Safety and health

Promoting safety and health for employees and contractors

Safety and Health

The sustainability of Lonmin is inextricably linked to the safety, health and wellness of our employees.


Loading of PGMs into drying oven.


Our core business of mining and refining PGMs is labour-intensive and involves a range of potential safety and health hazards. Safety comes first in everything we do and we strive to be the industry leader in safety. Our belief is that we can operate without accident – that Zero Harm is achievable.

It is not only a moral and ethical duty to ensure safe working conditions and support the health and wellness of our workforce, but also a key outcome of our commitment to Zero Harm and a critical part of our Employee Value Proposition. We subscribe to the aspirations and goals of industry bodies, including the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) programmes driven by the Chamber of Mines and the Tripartite Health and Safety Targets and Milestones. Learnings and best practices are shared through these forums and within the Company to continue improving our performance. In 2015, we spent R92 million on personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety equipment.

Interruptions to production through labour unrest and internal or external safety stoppages affect our ability to achieve our production and financial targets, and also disrupt the rhythm of safety routines. The safety performance of the platinum industry as a whole was negatively impacted by last year’s extended strike, with key safety metrics deteriorating after ramp-up. Restoring to positive trends is proving to be a challenge.

We understand that the safety and health of each employee does not begin and end in the workplace. Many of our safety awareness and healthcare programmes extend into the communities surrounding the operations. The informal accommodation conditions of many of the settlements are not conducive to wellness and can have a negative impact on safe and healthy behaviour.

Safety is a never-ending journey. While the Company achieved several noteworthy safety milestones during the year, these achievements are negated by three tragic fatalities.

This chapter provides an overview of the Company’s approach to safety and health management across all Lonmin’s operations. It also outlines the healthcare facilities, programmes and services available to employees.

Key stakeholders


Lonmin’s safety, health and wellness initiatives include awareness campaigns and training interventions that aim to create a safe operational culture and one that is conducive to employee and contractor wellness and productivity. Standard safety procedures require that unsafe work is stopped or not undertaken and we empower the workforce to ensure that this expectation is understood and complied with. Our healthcare facilities, wellness programme, and community health initiatives support the health and wellbeing of our employees.


Government regulates the safety and health practices of the mining industry through the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), which conducts assessments and site inspections and enforces work stoppages. Lonmin’s legal licence to operate requires the Company to demonstrate that its operations are compliant, particularly with safety and health practices. Lonmin regularly engages with government representatives on safety and health matters and participates in industry forums that focus on workplace safety and health. The Department of Health regulates the Company’s hospital and on-site clinics, and monitors our tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/Aids programmes.


Lonmin participates in several industry-wide forums that share learnings and best practice, and benchmark performance. These include the MOSH programme, the ICMM, the Health Policy Committee, the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) and the Chief Executive Officer-led Elimination of Fatalities Committee through the Chamber of Mines.

Risks and opportunities

The information below focuses on why the following risks to sustainability were identified, with particular reference to employee health and safety, and where to find more detail on how Lonmin manages and mitigates these risks. More information can be found in the Annual Report and Accounts 2015.


Our belief is that Zero Harm is possible and our aim is to provide a safe working environment for our employees, our contractors and the communities we operate in. By the nature of our mining activities we have inherent risks that can cause fatalities or injuries.

Poor safety performance has a direct impact on the lives of employees, contractors and their families. Hazards such as fall-of-ground, tramming, working at heights, scraping and rigging, trackless mobile equipment, exposure to gases, fire, molten metal, electrocution and many others have to be controlled to reduce and eliminate fatalities and injuries.

A failure in safety processes could result in injury or loss of life, which would have tragic implications for employees, their families and the local communities. Stoppages may be mandated by regulatory authorities, imposed on the Company through the actions of organised labour or voluntarily entered into by management or any combination of those factors. Safety-related suspensions of operations, whether voluntary or mandated by regulators, contribute to disruption of production, reduced revenues and increased unit costs, which could have a material adverse effect on its business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

Opportunities and mitigation

Safety improvement plans are being implemented, with an enhanced focus on accident analysis and proactive preventative measures. As part of improving relations with the regulator and ensuring appropriate accountability, the Operational General Managers interact directly with the Chief Inspector of the DMR. In order to improve and enhance employee productivity, a wellness and health improvement plan has also been established. Lonmin focuses on continuously improving its operational safety processes and, as part of enabling this, a revision of all risk assessments, standards and operating procedures headed by the Operational General Managers was undertaken.

