Our first priority in the workplace is to protect our people. We work to improve not just their health and wellbeing, but that of our host communities.
We assess, monitor and control health risks to prevent occupational diseases among our workforce, and create community programmes to tackle public health issues such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
How does Glencore protect the health of its people and communities?
Managing risks to the health of our people is essential for their long-term wellbeing. We use a variety of onsite programmes to 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.
The most common health hazards in our workplaces are working with heavy loads, noise, silica, diesel exhaust fumes, acid mist, and coal dust containing heavy metals. We monitor our people’s exposure to toxic hazards and seek to control this exposure wherever possible.
Our Group Health and Safety Policy
We require our assets to have formal plans, processes and records to allow routine monitoring of occupational health, including spot checks.
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 inside and outside our gates.
The strategy has three pillars, which build on what has proved successful at individual assets: Healthy workplaces, 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 our work environment risks and exposures.
- Establish exposure action levels for priority contaminants across the organisation.
- Standardise the evaluation and analysis of occupational monitoring data to that actions related to employee exposures to health hazards are appropriate.
- 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 for pre-placement, periodically through 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.
- Actively engage local public health officials where significant public health risks exist.
- Actively participate in health education, promotional opportunities and contingency planning activities that are applicable to the communities in which we operate.
Our HIV/AIDS management programmes
As a company operating in over 50 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 have delivered 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 have partnered 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. At our Wonderkop site, we work with Calibre Clinical Consultants who run the wellness programme at that asset, which includes HIV education, testing, 24-hour hotline for assistance, and ongoing medical aid. At our African Fine Carbon asset, we are working with the Life Hospital Witbank to conduct HIV testing and wellness monitoring for our employees. We also launched the Community HIV/AIDS and Wellness Campaign in early 2019 in the town of Steelpoort, which involved medical staff from our Lydenburg smelter providing voluntary testing and educational materials.
About 90% of global deaths from malaria occur in Africa, according to the WHO. We explain how we’re working to prevent and treat the disease.
Metrics and targets
Our aim is to achieve a year-on-year reduction in the number of new cases of occupational diseases. In line with the ICMM’s principles on mining, we pursue continuous improvement in our health and safety performance with the ultimate goal of zero harm.