Promoting safety and health for employees and contractors
Every day, more than 32,793 Lonmin employees and contractors work underground in our mines or at our concentrators, refineries and smelter. Ensuring that the necessary controls and procedures are in place to support the safety and health of our workforce is a critical element of our business strategy, and we do this through sustaining operational excellence, caring for our people and demonstrating good corporate citizenship. Lonmin views safety as a proxy for good performance and we believe that our goal of Zero Harm is achievable.
Health and wellness are integrally linked to quality of life, morale, productivity and safety performance. On a monthly basis, approximately 20,000 employees, contractors and community members visit Lonmin’s primary health facilities. The overall health and wellness of an employee are the outcome of a host of factors, many of which arise outside the workplace. Lonmin’s safety awareness and healthcare initiatives include many programmes that extend into our host communities.
Lonmin’s lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) showed an improvement in 2016. However, there were four fatalities during the year, which we deeply regret.
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.
Employees and contractors
Lonmin creates and maintains a safe operational culture through awareness campaigns, training and other safety, health and wellness initiatives. Our standard safety procedures require that unsafe work is stopped or not undertaken and employees and contractors are empowered to ensure that this expectation is understood and complied with. The health and wellbeing of employees are supported through access to Lonmin’s comprehensive primary healthcare services, occupational healthcare programme, emergency care and wellness programmes.
Contract employees are expected to adhere to Lonmin’s safety procedures and standards. The Company’s healthcare facilities are available to on-site contractors, should they need to use them.
Our hospital and clinics are experiencing an increasing number of visits from spouses and children of workers with the increase in family housing units and improved employee appreciation of the benefits of a medical scheme.
Safety and health in the mining industry is regulated through the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). The DMR inspectors conduct safety and health assessments and site inspections. Lonmin has to comply with regulatory requirements, which include safety and health. The Company engages with government, including the Department of Labour – specifically for the Precious Metal Refinery (PMR), regarding safety and health issues on a regular basis. Our hospital is regulated by the Department of Health, which also monitors our tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/Aids programmes. Pharmaceutical services are governed by the South African Pharmacy Council.
There are a number of industry organisations that focus on addressing safety and health concerns in the mining industry. These include the Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) programmes driven by the Chamber of Mines, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), the Health Policy Committee, the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC), the Association of Mine Managers South Africa (AMMSA), the Chief Executive Officer Zero Harm Task Team through the Chamber of Mines, and the MHSC health and safety targets and milestones. Lonmin also participates in other industry bodies where safety and health are a key discussion point, these include the Bushveld Safety Forum, the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa, and the North West Tripartite Forum. The doctors in the health and wellness department belong to the Medical Mining Doctors Association. Lonmin’s participation in these forums exposes the Company to shared learnings, best practice and peer performance benchmarks.
Risks and opportunities
The sustainability risks and opportunities that relate to employee safety and health are outlined below, with references to further information regarding their management and mitigation. The risk management approach is discussed in this report and in the Annual Report and Accounts 2016.
A good safety performance increases employee morale and productivity and lowers costs, whilst a poor safety performance reduces productivity, damages company reputation and results in unfavourable regulatory intervention. Employee injuries and/or work stoppages due to Section 54 stoppages will impact the Company’s ability to achieve production and financial targets.
Poor safety performance has a direct impact on the life of employees, contractors and their families and risks such as fall-of-ground, tramming, working at heights, scraping and rigging incidents, exposure to gases, fire, molten metal, electrocution and many other hazards 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 communities. It would also severely disrupt operations and could result in safety stoppages which have a direct impact on people, cost and reputation. Failures in safety procedures may be caused by employees or poor management practices. The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) could also temporarily suspend part or all of the operations under the Mine Health and Safety Act (commonly referred to as a Section 54 stoppage) and this has an impact on the working rhythm, cost and production. This suspension could potentially result in Lonmin’s operating licence coming under scrutiny by the regulator.