Sharing learnings on safety and health and benchmarking practices and performance through industry partners such as the ICMM and the MOSH programme, can help to save lives and improve our safety and, therefore, operational performance.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

NIHL remains a significant occupational disease and is a particular focus for the DMR. Exposure to high noise levels is addressed through various programmes and Lonmin does not procure any new equipment or machinery with a noise intensity level greater than 110 dB(A). Personal Protective equipment (PPE) specifically hearing protection devices, are reviewed to ensure that Lonmin uses only the most effective products to reduce exposure to sounds of above 85 dB(A).

Opportunities and mitigation

A Hearing Conservation Committee is in place to seek opportunities to reduce noise levels in work areas and to drive increased awareness on the importance of wearing hearing protection equipment.

Disease profile with high incidence of TB and HIV/Aids1

NIHL remains a significant occupational disease and is a particular focus for the DMR. Exposure to high noise levels is addressed through various programmes and Lonmin does not procure any new equipment or machinery with a noise intensity level greater than 110 dB(A). Personal Protective equipment (PPE) specifically hearing protection devices, are reviewed to ensure that Lonmin uses only the most effective products to reduce exposure to sounds of above 85 dB(A).

Opportunities and mitigation

Information campaigns can raise awareness about the importance of employee health and behaviour associated with a healthy lifestyle.

1 These risks are not part of Lonmin’s strategic risks, but in the context of health, they are important to note.

Accountability and governance

Lonmin’s approach to managing safety and health is defined in the Safety and Sustainable Development Policy, which aligns with ICMM principles, International Standards Organization (ISO) and Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard (OHSAS 18001) management system requirements, and is endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer. The Lonmin Sustainable Development Standards are based on international safety, health and environment (SHE) standards and standardise safety, health and environmental management across the Company.

The responsibility for building a safer and healthier Lonmin lies with every person employed by the Company. Accountability for performance is embedded at an operational management level and operational SHE Committees are in place. Line managers are responsible for the safety of their teams and daily incident reports are consolidated, analysed and ultimately reported to the Exco. A separate SHE Committee that reports to the Exco reviews SHE performance monthly to ensure that executive management is kept informed about operational performance. The Exco’s responsibilities include developing and monitoring the Company’s policies and practices in respect of safety, health and environmental matters. The Chief Executive Officer is ultimately accountable for the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees and contractors when they are on site. The SHE Committee of the Board assists the Board by setting aspirational standards for SHE matters and implementing a culture in which these goals are promoted and enforced.

The health and hygiene department is responsible for healthcare delivery, occupational health and hygiene policies, standards, monitoring and for auditing these services. Lonmin’s safety department is responsible for monitoring and auditing safety protocols and standards.

Safety performance is monitored against internal targets and reviewed for trends that motivate proactive management of future performance. Safety is an important component of the Balanced Scorecard that is used to determine performance for the management incentive scheme and also forms part of incentive schemes at operational level.

Safety and health representatives attend quarterly Health and Safety Committee meetings on behalf of employees. There were 16 full-time safety and health representatives employed throughout the operations in 2015, and 1,740 part-time safety representatives.

A formal agreement that covers safety and health is in place with the majority union, AMCU, which defines how full-time and part-time safety representatives are elected, trained and appointed.

Employees and contractors receive training on safety and health practices through the induction process when joining the Company and when returning from annual leave. This includes training on risk awareness and controls, the standardised approach to critical tasks and procedures, information on TB, HIV/Aids and nutrition, and Section 23 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, 29 of 1996.

The safety and health programme at all processing plants was externally certified under OHSAS 18001. Mining is driving their health and safety management system using the Lonmin Sustainable Development Standards.

External policies, frameworks and regulations

The South African Mine Health and Safety Act is the overarching governance framework that applies to our mines. Through the Act, the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) was also established to promote a culture of health and safety in the South African mining industry. Lonmin submits annual medical reports and hygiene monitoring, including reporting on HIV/Aids and TB policies and data to the Department of Health. The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act requires mines to implement SLPs.

Safety and health at the Process Operations is governed by the Mine Health and Safety Act in Marikana and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993, in Brakpan.

Lonmin’s Safety and Sustainable Development Policy and standards align with the ICMM principles of sustainable development, Principle 5: Seek continual improvement of health and safety performance.

