Employee safety, health and well-being
Sibanye’s safety, health and well-being strategy was reviewed at the beginning of 2014, and subsequently rolled-out across the Group.
We aim for zero harm and, to achieve this, we focus on compliance and engineering out risk. This systematic reduction of our out risk. This systematic reduction of our employees’ exposure to risk in the work environment is achieved by identifying and ranking risks, and then identifying technical and procedural engineering solutions in terms of a risk mitigation hierarchy to eliminate the risk completely, control the risk at source, minimise the risk, provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and monitor risk exposure.
It is with deep regret that Sibanye reports the death of 12 employees during the year under review (nine fatalities in 2013). The Board and management extend their deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of the deceased.
Senior management intervenes immediately after an incident and a dedicated CEO-led team provides guidance and assistance in order to address the issues that led to each fatality.
Every fatality is one too many, so it is displeasing to report an increase – of some 33% – in the fatal injury frequency rate (FIFR) to 0.12 per million hours worked (2013: 0.10).
In 2014, the lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) was 5.87 per million hours worked (2013: 6.13). The serious injury frequency rate (SIFR) was 3.88 per million hours worked (2013: 3.50).
The medically treated injury frequency rate (MTIFR) for 2014 was 3.37 per million hours worked (2013: 4.32).
The total number of recordable injuries was 905 (2013: 907) and the total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) was 9.24 per million hours worked (2013: 10.45).
Sibanye defines injury in terms of three levels of severity: “treat and return” (T&R), lost day and serious injuries. The international practice of two further classifications of T&R injury type is not practised at most South African operations. All miners, regardless of severity of injury, must be seen by a medical practitioner – this is for reporting/assurance purposes so “minor injuries” are not excluded from safety statistics. All injuries less severe than a lost-day injury are classified as T&R.
We were acknowledged for sustained safety improvements at the MineSafe Conference in August 2014 where Driefontein’s mining unit 4 was awarded first place in the gold mining category.
|20 February 2014||Mgcineni Mbuzeni Ntuli||Driefontein|
|11 March 2014||Simthembile Silila Breakfast||Cooke|
|18 May 2014||Narciso Jose||Kloof|
|20 May 2014||Moses Ngema||Driefontein|
|19 June 2014||John Henry Sloane||Kloof|
|25 June 2014||Tsui Ramonti||Beatrix|
|9 July 2014||Jerremiah Magagula||Beatrix|
|17 July 2014||Simon Kganti Magatla||Cooke|
|21 July 2014||Luthando Mswelanto||Beatrix|
|22 September 2014||Monyaka Maube Kolobe||Beatrix|
|6 October 2014||Sitoe Bernado Jorge||Cooke|
|2 December 2014||Ruan Chris Ferreira||Cooke|
A total of 82 (2013: 55) work stoppages were imposed as a result of Section 54 notices by the Department of Mineral Resources, and resulted in 99 (2013: 35) production days lost. A Section 54 notice refers to an instruction by the Department of Mineral Resources to cease all or part of mining activities if the Chief Inspector of Mines believes that an operation is unsafe.
In addition, the Group initiated 7,776 (2013: 10,383) internal incident reports, which included safety stoppages. Incident reporting is promoted as part of the Group’s safety risk management strategy. In addition, attention is given to near-miss incidents in order to reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of more serious incidents.
IMPROVING SAFETY THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Having identified “safe technology” as a strategic imperative, we established a new operating structure in 2014, headed by Senior Vice President: Safe Technology, assisted by two project engineers. Our Safe Technology team capitalises on Sibanye’s internal wealth of knowledge and experience in investigating, developing and driving innovation.
Since its inception in July 2014, the team established symbiotic relationships with counterparts in the industry, innovative developers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to ensure that safety technology adds value.
Safe Technology strategy also considers ways in which new technology can impact on LoM projections, orebody complexity, productivity profiles and cost pressures, as well as our growing portfolio of capital expansion projects in order to improve productivity. Refinements of the Safe Technology strategy are due to be completed in 2015.
The initial stages of our Safe Technology function comprised a comprehensive review of technologies used in the past, investigation into current industry-relevant technology development as well as establishing collaborative networks with OEMs, research institutions and other mining houses.
CREATING A SAFER WORKING ENVIRONMENT
The Safe Technology interim strategy is an outcome of a 100-day process carried out to identify the immediate operational needs of the business, and this has steered interventions towards improving the safety, efficiency and productivity of current mining processes with emphasis on reducing employee exposure to danger areas while increasing output and decreasing costs.