Opportunities and mitigation
Safety awareness and training such as the roll-out of the Du Pont leadership programme, called the Lonmin Safety Leadership DNA programme. This programme develops individuals’ safety competencies, knowledge of safety theory, how to apply it and how to practise safety management. Structured workplace coaching is also part of this programme which is conducted one-to-one to bridge individual competency gaps and to improve safety performance over time. Training has been delivered to executive and senior management, union health and safety structures and 16 “train the trainers” candidates. Safety Improvement Plans are being implemented with an enhanced focus on accident analysis and proactive preventive measures. Visible Felt Leadership (VSL) is such a proactive measure which was accelerated during the year. VSL is senior management being visible in the operational areas, confirming that safety is a core belief and showing passion to work safely. Safety audits are also conducted and include internal and external audits that measure the safety maturity of each operational business unit. Cross-site safety audits support learning across the operations and the sharing of best practices.
Noise and noise-induced hearing loss1
Noise remains a significant risk at Lonmin. We address exposure to high noise levels through various programmes.
Opportunities and mitigation
We do not procure any new equipment or machinery with a noise intensity level greater than 110dB(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 noise levels of above 85dB(A).
A hearing conservation programme is in place to address noise levels in work areas, provide training, and increase awareness about NIHL and the importance of wearing hearing protection equipment.
Disease profile with high incidence of tuberculosis and HIV/Aids1
Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/Aids are debilitating diseases and are key focus areas for the DMR and Department of Health. HIV/Aids-related diseases remain the biggest cause of in-service deaths. Employees failing on treatment and the high incidence of TB are of concern.
Opportunities and mitigation
Lonmin’s wellness programme aims to address the physical and emotional effects of TB and HIV/Aids. Employees and contractors have access to voluntary HIV/Aids counselling and testing (HCT), and regular initiatives aim to raise awareness about these diseases. We supply anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to HIV-positive employees and support volunteers active in the Greater Lonmin Community (GLC) who conduct home counselling and testing, and perform TB contact tracing.
|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 Safety and Sustainable Development Policy defines our approach to managing safety and health. The policy is endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer and aligns with ICMM’s 10 Principles, International Standards Organisation (ISO) and Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard (OHSAS 18001) management system requirements. Our process operations retained their integration certification for ISO 14001, ISO 9000 and OHSAS 18001.
Ensuring a safe and healthy working environment is the responsibility of every person employed by or working at Lonmin. The Chief Executive Officer is ultimately accountable for the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees and contractors when they are on site.
The Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Committee assists the Board of Directors (the Board) by setting aspirational standards for SHE matters and implementing a culture in which these goals are promoted and enforced.
The Executive Committee (Exco) monitors the Company’s policies and practices, including those relating to safety, health and environmental matters.
Line managers are responsible for the safety of their teams. Safety performance is analysed daily and circulated to Exco and monthly to the Board.
A formal agreement that covers safety and health is in place with the majority union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU), which defines how full-time and part-time safety representatives are elected, trained and appointed. Safety and health representatives attend quarterly Health and Safety Committee meetings on behalf of employees. There were 25 full-time safety and health representatives employed throughout the operations in 2016, and 1,035 part-time safety representatives, excluding alternatives.
External policies, frameworks and regulations
Safety and health in the South African mining industry is regulated under the Mine Health and Safety Act. The Act established the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) to promote a culture of health and safety in the South African mining industry. We submit annual medical reports and quarterly occupational hygiene monitoring reports in accordance with the requirements of the Act, which include reporting on HIV/Aids and TB policies and data to the DMR and Department of Health.
Safety and health at Marikana is governed by the Mine Health and Safety Act, 29 of 1996 and at the PMR by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993.
Our Safety and Sustainable Development Policy and standards align with principle 5 of the ICMM’s 10 Principles of sustainable development: Seek continual improvement of health and safety performance. We subscribe to and measure our safety and health performance against the MHSC 2024 Milestones.
Approach and performance
Safety at Lonmin
Achieving our safety goals is an integral aspect of demonstrating operational excellence and our safety strategy is built around the belief that we can operate without accidents. Lonmin achieved a number of noteworthy safety awards and milestones during the year, including 4B/1B shaft achieving 10 million fatality-free shifts and receiving the JT Ryan Award for the fourth consecutive year, K3 achieving 6.5 million fatality-free shifts, EPC concentrator achieving four years lost time injury free, and the Assay laboratory operating 10 years without a lost-time injury. More information on our safety achievements is available in the supplementary report.