During December 2014, a guideline for a mandatory code of practice for risk-based fatigue management at mines was gazetted. Lonmin developed and submitted its mandatory code of practice for fatigue management within the allotted time.

Lonmin also participates in industry bodies at which safety and health is a key discussion point. These include the Bushveld Safety Forum and the North West Tripartite Forum.

Approach and performance

Employee and contractor safety

Safety at Lonmin

Our safety strategy takes a risk-based approach and is built around the belief that we can operate without accidents.  Achieving our safety goals is a critical part of achieving operational excellence. Our approach to safety is defined in the Lonmin Safety and Sustainable Development Policy, Sustainable Development Standards and the Fatal Risk Control Protocols.

The safety strategy has three key objectives:

  • Fatality prevention
  • Injury prevention
  • A safe operational culture

In 2015, our focus expanded to proactive safety management, with an emphasis on building a safety culture to influence safety behaviour and mindset. Proactive management includes leading measures like safety campaigns, and management-initiated safety stoppages. The Lonmin Life Rules, another proactive tool, focus specifically on those risk areas that cause the majority of fatal or serious accidents. These Life Rules are a set of five non-negotiable rules that employees must follow when working underground or in the plants. The application of these rules is regularly audited and measured per mining area. The Mining Life Rules will be expanded to include out-of-stope hazards such as trackless mobile machinery. We also believe that management-initiated stoppages are effective in stopping substandard or dangerous work and are a helpful tool as a proactive measure to prevent injuries.

The Company also focuses on ‘white flag’ days. These are days that mark no injuries and celebrate our belief in operating without injuries. Daily communication alerts are distributed that summarise the safety performance for the prior day to continuously inform the workforce of our safety performance. In 2015, Lonmin had 70 white flag days.

The Lonmin Process Operation developed a forward energy system to manage the focus on safety on a continuous basis to prevent harm. The system includes safety, health and environment measurements and pre-empts the possibility of increased operational activity and increased risk. It also triggers management intervention.

Safety training forms part of induction for employees and contractors. Lonmin’s objective is for every person in the business to have a personal understanding of, and respect for, the importance of safety in the workplace. This is achieved by entrenching safety principles in the organisation and increasing visibility on safety matters.

Day-to-day safety is complemented by 90-day safety turnaround action plans that were introduced this year to address the increase in injuries at our operations. Progress on these is reported to the Chief Executive Officer on a monthly basis and these plans are continuously adapted to new hazards or emerging trends. Audits include internal, cross-site and external audits, the results of which are used for tracking the safety maturity of each operational business unit.

Safety performance

It is with deep regret that after 18 fatality-free months, Lonmin lost three employees to fatal accidents during the second half of the year. On 19 May 2015, Mr Silva Cossa, a Team Leader, suffered fatal injuries when an underground service vehicle overturned at Hossy shaft. On 22 July 2015, a Sandvik Mining contractor, Mr Mark Potgieter, died as a result of injuries sustained in an accident at Hossy shaft that occurred during maintenance of a load haul dumper. A third fatality occurred on 31 July 2015, when Mr Bonisile Mapango, a winch driver, succumbed to injuries sustained in a scraping and rigging accident in May at E3 shaft. Subsequent to the year end, Zilindile Ndumela, a locomotive driver at Rowland shaft was fatally injured on 26 October. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the deceased.

Each fatality was investigated to identify lessons learnt and action plans to prevent a similar accident. These lessons were shared throughout the Company and, for example, include key control for mobile machinery, licensing of machine operators, working under suspended loads, working in no-go zones during scraping and rigging operations and reducing the number of personnel during cleaning operations with winches.


Inspecting a level indicator at one of the holding tanks at the PMR.

In the period leading up to the first fatality, Lonmin had operated 18 months without a fatality and achieved 11.6 million fatality-free shifts, a new record for the Company. The smelter had also undergone reconstruction without an injury, a significant achievement considering the high-risk nature of this activity.

There were 21 level three safety incidents during the year, compared to 12 in 2014. Level three injuries are those that cause an irreversible disability. The LTIFR1 increased 62% from 2014 to 5.41 per million man hours worked. In 2015, we targeted a further 5% improvement from the 2013 base rate, which was not achieved. We are setting a new target for 2016 to have a 15% improvement from the 2015 base rate.

