Safety at work

Key features

  • ThreeRA fatalities.
  • Six million fatality-free shifts and 16 million fall-of-ground-free shifts.
  • Reduced LTIFR of 3.50RA.
  • JD Ryan award at MineSafe for the safest mine in South Africa.


Safety is a fundamental part of our values and a priority within our Company. We are aiming for Zero Harm, the ability to operate without injury every day.

Our safety strategy rests on three pillars: fatality prevention; injury prevention; and safe production. Within each of these pillars the strategy focuses on leadership, simplifying systems, creating an enabling environment and creating a safety-conscious culture.

We believe that a leader makes safety personal, and we have spent considerable time strengthening our leaders so as to help them better relate to their teams, and to build stronger relationships between team members. An essential feature of the re-commencement of operations after the strikes in late 2012, for example, was sensitising management to the need for them to support their teams, and to bridge gaps between employees and management.

Another feature of our safety initiative post start-up was the education and empowering of employees regarding the importance of knowing their right to withdraw from an unsafe working area. This right is embedded within South African mining legislation and in our on-mine agreements. Internal stoppages regarding assessing the safety of an area are mainly focused on our Life Rules: early entry examinations; support installation and geological features; explosives control; winches and rigging; and trucks and tramming.

We also invest in specific initiatives that aim to provide leaders and teams with the necessary skills to improve levels of quality, operations, cost, people, and safety by translating the business strategy into measurable targets for each team. This is driven through an ongoing approach in the Mining Division called Line of Sight. This programme create an environment in which objectives are visually presented on charts in various work areas or waiting places, and has been found to promote continuous improvement as well as to establish a culture of teamwork, participation and recognition.

In the Process Division, this high performance environment is achieved through an established system of Mission Directed Work Teams. For more information on our Mission Directed Work Teams, please see Case study: Recognising excellence among our process division’s mission directed work teams.

Our safety initiatives are guided by our Safety and Sustainable Development Policy, our Fatal Risk Control Protocols and the Lonmin Sustainable Development Standards. These Standards provide a risk-based management framework for company-wide safety management, in line with our strategy of working towards improving safety and striving for best practice. Currently all plants in the Process Division have OHSAS 18001 certification, while all areas of the Mining Division’s safety systems are based on the OHSAS 18001 requirements. While compliance with the OHSAS requirements is important, we revised the commitment stated in 2010 to acquire certification for this compliance in our mining areas, due to the administrative costs involved.

A steering committee was appointed during 2012 to support the roll out of the Lonmin Sustainable Development Standards into decision-making processes at all areas of the operations by December 2015. This implementation has been mapped out in three phases over three calendar years.

Phase 1 of the implementation commenced this year with a gap analysis between Standards and practice. We are conducting workshops on the content and objectives of the Lonmin Sustainability Standards to create a clear understanding of the Standards requirements. These workshops will be completed by the end of October 2013. In addition to this we need to ensure that audit protocols are in place for self-assessments during 2014 and 2015.

In 2014 we will begin Phase 2, which will include a round of internal audits of all mines and processing plants, with the objective of assisting operations to improve internal management systems. Finally, an external audit will be completed in Phase 3.

We have also continued work on implementing the Fatal Risk Procedures. 

We have adopted the Mine Industry Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) leading practices and are in the process of rolling out the following initiatives:

  • Proximity Detection System (PDS).
  • Apply Lonmin Life Rules and Response Triggers (ALLeRT).
  • Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) mitigation measures. (Link to Health and wellbeing)
  • Bolts and netting.


The Allert Initiative, to Apply Lonmin Life Rules and Triggers, was developed specifically for Lonmin as a tool to provide guidance on how to manage the risk of falls of ground. It aims to empower people at the rock face, and focusses on improving the following capacities:

  • Entry examination.
  • Geological hazard identification.
  • The treatment and support of geological features.
  • Withdrawing people from unsafe conditions.
  • Requesting assistance from specialists.
  • Making a decision as part of a functional team.

A system has also been put in place to raise the warning of a potential hazard to a team leader with a higher skills level should a team not know how to deal with it. All supervisors will attend a rock engineering course as part of the initiative and high risk areas will be visited by a senior official more frequent to verify whether the correct controls are in place to mitigate the risk of fall of ground incidents. 

Association of Mine Safety Professionals of South Africa (AMSPSA)

During the past year, the President of the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa (AMMSA) proposed that an association of mining safety professionals be established, not only to focus on safety improvements but also to drive capacity-building amongst safety professionals.

Our Executive Vice President: Mining was instrumental in the establishment of the Association of Mine Safety Professionals of South Africa (AMSPSA) and the Head of Safety (Mining) at Lonmin has been appointed to lead this project.  He will provide guidance on what the leading practices are for safety and drive standardisation across the industry.

In terms of the South African Mines Health and Safety Act, the CEO is ultimately accountable for safety in our Company, while each line manager is responsible for safety in the workplace. The involvement of unions, employees, regulators and contractors right up from the rock face to the level of the Mine Health and Safety Committees is equally important.

In 2013, there were 12 full-time safety and health stewards and 1,365 safety representatives in the workplace, who represented employees on our Health and Safety Committees, which met quarterly. Topics and issues addressed through these committees include trauma care, material handling, safety behaviour, leadership and safety as well as fatigue management. 100% of our workforce is represented through these committees to help monitor our safety programmes.

Percentage of total workforce represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committees that help monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programs.
Health and safety topics covered in formal agreements with trade unions.


We regret to report that there were threeLA fatal accidents during 2013, one during April at Rowland Shaft, one in May at K3 and one in August at Saffy Shaft. These resulted from falls of ground, which remain one of our most significant safety-related risks.