Our approach to safety is defined in the Lonmin Safety and Sustainable Development Policy, Sustainable Development Standards and the Fatal Risk Control Protocols supported by operational SHE procedures.
The safety strategy has three key objectives:
- Fatality prevention
- Injury prevention
- A safe high-performance operational culture
Our safety strategy focuses on proactive safety management to entrench a culture that influences safety behaviour. This approach includes safety campaigns to address high-risk activities, management-initiated safety stoppages, training safety programmes and the Lonmin Mining Safety Life Rules. The Safety Life Rules are a set of five non-negotiable rules that target the risk areas responsible for the majority of fatal or serious accidents.
Safety performance is monitored by tracking the lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) and reportable injury frequency rate (RIFR), among other indicators. Each Mine and Process Unit has a Chief Safety Officer to strengthen interactions between the safety function and operations, increase the effectiveness of safety audits and improve alignment with safety standards, systems and reporting.
Our goal is for every person in the business to have a personal understanding of, and respect for, the importance of safety in the workplace through entrenching safety principles in the organisation and increasing visibility on safety matters. Training on safety and health practices is delivered to all employees and contractors at induction when joining the Company and when returning from annual leave. Training includes 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, No 29 of 1996. The importance of safety and the prior day’s safety performance are communicated daily to sustain awareness.
Safety awareness and training such as the roll-out of the Du Pont programme, called the Lonmin Safety Leadership DNA programme, has continued.
Training has been delivered to executive and senior management, union health and safety structures and 16 “train the trainers” coaches.
VFL is a proactive measure which has been accelerated during the year. It is practiced through a weekly cycle of safety meetings, starting with an Operations Committee meeting with the Chief Operating Officer, where general managers share serious and high potential incidents. Weekly safety presentations by mine managers and Chief Safety Officers include a review of all injuries and high potential incidents across the mine, as well as incidents and key lessons from our industry peers. Learnings from these incidents are communicated to the teams and followed up with weekly safety briefs and senior management visits. Safety performance forms part of incentive schemes at operational level.
This year, finger injuries were identified as a major contributor to lost-time injuries, which led to the Aziko Sper1 campaign. This included various awareness campaigns and the roll-out of a new type of glove in an effort to reduce such injuries. Since the inception of the campaign we have seen a decrease of 14% in finger-related injuries.
|1||“Aziko Sper” means there are no spares for your fingers.|
Other safety focus areas for the year included Fatal Risk Control Protocols relating to fall-of-ground and scraping and rigging, the current MOSH initiatives, the roll-out of proximity detection systems, compliance audits on contractors and contractor management.
Absenteeism has a substantial impact on safety performance, as it affects the remaining crew members who have to deal with the absence of colleagues. We initiated a project to identify employees who are repeatedly absent, counsel them and establish the reasons behind poor attendance to address the issue on a comprehensive basis. This project is discussed in more detail in the Employee Relationship chapter.
In the year ahead, we will focus on continuing the implementation of the safety strategy, eliminating fatalities, reducing lost time injuries and ensuring full compliance to the Lonmin Mining Safety Life Rules. A holistic safety training intervention is planned to complement the Safety Leadership DNA programme.
Despite most safety indicators showing improvement, regrettably four of our colleagues were fatally injured. Mr Zilindile Ndumela, Mr Goodman Mangisa, Mr Fanelekile Giyama and Mr Siphilo Makhende succumbed to injuries suffered in separate incidents at Rowland and E3 shafts on 26 October 2015, 6 April 2016, 7 May 2016 and 2 July 2016. Two of the incidents involved falls-of-ground and two were mud rush incidents. We deeply regret the loss of our colleagues and extend our deepest condolences to their families and friends. We remain focused on addressing the root causes of safety incidents as demonstrated by the Tripartite Safety Day we held on 14 July 2016 at Rowland and E3 shafts, incorporating our key stakeholders, including the DMR and AMCU, in continuing efforts to prioritise improving safety performance. The focus on safety was reiterated to employees by our Chief Executive Officer, supported by Mr Joseph Mathunjwa, the President of AMCU and Mr Monageng Mothiba, Principal Inspector of Mines for the Rustenburg region.