There were 4732 LTIs in 2015 that resulted in 29,694 days lost, with most of these attributable to fall-of-ground, and scraping and rigging incidents. The severity rate, which is the total days lost to LTIs per million hours worked, increased 75% to 339.38 (2014: 194.16). First-aid cases increased to 146 (2014: 141) and medical treatment cases to 689 (2014: 314).

1 LTIFR: [LTIs (473) x 1,000,000 hours] / 87,494,668 man hours. The LTIFR for women only is 2.69.
2 Of the LTIs, 21 injured were women. Women contribute 0.24 to the total LTIFR.

We are disappointed in the deterioration of our safety performance. Contributing factors to the increased injuries include similar or repeat injuries occurring, employee behavioural challenges, and frequent safety stoppages. In order to enhance safety and production performance, a programme is being developed to empower front line supervisors.

We have developed an updated and focused safety improvement plan to curb the increase in LTIs and high-potential incidents. Each shaft has a 90-day safety turnaround action plan in place to address site-specific safety challenges, and these action plans are implemented by the General Manager of each area. We also introduced incident review meetings and recall meetings, chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, to discuss and learn from potentially severe incidents and to discuss the lessons learnt from incidents that have occurred; the implementation of these learnings is tracked and reported monthly.

90-day safety turnaround action plans – proactively addressing increased injuries

The success of the turnaround action plans at each mine and shaft, since their introduction earlier this year, has already been noticeable. The Lonmin three-month rolling average LTIFR has dropped from 6.45 (April 2015) to 4.41 (October 2015), resulting in the 12-month rolling LTIFR plateauing at 5.41 over the last three months.

We will maintain our focus on these initiatives to effect a turnaround on safety performance.

All safety achievements and initiatives are covered comprehensively in the Weekly Bulletin, an employee newsletter that promotes and upholds the values of the Company. We also participate in a number of forums to learn from others and benchmark safety performance, including the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC), the ICMM, the Chief Executive Officer-led Fatal Elimination Committee, the mine industry occupational safety and health (MOSH) initiative, leading practice days and the sharing of learnings from Section 54 among industry peers.

Lonmin’s involvement with the MOSH programme has led to the implementation of bolting and netting protocols to address fall-of-grounds, proximity detection systems to minimise the risk of vehicle-related accidents and winch signalling devices to reduce winch accidents.

Chart Chart

Safety stoppages

Safety stoppages occur internally whenever Lonmin’s Life Rules have been violated. To support this, the Company has implemented Section 232 booklets and procedures in the operations that equip team members to exercise their right to withdraw from dangerous workplaces.

Section 54 stoppages are imposed by the DMR under the Mine Health and Safety Act. These stoppages are imposed when a DMR inspector has reason to believe that any practice or condition at a mine endangers the health or safety of any person at the mine.

During 2015, 36 Section 54 stoppages were imposed at operations (2014: 20), resulting in 173 production days lost (2014: 55.5) and 770,000 tonnes lost. Not only did we have more frequent Section 54 stoppages, but these were also enforced broadly and took longer to lift after the initial safety issue was addressed. We continue engaging with the DMR proactively to build sound relationships and we also participate in various forums between industry, labour and government that discuss expectations and shared objectives on safety stoppages.

Employee health and wellbeing

Health strategy

Lonmin’s health and hygiene department manages both occupational health and hygiene, and primary healthcare programmes under the slogan “Your Health, Our Priority”.  The safety, health and environmental strategy is designed to support the four objectives of fatality prevention, injury prevention, safe operational culture and operational excellence.

1 These statistics reflect all fatalities, lost-time injuries and medical treatment cases in alignment with the ICMM safety definitions.
2 Section 23 of the Mine Health and Safety Act gives employees the right to withdraw from any situation or area that they deem is unsafe.

Health services are offered through four clinics and an on-site hospital. Community health programmes that deliver on the SLP projects are managed by the Community Development Department. Further detail on Lonmin’s community health programmes.

South Africa has a high incidence of HIV/Aids, TB and lifestyle diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. Our medical surveillance and wellness campaigns aim to identify health challenges early and control them.

One of the health and hygiene department’s primary goals is to embed a health and wellness culture at Lonmin. This is achieved through monthly health talk topics, workplace peer educators, health education conducted during safety breaks and awareness campaigns, including wellness days. During 2015, these included activities around World Aids Day, Condom Week, World TB Day and Youth Day. Activities included screening and awareness initiatives. During the World Aids Day campaign, 5,457 employees were tested for HIV/Aids and 697 tests were reactive (12.8%). Over 1,000 employees were screened for TB during World TB Day, and on Youth Day, 21 workplace peer educators received training on drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

Monthly health customer satisfaction surveys are conducted to measure the quality of the service provided at the medical facilities.