In memoriam

The board and management of Lonmin join our colleagues in remembering:

  • Mr Elson Ngomane, a Team Leader at Rowland Shaft. He started his career with Lonmin in 1983. On 15 April 2013 he sustained multiple injuries following a fall of ground accident and was airlifted to Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg. Following a few weeks in hospital on life support Mr Ngomane passed away on 5 May 2013. He is survived by his wife and seven children.
  • Mr Gil Macamo, a grout operator at K3 Shaft, had worked with Murray and Roberts for three years. On 26 April 2013 he was fatally injured in a fall of ground incident while installing cement packs. He is survived by his wife and three children.
  • Mr Ayanda Dziliyana, a rock drill operator at Saffy Shaft, had worked at Lonmin since 2011. On 14 August 2013 he was trapped after a fall of ground at the end of a shift. He is survived by his wife and their three children.

These accidents were felt acutely in the context of the Lonmin Renewal Plan, where the emphasis we put on safety during the restart of our operations in the first half of 2013 had put us on track to deliver one of our best safety performances, achieving six million fatality-free shifts and 16 million fall-of-ground-free shifts. This was not just a record for Lonmin but for the South African mining industry as a whole, and we commend our teams for their achievement. Our Process Division had a record year for safety, achieving 2,709 days injury free at the Assay Laboratory, and 1,638 injury free days at the BMR.

Fall of ground fatality free shifts
Operation Milestone Date reached
Marikana mining operations 17,000,000 11 April 2013
Rowland Shaft 14,000,000 18 April 2013
Karee Mine (K4, K3, 4B/1B) 10,000,000 24 January 2013
4B Shaft 7,000,000 23 July 2012
K3 Shaft 6,000,000 16 February 2013
Saffy Shaft 5,000,000 22 May 2013
Fatalities and Fatal Injury Frequency Rate (FIFR)


Our lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR*) declined by 15.86% in 2013, from 4.16 per million man hours worked in 2012, to 3.50RA per million man hours worked against our target. We have set a target for 2014 to reduce our LTIFR by a further 5%. Our lost time injuries were down to 317 in 2013, from 372 in 2012. The primary causes of LTIs were material handling (21%) and falls of ground (17%). Most of the materials handling injuries related to hands, and were considered to be behavioural-based accidents. We recorded 19,056 number of days lost due to LTIs. The severity rate was 210.32, a year-on-year decrease of 8.6%. We had 21 Level 3** safety incidents compared to 14 incidents in 2012.

Lost time injuries (LTIs) and lost time injury frequency rate

We also monitor first aid treatment cases and cases receiving medical treatment. This year we had 452 medical treatment cases. Our systems to report first aid and medical treatment cases is still maturing, and in the coming years we aim to report in more detail on these figures.

Proactive measures or leading indicators that we have in place to reduce injuries include:

  • Monitoring frequency rates.
  • Improved contractor management.
  • Specific safety training and preparedness, as well efficient communication of safety polices and expected actions.
  • Environmental assessments.
  • Stringent risk-management procedures.
  • Visible Felt Leadership.
  • Implementing and improving compliance with the Lonmin Sustainable Development Standards.
  • Implementing and improving compliance with the Fatal Risk Control Protocols.

Emergency preparedness planning and procedures are in place, and mock emergencies are set up for employees to practise the procedures in place.

  1. * LTIFR = LTIs (317) x 1 million / hours worked (906,495,18.54)
  2. ** A Level 3 injury is defined as an injury that causes an irreversible disability.


Section 54 stoppages are work stoppages imposed by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), in terms of Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act. Safety inspectors may halt the operations of an entire mine by imposing a Section 54 stoppage if they deem mining conditions to be unsafe in any way. Over 2013 the number of section 54 stoppages imposed on our operations declined from 37 to 18, and so, consequently, has the number of days lost as a result of these stoppages (74.5***). An important initiative this year has been the building of relationships with representatives of the DMR to better understand what is expected of our Company, and to proactively fix potentially unsafe mining conditions before a stoppage is imposed.

  1. *** This figure excludes a 20-day Section 54 stoppage at the Karee Clinic as it had no direct impact on PGM production.

Contractor and supply chain safety

A pre-qualification safety assessment is one of the steps entrenched in our supply chain process, meaning we assess all new vendors to ensure they meet our safety requirements before awarding them contracts.

Together with other industry partners, such as Anglo American Platinum and Murray & Roberts, we are in the process of establishing a non-profit organisation (NPO) that will serve as a platform for collaborative contractor management across the industry. This is intended to create an enabling environment between mining companies and contractors, for the sharing of best practices and standardisation with the aim of working towards zero harm.

External factors influencing safety

Zero Harm to everyone
The winning entry for
our Lonmin Safety
Slogan competition

We have previously indicated our concern about the effects that our employees' home environments can have on safety, as a result of stress, substance abuse and fatigue. In 2013 we looked specifically at fatigue management programmes, and have actively begun trying to increase awareness of the risk of injuries happening at home.

During 2013 a competition was launched among high schools in the GLC to identify a safety slogan for Lonmin. The idea of the competition was to enhance awareness of safety risks not just at work, but in every area of life. Eleven area winners were selected before an overall winner was chosen.

The winning slogan was “Zero harm to everyone, everywhere, everyday” and was entered by Ezekiel Tshubyane.

Data measurement techniques and the bases of calculations, including assumptions and techniques underlying estimations applied to the compilation of the Indicators and other information in the report.
Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with laws and regulations.
Rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days and absenteeism and total number of work-related fatalities by region and by gender.