Each incident was thoroughly investigated and reported to the DMR. Lessons learned from each incident were implemented into action plans and shared across operations. The early entry examination2 procedure has been revised as a result of the fall-of-ground fatal accidents.
|2||The process that commences prior to the entry of a working area to check that all the necessary safety precautions have been taken.|
The increased focus on proactive safety management, safety culture and consequence management led to a decrease in level three safety incidents to 11, compared to 21 in 2015. Level three injuries are those that cause an irreversible disability. The LTIFR3 decreased by 8% from 2015 to 4.97 per million man hours worked. Despite our LTIFR improvement year-on-year, we have not met our target to have a 15% improvement from the 2015 base rate. For 2017, we aim to achieve a LTIFR which is less than 4.14. 40% of injuries were hand and finger-related, with Rock Drill Operators, General Workers and Winch Drivers most impacted.
|3||LTIFR: (LTIs (409) x 1,000,000 hours)/82,229,089.55 man hours. The LTIFR for women only is 0.32.|
4094 LTIs resulted in 22,668 days lost, with most of these attributable to fall-of-ground, scraping and rigging and underground track-bound mobile machinery. The severity rate, which is the total days lost to LTIs per million hours worked, decreased by 19% to 275.67 (2015: 339.38). First aid cases decreased to 89 (2015: 146) and medical treatment cases to 657 (2015: 689). We had 77 white flag days (2015: 70). These are days that mark no injuries and celebrate our belief in operating without injuries.
|4||Of the LTIs, 26 injured were women. Women contributed 6.36% to the total LTIFR.|
Team members are provided with section 232 booklets and safety procedures support their right to withdraw from dangerous workplaces. Internal safety stoppages are imposed whenever the “Life Rules” are violated.
The Mine Health and Safety Act enables the DMR to impose Section 54 stoppages where 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.
50 Section 54 stoppages were imposed at operations (2015: 36). These stoppages resulted in 164 production days lost (2015: 173) and 558,604 tonnes of production lost (2015: 770,000). Section 54 stoppages are increasingly enforced more broadly and take longer to lift in the first nine months of the year. We are experiencing a reduction in the duration and frequency of Section 54 stoppages and more localised application of these stoppages. We are encouraged that collaboration with the DMR has started to show results, as we experienced decreasing Section 54 stoppages in the fourth quarter. Not only do safety stoppages affect production, they also have a negative impact on safety routines and care must be taken to safely shut down work areas so that on their return, workers do not enter a work area that is hazardous. We continue to engage proactively with the DMR to build sound relationships and participate in various forums between industry, labour and government that discuss expectations and shared objectives on safety stoppages.
|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 unsafe.|
Health and wellbeing
The health department provides comprehensive healthcare to improve the quality of life of our employees and their families in accordance with Lonmin’s safety, health and environmental strategy. Community health issues are managed through the community development department, as discussed in the Social Licence to Operate section.
The safety, health and environmental strategy is designed to support the four objectives of fatality prevention, injury prevention, safe operational culture and operational excellence.
Health services are accessible to employees, their dependants and community members through three clinics and a hospital at the Marikana operations, and a clinic each at the PMR in Brakpan and Limpopo operations. Community members are treated on a fee-for-service basis. Community members are assisted in emergency situations through our emergency care programme.
The health complex covers four broad areas:
Occupational health and hygiene, including risk assessment and monitoring of exposures that can be detrimental to employee health, medical surveillance, rehabilitation and functional assessment.
Primary healthcare is available on a 24-hour/365 days-a-year basis from the hospital and clinics at Marikana. This includes management of injuries and diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, and treatment of HIV/Aids and TB.
Emergency care is offered through the emergency and disaster management department, which includes Netcare 911 ambulances on site for serious injuries and illnesses that require immediate stabilisation and transportation to the hospital.
The wellness programme proactively addresses HIV/Aids and promotes health. Initiatives include peer educators, awareness campaigns, health days and talk topics. An assistance programme is also available to employees and their immediate family.
Activities during the year to raise awareness about health and wellness included monthly health talk topics, health education conducted during safety breaks, wellness days and activities around World Aids Day, Condom Week, and World TB Day. 20 new workplace peer educators were trained, bringing the total active workplace peer educators to 208, exceeding the target of 100 set in 2016.