Employee health services

The Company provides a range of occupational and primary healthcare services that fulfil its regulatory obligations and also form part of the Employee Value Proposition. Every employee undergoes regular health assessments. Lonmin spent R180 million on employee health programmes (2014: R150 million). The total investment increased due to the higher number of patients, specifically antiretroviral-treated (ART) patients, and additional cost on critical equipment. Despite the cost pressures, patient physical care has not been compromised and the customer satisfaction rating increased to an average of 84% in 2015, from 83% in 2014.

Primary healthcare

Lonmin’s primary healthcare services focus on addressing non-work related health issues, primarily TB and HIV/Aids, but including trauma, which affect many of our employees. Chronic diseases prevalent in our workforce include HIV/Aids, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and epilepsy.

TB and HIV/Aids

The Lonmin HIV/Aids and TB Policies define the Company’s approach to addressing these diseases, including providing medical and emotional support to infected patients, and an emphasis on education and awareness in an effort to combat the stigma around HIV/Aids.

HIV/Aids-related diseases like TB are the primary cause of mortality among in-service employees. Lonmin supplies ART to employees and monitors patients at an estimated annual treatment cost to the company of R8,935 per person. Lonmin provides ART for life, so all former employees (including those that have taken voluntary separation packages or left the Company for any reason) can return every three months for consultation, monitoring and treatment collection. If logistics preclude these former employees from returning to our Medical Services centres, Lonmin will provide them with a referral letter to enable the collection of ART from provincial clinics or hospitals, and they will be given a three-month supply of ARTs when they leave Lonmin.

Lonmin also offers a wellness programme that is designed to cater for the physical and emotional effects of HIV/Aids, and includes counselling sessions and training on treatment and healthy eating. The number of patients on this programme decreased by 25% from 2014 due to many of them starting on ART. Voluntary counselling and testing are offered at all primary healthcare and occupational health centres and during awareness campaigns, of which two were held during the year. In total, 16,301 employees and contractors were tested for HIV/Aids during the year, of which 10% were positive. However, the prevalence of HIV/Aids infection among our workers is estimated to be higher, at 19.1%, based on actuarial modelling and previous large-scale campaigns. Workplace peer educators are on site to raise awareness and we targeted a ratio of one trained peer educator for every 75 employees for 2015.

In 2015, there were 391 peer educators active, a ratio of one per 69 employees. We have met our target for the ratio of one peer educator per 75 employees.

Adherence rates to the ART regime were good, with more than 72% ART success rate. Default rates on treatment increased during the strike last year, but have been brought under control. While the number of patients that participate in the ART programme increased by 14% to 4,167 in 2015, HIV/Aids-related deaths increased to 119 (2014: 97).

Our target for 2015 was to reduce the rate of ART defaulters to below 3% and we achieved the target reducing ART defaulters to 2%. We will again target to reduce the rate of ART defaulters to below 3%. Despite low defaulter rates, more than 20% of patients on ART are not controlled on treatment. A survey established that reasons for this include inconsistent taking of medicines, late initiation of treatment and non-disclosure of the condition to their spouse or partner while not practising safe sex. The importance of starting treatment early, taking medicine consistently and disclosing status is being emphasised in counselling sessions.

We raised the threshold at which employees are eligible for ART from a CD4 count of below 350 to a CD4 count of below 500 in January 2015 to initiate treatment earlier. This approach proved to maintain a productive life for longer, to reduce disease complications and produce fewer side-effects. We have seen a significant increase in the success rate as a result of this shift.

A further initiative to assist in the prevention of HIV/Aids infection is male medical circumcisions, in conjunction with other measures. During 2015, 142 male medical circumcisions were performed at Lonmin.

The ART trends at three platinum producers for 2013 and 2014 are shown in the graph below.

Tuberculosis (TB)

South Africa is a high-burden TB country and the prevalence in the mining sector is even higher. TB is an opportunistic infection and people infected with HIV/Aids are more prone to TB, increasing the importance of monitoring and tracking the disease. The Company’s diagnosis, classification and treatment regimens for TB align with the South African Department of Health and DMR programme management guidelines. The TB policy outlines the responsibilities of employer and employees, treatment and fitness to work and training of employees and relevant structures. INH1 prophylaxis is given to HIV-positive patients to prevent TB.

