Our sustainability strategy includes an objective to become a leader in the protection and improvement of our people’s and communities’ wellbeing. Although challenges vary widely across the Group, we are developing a consistent approach across our assets.

Occupational health management strategy

During 2015, we developed a formal Group health management strategy. This addresses the health risks facing our workforce, their families and the communities inside and outside our gates. The strategy has three pillars, which build on what we have already accomplished at individual assets. 

Healthy workplaces

Assessing, monitoring and controlling health risks to our people and host communities

We require our assets to conduct health risk assessments, and to implement appropriate controls and monitoring systems. Employees and contractors alike are required to wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) that has been checked for integrity. Monitoring systems track potentially hazardous exposures; workers who may be exposed are tested regularly for toxins such as lead and cadmium; we also establish procedures to eliminate or minimise exposure at source. Other common hazards include heavy loads, noise, diesel exhaust particles and acid mist.

Fit for work

Ensuring that our people’s physical capability is compatible with the demands of their working environments

Our people undergo pre-employment work assessments and annual medicals. We recognise that lifestyle choices may have a significant impact on their ability to perform their jobs safely; we have introduced drug and alcohol testing at assets where this has been identified as a risk. We are also aware of the dangers of workplace fatigue and are reviewing our approach to the identification and management of this risk.

Fit for life

Recognising the value of our contribution to the wellbeing of our people and our host communities

Our assets run health and wellbeing initiatives designed to reflect the needs of their individual workforces. A number of our operations are located in regions with significant health challenges, ranging from malnutrition to HIV/AIDS and malaria. Our health programmes include the families of our workforce, while our community development activities feature a range of programmes that target broader regional public health issues.

We aim to systematise the work already done and support our assets in understanding and managing the health-related risks they face. We also aim to capture and promote leading practice throughout the Group. We will roll out the strategy in 2016.

Examples of current programmes

  • We are currently reviewing our metrics and definitions to ensure full alignment with the ICMM definitions, and that they are used consistently across the Group; this has been a particular priority at two of our focus assets, Mopani and Kazzinc.
  • We are reviewing assets with particularly high levels of new cases, focusing on the use and maintenance of PPE and local medical record-keeping: Kazzinc is an example where it was necessary to completely overhaul occupational disease management practice, which has already yielded significant results.
  • At our South African operations, our efforts to combat HIV/AIDS through a combination of education, testing, counselling and treatment have allowed those of our workforce who are HIV+ to maintain productive lives. We continue to work with NGOs and local government to strengthen our outreach efforts to schoolchildren and other community members to educate them about this disease.