Integrated Annual Review 2012 Annual Financial Report 2012 Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves Regional overview  

5.2.1 Managing safety

During 2012, we revamped our safety strategy in the South Africa Region by introducing two further elements. It is now based on:

  • Engineering-out risks
  • Compliance
  • Wellbeing
  • Cultural transformation (reintroduced in 2012)
  • Stakeholder engagement (reintroduced in 2012)

This was due to the realisation that the working culture within our South African operations was starting to hamper our efforts to improve our health and safety performance – and that self-discipline, responsibility and a sense of mutual respect are essential components of any safety management programme.

Likewise, we placed increased emphasis on engagement with our employees’ unions as essential interlocutors and stakeholders in the safety management process, as well as the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) as the key regulator and source of guidance.

In this context, in February 2012 we held a Health and Safety Summit involving representatives from the national, regional and branch levels of the Solidarity, UASA and NUM trade unions, as well as representatives from the DMR. This confirmed strong consensus around our updated safety strategy – as well as collaborative work on key initiatives such as our management of:

  • FOG incidents (p89)
  • Rail-related (tramming) accidents (p89)
  • Dust and noise exposure (p136)

Furthermore, it was agreed that all parties would cooperate in our efforts to carry out social surveys across all of our South African operations to help inform and improve our future safety and health management efforts. As a result, the summit established a strong and broad mandate for our safety management efforts in 2012.

In addition, we have implemented enhanced safety enforcement measures across the South Africa Region. Our safety officers, who are independent and are not involved in day-to-day production and associated targets, have typically visited each workplace every 45 days. We have now brought this down to just 21 days through employment of a total of 65 additional safety officers at Beatrix and KDC.

All our operations are certified to the OHSAS 18001 international safety management standard.

Figure 5.13: LTIFR, FIFR and MTIFR performance (pre-unbundling)   Figure 5.14: LTIFR by region (pre-unbundling)4
Figure 5.13: LTIFR, FIFR and MTIFR performance (pre-unbundling)   Figure 5.14: LTIFR by region (pre-unbundling)4

4 The 2012 figure for Australasia excludes restricted work cases; 21.59 if restricted work cases are included

Safety gear for employees
working underground in South Africa

Ensuring a safe return to work

We have proactively managed the potential safety impacts of strikes at our operations during 2012, which resulted in a significant amount of disruption, temporarily impacted working relationships and interrupted routine maintenance work. Nonetheless, our supervisors have played a strong role in maintaining constructive safety engagement between our management and crews, whilst roof-bolting at the stope faces has minimised the potential deterioration of our workplaces during the strike. In addition, we instituted special temporary procedures to ensure the safe resumption of work, including a slower rate of advance per blast and the installation of support structures right up to the workface. This approach was well-adhered to and implemented by all parties and helped us return to full production within two weeks of the strike, with no evidence of a ‘spike’ in safety incidents.

Safety gear for employees working underground in South Africa