In 2015, 462 new cases of TB were diagnosed and treated, including 12 cases of multi-drug resistant TB and one case of extreme drug resistant TB. Our cure and treatment completion rate was 89% (2014: 85.1%), superseding our 2015 target of 85%. Continuous communication between patients and the medical facilities to remind them of treatment collection, as well as early diagnosis, has helped to achieve this target. We will again aim to have a TB cure rate and treatment completion rate of 85% in 2016. Patients who do not collect treatment are prevented from clocking in at work until they do so. Community volunteers visit employees to do contact tracing at their homes and at the same time confirm that they are taking treatment. These teams also provide on-the-ground support and counselling to patients and their families.

Where employees receiving treatment for TB left through the voluntary separation programme and retrenchment process, they received a referral letter and three months of medication to cover their transition period. Employees are referred to TEBA2 to ensure that they complete their treatment course and that Lonmin is kept advised of the outcome of the treatment. Employees that are medically repatriated are also referred to TEBA for home-based care where indicated, and currently TEBA supports and visits about 80 ex-employees on a regular basis.

1 Isonicotinylhydrazide (INH) is an anti-TB drug and INH prophylaxis is recommended in the Department of Health’s Antiretroviral Treatment Guidelines.
2 TEBA Ltd is a labour recruitment and management service provider and offers additional services to the mining industry on human resources, social and financial services both during and after employment.

Five-year performance: TB and HIV/Aids

2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Diagnosed and treated new TB cases 545 527 446 436 462
HIV/Aids-related deaths 139 104 99 97 119
Voluntary counselling and testing conducted 31,666 46,945 17,682 17,964 16,301
Patients on ART 2,022 2,510 3,288 3,666 4,167
Patients on the wellness programme 526 657 690 637 477

Other healthcare programmes

Chronic disease treatment

Lonmin provides care for chronic and acute illness and outcomes are monitored through controlled treatment programmes. Chronic illnesses in our workforce include asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and hypertension. Where necessary, patients are referred to appropriate specialist care. There were 3,980 patients listed on chronic disease registers other than ART (2014: 4,224). The decrease is due to employees that took voluntary separation packages and were referred to external facilities. Of these, 89% (2014: 77%) is controlled on treatment. Defaulter rates have normalised since the strike in 2014 and this has enabled control of chronic conditions.

Trauma and emergency care

Lonmin’s primary healthcare programme includes casualty capacity for emergency cases. Relationships have been built with industry peers and other hospitals to support each other in emergency situations. Regular emergency drills are conducted to test emergency preparedness.

We have an on-site emergency and disaster management department that responds to emergencies at the mine and surrounding communities. A 24-hour emergency line is available and the team can dispatch ambulances, helicopters and rescue teams (including underground rescue specialists) to address emergency situations. This team also provides first aid and firefighting training to Lonmin employees and community members. Scenario planning and emergency drills are tested regularly to ensure successful response times to real-life emergencies.

The emergency and disaster management team has a proactive focus that includes compliance audits, equipment inspection and road safety.

Women’s health

As part of Lonmin’s commitment to support the increase of women in mining, a short-stay female ward is provided and antenatal care is available on site.

Employee wellbeing service

The Company provides a counselling and follow-up service to employees and their households. Contractors are covered by Lonmin for work-related trauma debriefing. The services provided through this programme include face-to-face counselling with a therapist as required, 24-hour telephonic counselling with a qualified psychologist, life management on legal and family matters, and access to an electronic service that provides a host of health and wellness information.


Nutrition, health and wellbeing are closely connected. Employees have access to nutrition consultations twice a month to promote a healthy diet and lifestyle. A pilot programme is ongoing to assess the impact of nutritional supplements on employee wellbeing, including its potential impact on reducing absenteeism.

Medical scheme

All employees have access to a medical scheme. The Lonmin Medical Scheme, which is administered by a third-party provider, fully covers the cost of all medical treatment of the member, with subsidised treatment for dependants. Employees who opt to use their own medical schemes receive subsidies towards the cost.

