Health and safety
Our first priority in the workplace is to protect the health and wellbeing of all of our people. Our goal is continuous improvement in the prevention of occupational disease and injuries and the creation of a workplace free from fatalities.
We recognise and uphold our employees and contractors’ right to a safe workplace. We identify, evaluate and manage occupational health and safety hazards and strive to provide a work environment that is free from fatalities and injuries.
We work to improve not just our workers’ health and wellbeing, but that of our host communities. We assess, monitor and control health risks to prevent occupational diseases among our workforce, identify and minimise the community health risks that either impact the Group or are exacerbated by our presence in an area, and create community programmes to tackle public health issues.
Our strategic health and safety ambition is to create a workplace free from fatalities and injuries, while protecting our people and communities and promoting wellbeing.
We promote, educate and support our workforce in making healthy lifestyle choices and recognising the importance of good mental health. We expect everyone entering our industrial sites to be fit for work, free of fatigue and not under the influence of alcohol or drugs that may impair their ability to work safely.
We require an effective health and safety management system at each industrial asset for the management of health and safety risks, to ensure the integrity of plants and equipment, structures, processes and protective systems, as well as the monitoring and review of critical controls.
Core to our approach is our risk management system, through which we systematically identify, assess and manage health and safety hazards and credible risk scenarios associated with our industrial assets. We let our people know that we expect every individual, all employees and contractors, to take responsibility for their own safety, and for the safety of their colleagues and the communities in which they work.
We identify health hazards which could potentially cause illness or injury, prioritising exposure controls based on potential health consequences. Some common health hazards in our workplaces are manual handling, noise, silica, diesel exhaust fumes, welding fumes, and dust which may contain heavy metals. We monitor our people’s exposure to health hazards and seek to control exposure at source wherever possible.
Managing risks to the health of our people is essential for their long-term wellbeing. We use a variety of onsite programmes to eliminate or manage occupational diseases and exposure to health hazards; we extend many of these health programmes to our host communities, to combat regional health problems and promote healthy lifestyles.
Our focus is on early intervention. If one of our people is injured at work or suffers an occupational disease, requiring rehabilitation, we support the individual to return to work as soon as possible.
Our occupational health management strategy
Our occupational health management strategy addresses the health risks facing our workforce, their families, and the communities within our area of influence.
The strategy has three pillars: Controlled work environment, Fit for work, and Fit for life.
- Maintain a comprehensive and effective risk-based approach to the management of the health risks associated with our operations and activities ensuring the assessment and control or elimination of exposures at source.
- Establish exposure action levels for priority contaminants across the organisation.
- Standardise the evaluation and analysis of occupational exposure monitoring data to align actions related to the control of worker exposure.
- Establish requirements for and monitor our employees’ physical, mental and cognitive capability to carry out their work duties.
- Provide appropriate support for employees whose capabilities are no longer consistent with those required for the work environment.
- Apply risk-based medical surveillance programmes pre-placement, periodically throughout employment and pre-separation.
- Identify key health issues, needs and interests of our people and develop approaches to inform and educate our people regarding personal health risks, public health risks, prevention and harm reduction.
- Identify and manage community health risks/opportunities, that may either impact our operations or are exacerbated by our presence in an area.
- Actively engage local public health officials where significant public health risks exist.
- Actively participate in health education, promotional opportunities and contingency planning activities applicable to the communities within which we operate.
We implement health surveillance systems to support the early detection of adverse health impacts in our workforce and monitor the potential health and safety impacts of our operations on communities with the aim of minimising adverse impacts on them. We achieve this through collaboration with our local communities and government agencies to identify and implement initiatives that improve health in those communities.
Our aim is to achieve a year-on-year reduction in the number of new cases of occupational diseases.
Our HIV/AIDS management programmes
As a company operating in over 35 countries, we have the opportunity to make a positive impact on the communities near our assets. A key part of operating responsibly is to work with government, NGOs and other stakeholders to support the health and wellbeing of our host communities.
In the DRC, we deliver health and education campaigns and effective prevention strategies through our Watu Wetu Health Services programmes. We provide voluntary counselling, testing and awareness, including information on how to reduce mother-to-child transmission, which we offer as part of our employees’ annual medical examinations. Collaboration is central to any successful approach to tackling HIV/AIDS, and we work with the country’s Ministry of Health, local authority and a local radio station.
In South Africa, we are working with local organisations to advance our Employee Wellness Programme, which aims to increase the number of HIV-positive employees registered in care and treatment programmes.