made it possible to reduce the number of interventions and the time necessary for repair and maintenance operations. The expected results include reduced intervention times in the event of production incidents and lower ambient dose rate values around the crystallizer.

Renovation work on the calciner building on levels 9 m and 11 m have also made it possible to improve the surface of the floors to avoid the accumulation of dust and facilitate cleaning and decontamination. The benefit obtained as a result is a decrease in the time for which operators have to be present and better management of ambient dust in the building.

These initiatives are considered best practices with regard to international standards.

Radiation protection culture

Continued action to foster a culture of radiation protection.

Actions to foster the culture of radiation protection are conducted at Orano group level through the Health, Safety and the Environment Department (Direction Sûreté, Santé, Sécurité et Environnement – DHSE) or at Mining BU and site level.

The experience of participants in the area of radiation protection culture has made it possible to define criteria to assess the development of radiation protection culture under normal and post-accident conditions. The objective is to encourage a practical dialogue and allow everyone to make sense of measures and information relating to radiation protection, to provide a wider variety of sources of information that are more pluralistic and take account of local challenges, to promote a global approach to radiation protection issues, and encourage the development of networks to bring those actively involved and experts in radiation protection together.

Examples of actions taken:

Distinction d'Orano Canada pour son engagement par la Chambre de Commerce de la Saskatchewan Group following a training session on the fundamentals of radiation protection in Mongolie (July 2017)

Regulations governing radiation protection

Regulatory limits per country

The Sievert (Sv) is a unit used in radiation protection which is expressed in "equivalent dose" and takes into account the characteristics of the radiation and of the irradiated organism. On average, the annual exposure of a member of the public in France is 4.5 mSv.

Definition of occupational diseases related to ionizing radiation

A disease can be recognized as an occupational disease if it is included in one of the tables appended to the French Social Security Code (Code de la Sécurité sociale).

Disorders caused by occupational exposure to ionizing radiation are dealt with in table 6 (general social security scheme) and table 20 (agricultural scheme) of occupational diseases. Each table has the following features:

Any condition that meets the medical, occupational and administrative criteria iven in the lists is systematically "presumed" to be occupational in origin, without any proof being necessary.