Between 12 and 30 April, 2021, Quebec Operations participated in the largest audit ever conducted at Rio Tinto. Fifteen or so auditors ensured that regional facilities were in compliance with company standards in the areas of health, safety, environment and community.
The purpose of the Business Conformance Audit (BCA) is to determine the extent to which the processes, work practices and measures we have implemented to manage risks to health, safety, the environment and the community comply with Rio Tinto standards. A further purpose of the BCA is to promote continuous improvement.
Sarah Boudreault, Senior Advisor, HSE at Quebec Operations, stated, “In addition to ensuring that standards are maintained at the highest level, the BCA is an excellent way to identify and replicate best practices at our facilities worldwide.”
The 15 or so auditors came from various Rio Tinto facilities. Some of these auditors were deployed on site, in compliance with COVID-19 regulations, but most of them conducted the audit virtually. They evaluated 25 standards at all the Quebec Operations sites, using a sampling approach.
Prior to the creation of Quebec Operations, three separate audits had to be conducted to cover all the regional sites. According to Mélanie Tremblay, HSE Business Partner at Quebec Operations, “This new approach is much more demanding from a logistical standpoint, but it allows us to complete the audit much quicker. Given the results we obtained after 250 interviews, we can be proud of the work that was done.”
It was also the first time that the Community and Social Performance and Strategic Partnership teams were audited since the organisational change in October 2020. Audrey-Claude Gaudreault, Interim Business Partner, Community and Social Performance, stated, “The audit highlighted how well the two teams cooperated and how rigorously they applied community standards and community investments, despite the recent organisational change.”
Philippe Thibault, Business Partner, HSE – Services at Quebec Operations, said, “A large-scale audit of this kind shows us that we can standardise processes, practices and rules at our sites, even if the functions are different. The ultimate goal is to establish a structure that allows us to adopt a zero-impact culture at all of our sites.”