Health customer satisfaction surveys are conducted every quarter to measure the quality of the service provided at our medical facilities. Despite the cost pressures, patient physical care has not been compromised and the customer satisfaction rating increased to an average of 87% (2015: 84%).
In the year ahead, we will focus on continuing to deliver health initiatives in the context of cost constraints, ensuring treatment protocols are kept current and maintaining awareness and health promotion initiatives.
Employee health services
The occupational and primary healthcare services provided to employees fulfil the Company’s regulatory obligations, and offer an opportunity for Lonmin to play its part in addressing some of the most serious health challenges facing South Africa.
Every employee receives regular health assessments, and R216 million was spent on employee health programmes (2015: R180 million). The total investment increased due to nutritional supplements that were issued to employees and a higher number of patients, especially anti-retroviral treated patients.
Lonmin’s primary healthcare services focus on addressing health issues that affect our employees and contractors. Chronic diseases prevalent in our workforce include HIV/Aids, hypertension, diabetes, asthma and epilepsy, the most material of which are TB and HIV/Aids.
TB and HIV/Aids
HIV/Aids-related diseases, including TB, represent a major challenge for the mining industry and the country as a whole. These diseases have a severe impact on patients, those around them and their communities. HIV/Aids-related diseases are the biggest cause of in-service deaths at Lonmin. We are committed to supporting those affected by HIV/Aids and creating a caring environment. Our approach to addressing these diseases includes providing medical and emotional support to infected patients. These initiatives prioritise education and awareness in an effort to combat the stigma around HIV/Aids, foster respect for patients’ human rights and personal dignity, and prevent new infections.
The Lonmin HIV/Aids and TB policies define the Company’s approach to addressing these diseases.
Three events to raise awareness around HIV/Aids were held during the year. These awareness campaigns included access to voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) for employees and contractors. VCT is also offered at the primary healthcare and occupational health centres.
In total, 18,372 employees and contractors were tested for HIV/Aids during the year, of which 7% were positive (2015: 10%). We estimate that the prevalence of HIV/Aids infection among our workers is higher than that reflected in the testing, at about 20%, and also higher than previous actuarial modelling since HIV-positive employees that are on the treatment programme are experiencing a better quality of life and are consequently able to keep working for longer.
Lonmin offers a wellness programme to address the physical and emotional effects of HIV/Aids and the number of patients on the programme decreased by 40% from 2015, due to many of them starting on ART.
Lonmin supplies ART to HIV-positive employees and monitors patients at an estimated annual treatment cost to the Company of R7,079 per person. ARTs are provided for life, and former employees (including those who have taken voluntary separation packages or left the Company for any reason) can return every three months for consultation, monitoring and treatment collection. Lonmin provides referral letters to patients who leave the area of the operations, to enable the collection of ART from provincial clinics or hospitals, and provides them with a three-month supply of ARTs when they leave Lonmin.
Outcomes of the ART regime were positive, with a higher than 73% ART success rate. While the number of patients participating in the ART programme increased by 7.6% to 4,483, HIV/Aids-related deaths decreased to 72 (2015: 119). This decline is attributable to earlier initiation of ART, improvements in the treatment success rate, prophylactic treatment to prevent opportunistic infections such as TB, and the ongoing focus on health education and treatment adherence counselling. Following guidance from the Minister of Health, the CD4 count threshold of below 500 for ART treatment was removed. ART is now available to any patient who is ready and committed to taking the medication, and the earlier start of treatment is showing positive results.
Our target for 2016 was to reduce the rate of ART defaulters to below 3%; we achieved this target, reducing ART defaulters to 1%. We will again target to reduce the rate of ART defaulters to below 3%.
While default rates remain low, more than 20% of patients on ART are not controlled on treatment. The reasons 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. Counselling sessions stress the benefits of starting treatment early, taking medicine consistently and disclosing status.
South Africa has one of the highest TB infection rates in the world. Prevalence in the mining industry is even higher than the country infection rate. As an opportunistic infection, people infected with HIV/Aids are more prone to contracting TB, which increases the importance of monitoring and tracking the disease.
Lonmin’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. HIV-positive patients receive INH prophylaxis to prevent TB infection.