PERSONNEL LOCATOR SYSTEM
The personnel locator is a small transmission and receiving device, which will be included in the battery packs of employees and can be activated from surface. The radio waves are transmitted from one locator to the next, forming a transmission web underground and the information is relayed to surface, thereby allowing management to obtain information about where a missing person may be without the need for expensive infrastructure being put in place underground.
DIESEL PARTICULATE MATTER REDUCTION PROGRAMME
In line with the declaration of diesel particulate matter (DPM) as carcinogenic in 2012, by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Sibanye’s fleet of diesel-powered locomotives is due to be fitted with mechanisms that reduce employees’ exposure to diesel particulate matter and other harmful emissions. Testing of a stainless steel mesh exhaust filter to capture exhaust soot and diesel particulate matter particles has been completed. Exhaust gas samples have been analysed and the report is due to be submitted in the first quarter of 2015. Financial impact analysis of the mesh filter is ongoing.
CRUSH PILLAR EXTRACTION PROJECT
Significant progress has been made at the Cooke 1 shaft, which employs conventional methods to mine high-grade crush pillars. These methods, although proven and successful, are time-consuming in terms of site establishment and offer limited potential to increase production rates due to single-shift time blasting and face availability. To resolve this, Safe Technology has developed a non-explosive, remotely operated mining technique with readily available equipment and suitable support design, which could present a quantum leap in production rates and safety improvements by facilitating continuous mining and removing the operator from the danger zone.
Complementing the Cooke Crush Pillar Extraction Project, Safe Technology has designed a mechanised ultra-fines sweeping machine. Based on an adaptable platform, the machine is able to operate remotely, and extract ultra-fine material left in old workings, eliminating the need for employees in the danger zone. It is envisioned that the adaptable platform will be coupled with an array of interchangeable attachments, performing multiple operations from surveying to reconnaissance.
24-7 MINING MACHINE
Realising that a paradigm shift in hard-rock mining is required for the Group to remain competitive locally and globally, Safe Technology has begun a stope mechanisation programme aimed at enabling us to remove the operator from danger, reduce costs and paylimits, and enable non-explosive, continuous production.
Project Goldfinger – pillar-and-stope mining – is set to begin at Driefontein 10 shaft (Thabelang) testing the reef-boring and mechanisation equipment developed in 2014. The site is being established and it is envisioned that the projects will produce their first ounces by the end of the second quarter of 2015. Following a successful reef-boring development programme, potential has been identified to unlock 2.4Moz in strike and dip pillars across the Kloof and Driefontein operations. This excludes strike and dip pillars in non-operational shafts. Both mining methods significantly reduce employee exposure to dangerous working areas.
PREVENTATIVE APPROACH TO HEALTH AND HEALTHCARE
Sibanye has adopted a preventative approach to health and healthcare as opposed to a curative role in order to ensure a healthier and more productive workforce. Preventative programmes are conducted to enable early detection of disease, timeous management and the provision of healthcare services closer to the operations at the primary healthcare centres and shafts.
We continue to provide all employees with a choice of medical insurance products, including access to an in-house restricted medical scheme (Sisonke Health Medical Scheme), open medical schemes (Umvuzo Health, Discovery Health and Bestmed Medical Scheme) and a comprehensive free medical benefit and services provided by Sibanye Gold Health for employees who do not elect a medical scheme. Employees who require medical insurance for dependants are required to elect a medical scheme option.
The new operational health model has been designed to improve accessibility to healthcare services and quality of care. Our priorities include the construction and refurbishment of shaft infrastructure, and shaft clinics identified as a priority have been put out to tender with a view to completion in 2015. Mining accidents are assessed at shaft level and are referred to an appropriate facility of definitive care, which includes referral to Level 1 trauma units in the greater Johannesburg area and Bloemfontein.
Our health model will be rolled out over three years focusing on optimisation, efficiencies and excellence. In 2015 and beyond, we will focus on improving the efficiencies of our model, financially and in terms of quality outcomes performance.
Our strategic objective is to create a healthy and productive workforce through early detection of disease, early intervention in disease processes, and stringent occupational health and safety application of the mandatory code of practice on minimum standards of fitness to perform work at a mine.