Occupational health

The primary occupational health and hygiene risk at our operations is noise-induced hearing loss. We also monitor all occupational diseases listed in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1993, and the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, 137 of 1991, as amended, including occupational asthma, dermatitis, platinum salt sensitivity and silicosis. Risk-based medical surveillance programmes are in place to ensure medical fitness to work and diagnosis, and reporting of occupational diseases. Comprehensive occupational health and hygiene programmes reduce the risk of hazardous exposures, ensure regulatory compliance, and improve workplace conditions.

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

Lonmin’s hearing conservation initiatives align with the MHSC Milestones for the elimination of NIHL. The goals, as per the MHSC, are for there to be no new cases of NIHL and a reduction of noise emitted by all our equipment to below 107 dB(A) by December 2024.

Lonmin has a hearing conservation programme that includes engineering controls, administrative controls, provision of personal protective equipment and related training, and medical surveillance. A Hearing Conservation Committee reviews and investigates opportunities to reduce noise exposure and prevent NIHL. All rock drills and noise sources are silenced to below 110 dB(A). Employees at high risk of NIHL are monitored through six-monthly audiograms to identify changes early and to prevent further deterioration.

Our target for 2015 was to reduce NIHL cases diagnosed by 10% from a 2012 baseline year. This was not achieved in 2015, with 199 new cases of NIHL diagnosed. During the year, 108 cases of NIHL received compensation.

Following the significant increase of NIHL cases, an incident cause analysis method (ICAM) investigation was performed to identify possible causes for the increase in NIHL cases and remedial actions. Contributing factors include employees’ age, number of years exposed to noise, concurrent medical conditions and non-compliance with wearing hearing protection devices. A number of cases of incorrect recording of baseline hearing tests around the time of the change in legislation in 2003 were also picked up, which resulted in registering hearing shifts from the incorrect baseline. This constitutes 41% of NIHL cases reported in 2015.

We will implement the recommendations identified in the ICAM, including continuing to emphasise the importance of wearing hearing protection equipment, silencing of equipment and detailed investigations of all incidents.


Converter with extraction hood.

Other occupational healthcare programmes

Physical and functional work capacity fitness testing

Functional capacity testing includes work simulation assessments as part of our comprehensive medical surveillance programme. The fitness testing ensures that new employees are placed in appropriate positions and that recovering employees are fully rehabilitated prior to returning to the workplace. Employees who do not achieve the required scores are referred for cardio-conditioning and vocational rehabilitation through physiotherapy and occupational therapy respectively, or considered for alternative job placement. In 2015, 71% of employees passed their fitness assessments (2014: 62%).

Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation

Employees suffering reversible trauma conditions can access therapy and rehabilitation programmes. Patients with chronic conditions undergo cardio conditioning at physiotherapy once stable, and prior to the functional capacity test.

The Company is formalising its disability management framework, which makes provision for accommodation, retraining or alternative job placement of people with disabilities. Currently, 1.4% (383) of employees are registered as disabled (2014: 1.4%).

Management of other occupational diseases

Exposure to platinum salts during processing can result in occupational diseases such as platinum salt sensitivity, dermatitis and occupational asthma. Lonmin works with the International Platinum Group Metals Association specifically to understand and manage platinum salt sensitivity better. There were no new cases of occupational asthma, dermatitis or platinum salt sensitivity diagnosed in 2015.

Platinum mining is not associated with high levels of silica. Silica levels in our mines are monitored and remain below 10% of the occupational exposure limit.

Contractor safety and health

Suppliers sign terms and conditions committing to adhere to Lonmin’s policies and standards, which cover safety, health and environmental aspects, and are required to register their full compliance accreditation on a formal industry-wide database as evidence of good practice. The procurement department assesses contractor companies on a yearly or half-yearly basis, placing a particular emphasis on safety, health and environmental practices.

Contractors report to the on-site contractor hub that assesses their medical fitness and provides induction, including familiarisation with Lonmin’s SHE procedures. All on-site contractors have access to the Company’s healthcare facilities and all incidents requiring use of these facilities are investigated and treated on site. These facilities provide a range of services including health and safety induction, medical surveillance, voluntary HIV/Aids counselling and testing, treatment of injuries on duty, TB screening and treatment, and NIHL mitigation measures. Where necessary, contractors are referred to appropriate health services for further medical care.

Lonmin and other industry partners were involved in establishing the South African Mining Contractors Association (SAMCA). SAMCA is a non-profit organisation intended to create an environment for sharing best practices and standardisation of safety practices.


Melting pot at our smelter.