411 new cases of TB were diagnosed and treated in 2016, including 11 cases of multi-drug resistant TB, and no cases of extreme drug-resistant TB. Our cure and treatment completion rate was 86.3% (2015: 89%), superseding our 2016 target of 85%. The completion rate is supported by continuous communication between patients and the medical facilities to remind them of treatment collection, as well as early diagnosis. We will again aim to have a TB cure rate and treatment completion rate of 85% in 2017. TB patients who do not collect treatment are prevented from clocking in at work until they do so, and clinics proactively contact patients if they are absent from work for three days.
Contact tracing for every TB patient is performed at the workplace and in the communities by health workers and community volunteers, who also confirm that patients are taking treatment. These teams furthermore provide on-the-ground support and counselling to patients and their families.
TB patients who left through the voluntary separation programme and retrenchment process received referral letters for home-based care and TB follow-up, as well as three months’ medication to cover their transition period. Former employees are referred to TEBA1 to support completion of their treatment course and Lonmin is kept informed of the outcome of the treatment. Medically repatriated employees are also referred to TEBA for home-based care where indicated. Currently, TEBA supports and visits about 75 former on a regular basis.
|1||TEBA Limited is a labour recruitment and management service provider that offers additional services to the mining industry on human resources, social and financial services during and after employment.|
Five-year performance: TB and HIV/Aids
Other healthcare programmes
We provide care for the chronic and acute illnesses prevalent in our workforce, which include asthma, diabetes, epilepsy and hypertension. Outcomes are monitored through controlled treatment programmes and, where necessary, patients are referred to appropriate specialist care. 3,809 patients were listed on chronic disease registers other than ART (2015: 3,980). The decrease is due to employees who took voluntary separation packages and were referred to external facilities. Of these, 92% (2015: 89%) is controlled on treatment.
Lonmin’s primary healthcare programme includes casualty capacity for emergency cases. We have built relationships with industry peers and other hospitals to provide support in emergency situations.
Lonmin has a well-established emergency and disaster management programme associated with the Mines Rescue Services programme. Emergency preparedness training is rolled out to all our operations and bi-annual emergency drills test the effectiveness and readiness of emergency plans. The emergency and disaster management team is available 24/7 and has a good relationship and service level agreements in place with local and governmental authorities to provide backup assistance in the event of major incidents and accidents on the mine and in the GLC. The emergency department responded to a total of 312 road accidents, of which 124 road accidents took place in the vicinity of the mine property and resulted in six fatalities, three of which were Lonmin employees. 188 road accidents off-site resulted in 21 fatalities, of which six were Lonmin employees. A full comprehensive emergency preparedness audit is conducted on an annual basis to test the effectiveness of implemented training interventions and compliance to current emergency procedures.
Proto teams (a team of volunteers who are trained to fight fires underground, perform underground rescues of trapped or deceased employees and are trained as rope technicians) have responded to 10 proto incidents this year, of which five were off-mine incidents. Proto teams, together with the surface rescue teams (also volunteers), who are trained to deal with, among others, surface fires and car extrications, responded to a total of 161 calls on and off mine property.
First aid training was provided to 4,771 individuals, of which 651 were for the GLC.
Basic fire-fighting training was provided to 1,051 individuals, including employees and contractors.
As part of our commitment to support the increase of women in mining, a short-stay female ward consisting of two observation beds and an infant warmer is provided and antenatal care is available on-site. Due to the development of family units, there has been an increase of 11% in women and 28% in children visiting the hospital, with 20,000 female consultations and 5,000 paediatric consultations in 2016.
Lonmin provides a counselling and follow-up service to employees and their households. This includes 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. Contractors can make use of the facility for work-related trauma debriefing.
We recognise the close links between nutrition, health and wellbeing. A dietitian is available to employees to provide advice regarding a healthy diet and lifestyle. A nutritional supplement programme is ongoing to assess the impact of nutritional supplements on employee wellbeing, including its potential impact on reducing absenteeism.
All employees have access to a medical scheme and can choose from a basket of schemes. The Lonmin Medical Scheme is administered by a third-party provider.
