Our top priority is the health and safety of our workforce, host communities, contractors and others who our operations may impact. We identify, manage, mitigate or eliminate health and safety risks in our business.
We recognise and uphold our employees and contractors’ right to a safe workplace. We identify, evaluate and control 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, and create community programmes to tackle public health issues such as HIV/AIDS and malaria.
Our health and safety ambition is zero fatalities, serious injuries and occupational illnesses. We believe our people have a right to go home safe and healthy to their families and their communities at the end of every day.
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 requires 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
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 site 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.