Health, Safety and Environment


Safety is Oyu Tolgoi’s core value and is part everything we do. Safety is not about numbers - it's about people. The policies, standards, programmes and targets that we set are important but we recognise that we will not deliver our safety vision without the support of our people. By implementing robust programmes and processes we aim for a workplace and culture that focuses on health and safety as its top priority. Our safety approach consists of the following areas.


Leadership is central to Oyu Tolgoi’s approach to safety. Our leaders have a responsibility to create and promote a safe workplace. They are present in the field and are expected to be highly engaged with their teams.

We have a number of tools that help our leaders to integrate safety into their activities so they become champions of safety improvements.

We believe that everyone can be a safety leader. Our employees are encouraged to become safety leaders within their own teams, speaking up about any safety concerns and taking personal responsibility for their own safety and that of their colleagues.

Safety culture

Oyu Tolgoi is working to establish a safety culture which aligns organisational and individual employee values. We aim to create a positive culture that will drive consistent behaviour.

We believe that all individuals at Oyu Tolgoi should feel comfortable to stop work if it’s not safe to continue. In addition, all employees are encouraged to have a positive impact on safety improvements.

At Oyu Tolgoi every meeting starts with a “safety share”, a chance for employees to briefly describe any safety-related issue and to listen to constructive advice from colleagues who have faced and resolved similar issues.

Systems and processes

Oyu Tolgoi seeks to adopt best practice safety management systems to deliver world class safety performance.

Our standards are aligned with broader Rio Tinto safety standards. They provide a framework to measure, monitor and continuously drive improvement in our safety performance. We introduced Rio Tinto performance standards in the following areas to help manage our key operational risks:

  • Isolation
  • Electrical safety
  • Vehicles and driving
  • Working at heights
  • Confined spaces
  • Cranes and rigging
  • Underground safety standards Management of pit slopes, stockpiles, spoil and waste dumps

Risk management

Given the scale and complexity of our operations, our workforce face significant risks that we must manage carefully.

We take proactive measures to control risks in the workplace by identifying hazards that can cause harm, assessing the risks they pose to our people and using controls to prevent damage and harm. Risk management is embedded in our organisation. Our systems use risk assessments and controls for all tasks.

We use a variety of different tools to help our employees manage the risks in their workplace.

Critical Risk Management
We strongly focus on critical risk management – controlling the risks that are the most serious – those that could lead to fatality or permanent injury. To manage critical risks and prevent fatalities we:

  • Focus on the most critical risks
  • See every workplace and task through a lens of critical risks, ensuring that critical controls are in place
  • Provide practical tools to help check that controls are in place
  • Continuously build on our strong safety foundations

Training and awareness

A key component of our health and safety approach is that each employee receives the training, skills and knowledge they need to perform their job safely.

Oyu Tolgoi provides employees, contractors and visitors with orientation, general courses and job specific courses that combine classroom and on-the-job training.

Risk Demonstration Centre
In 2013, we opened a Risk Demonstration Centre, the first of its kind in Mongolia. The centre uses interactive demonstrations and activities to show the potential consequences of the risks we face.

Monthly campaigns
We continuously run safety campaigns covering our key operational risks such as working at heights, hand safety, electrical safety, and others.

Employee and contractor engagement

We know that employees who feel valued and have a worthwhile contribution to make are much more likely to actively participate in our programmes.

We actively encourage employee and contractor participation in all aspects of safety management.

Contractors make up a significant portion of our workforce. They are expected to adhere to the same safety standards as employees of Oyu Tolgoi.

We have a dedicated team to manage our contractors safety performance. You can find more information in the Procurement section.

Through a regular contractor engagement conference, we share our safety approaches with our contractors so we can build a strong safety performance together.