Lonmin follows a risk-based approach to occupational health and hygiene, which involves a system of risk assessment and monitoring programmes. Our occupational health programme monitors all occupational diseases listed in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, No 130 of 1993, and the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, No 137 of 1991, as amended, including occupational asthma, dermatitis, platinum salt sensitivity and silicosis.
Noise is a significant occupational health risk at our operations. Comprehensive occupational health and hygiene programmes reduce the risk of hazardous exposures, support regulatory compliance, and improve workplace conditions.
Noise-induced hearing loss
A hearing conservation programme is in place to address noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), which 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. NIHL training and awareness programmes to emphasise the importance of wearing hearing protection equipment. Lonmin is also part of the industry “buy quiet” initiative that aims to influence suppliers of equipment to provide quieter alternatives.
Our hearing conservation initiatives align with the MHSC milestones for the elimination of NIHL. These Milestones include goals for the reduction of noise emitted by equipment to below 107dB(A) by December 2024 . We have silenced most equipment, with only a few sources still to be silenced.
Our target for 2016 was to reduce NIHL cases diagnosed by 10% from a 2012 baseline year. This was not achieved, with 72 new cases of NIHL diagnosed. During the year, 104 cases of NIHL received compensation. All NIHL cases showing greater than 5% loss of hearing shift are investigated.
NIHL cases increased during 2015 and an investigation revealed several cases of incorrect recording of baseline hearing tests around the time of the change in legislation in 2003, which led to hearing shifts registering from the incorrect baseline. This constitutes 34% of NIHL cases reported in 2016 (2015: 41%), and similar cases will continue to be identified and reported as they emerge.
Other occupational healthcare programmes
Physical and functional work capacity fitness testing
Functional capacity testing includes work simulation assessments and aims to determine employee fitness levels, so that new employees are fit for their positions and recovering employees are fully rehabilitated prior to returning to the workplace. Employees who do not achieve the required fitness scores are referred for cardio conditioning. Those requiring further rehabilitation receive vocational rehabilitation through physiotherapy and occupational therapy, or are considered for alternative job placement.
Physiotherapy, occupational therapy and rehabilitation
Therapy and rehabilitation are available for employees suffering reversible trauma conditions. Patients with chronic conditions are stabilised and then undergo cardio conditioning at physiotherapy, prior to completing the functional capacity test.
We are formalising our disability management framework, which makes provision for accommodation, retraining or alternative job placement of people with disabilities. Currently, 1.4% (360) of employees are registered as disabled (2015: 1.4%). This number includes employees with finger amputations and significant hearing or vision loss.
Physiotherapists and occupational therapists are experiencing an increased number of paediatric cases from dependants of employees, which has increased the workload for practitioners.
Management of other occupational diseases
Occupational diseases such as platinum salt sensitivity, dermatitis and occupational asthma can arise from exposure to platinum salts during processing. We work with the International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPA), speciﬁcally to understand and manage platinum salt sensitivity better. No new cases of occupational asthma, dermatitis or platinum salt sensitivity were diagnosed.
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, and well below the MHSC Milestone 2024 target. While three cases of silicosis were diagnosed during the year, these employees all had a history of employment on gold mines.
Contractor safety and health
Lonmin’s supplier contracts include terms and conditions committing them to adhere to our policies and standards, which include safety, health and environment aspects. Contractor companies are assessed by the contractor safety management department on a yearly basis, or every six months for high-risk contractors, with a particular emphasis on safety, health and environmental practices and closer scrutiny where they are working in high-risk areas or activities.
Contractors and their employees are expected to adhere to the Company’s safety procedures and standards. Contractor employees undergo medical fitness assessments at the on-site contractor hub and receive induction, which includes familiarisation with Lonmin’s SHE procedures.
On-site contractors have access to our 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 VCT, 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.
The due diligence process when registering contractor vendors encourages them to offer medical aid to their employees.
The safety department and contractor safety management team deliver safety training to contractors to improve contractor employees’ adherence to our standards. The Chief Safety Officer for Contractors works closely with the procurement department so that contractors are aware of safety requirements. High-risk contractors are allocated a single point of contact to drive proactive safety initiatives and measures. Safety audits on contractors working on-site are performed, as well as safety blitzes to continue the focus on safety issues at operations.