Leslie Williams Memorial Hospital in Carletonville and St Helena Hospital, in Welkom, as well as the nursing college and the emergency medical services, were sold to Africa Healthcare in 2014, which assumed management of these facilities on 1 July 2014.
The Carletonville One Stop Occupational Health Centre was officially opened by the Minister of Health at the end of April 2014. The one-stop service for mine workers and former mine workers is a collaborative initiative between the Department of Labour, Department of Health, Department of Mineral Resources and stakeholders to provide health, social and financial services. Since May 2014, 1,480 former mine employees have visited the Carletonville One Stop Occupational Health Centre and 337 claims have been sent to the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD) for processing.
We recorded an increase in the total medical incapacity rate, up from 17.31 in 2013 to 21.36 in 2014 at all of our operations, including Cooke. We attribute this to the introduction of individualised care management: realtime, on-site case management of all medical interventions and reassessment of an employee’s functional work capacity post illness or injury as required by a specific job for which an employee was employed.
The total death rate of employees in service for 2014 was 7.18 per 1,000 (2013: 9.46 per 1,000), which was below the national death rate of 10.21 per 1,000 in 2014 (2013: 10.67 per 1,000). This is encouraging as we strive to promote and maintain a healthy workforce. The total death rate includes all causes of death arising from mining accidents, motor vehicle accidents, medical conditions, assault and surgical conditions.
ADDRESSING OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
The most signification occupational diseases encountered at our operations are noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD), cardio-respiratory tuberculosis (CRTB) and silicosis. The most challenging public health concerns are HIV/Aids, tuberculosis (TB), hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
All employees undergo initial and annual medical surveillance, the scope and practice of which are aligned with legal requirements and regional health and safety risks aimed at prevention, early detection and treatment of occupational diseases.
In South Africa, all employees who suffer an occupational injury or illness are insured for medical expenses and compensation depending on the severity, as prescribed by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act No 130 of 1993) (COIDA) and the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act.
The statutory certificate of fitness and medical surveillance examinations are referred to in the table below.
|Employees||Contractors||Total 2014||Total 2013|
Includes Cooke data from March 2014
Employees are also offered quantitative, confidential health risk assessments, which relate to general health and lifestyle issues, such as hypertension, diabetes, HIV testing, cholesterol, diet and mental health. In 2014, 5,778 (2013: 1,022) health risk assessments were performed in addition to the statutory certificate of fitness. Where necessary, participating employees are referred to appropriate preferred provider practitioners for further management.
As with safety risks, we reduce occupational health risks by proactive engineering aimed at reducing noise and dust levels. Key environmental management measures implemented to reduce noise and dust in 2014 included:
- tip filters to prevent the liberation of dust into the air;
- chemical spraying to suppress dust from footwalls in pre-determined main intake airways;
- mist sprays to suppress dust in ambient air at high dust sources where dust-extraction systems cannot be installed due to site-specific conditions or requirements;
- dust covers over winch drums to reduce dust exposure for winch operators; and
- real-time dust measurement equipment to allow for rapid troubleshooting and more comprehensive risk mapping by environmental engineering staff.
ADDRESSING HEALTH RISKS AT SOURCE
We achieved 22.5% against our own target of 20% of dust exposure readings above 0.05mg/m³ which is lower than the statutory level, in 2013 and 18.6% in 2014. The target was adopted to ensure compliance with the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) milestone of no more than 5% of readings above 0.1mg/m³ by December 2008 we have consistently achieved this target with brief deviations. Our target is reduced annually. The Group has met the Mine Health and Safety Council target over the years with brief deviations from time to time but this was controlled immediately when detected.
Given underground conditions and employee activities, work continues to ensure that PPE provided to our employees is suitable and effective. We have decided that the use of “air curtain” hard hats will be determined by the risk presented at the time. FFP3 dust masks are due to be handed out to locomotive drivers, to protect them from diesel particulate matter, in 2015. The air curtain provides a clean source of air in the employee’s breathing zone. The masks are designed to capture smaller particulate matter such as diesel particulate matter.
The implementation of our noise and dust management strategy is tracked at monthly review meetings. This strategy aims to manage personal exposure to noise and dust, providing information that assists responsible individuals. It also strives to comply with the Department of Mineral Resources’s guidelines on airborne pollutants and noise. It supersedes Project 4M, which was compiled and implemented as Gold Fields’ initial formalised response to realising Mine Health and Safety Council milestones on noise and dust exposure. It was replaced and rebranded under Sibanye as the noise and dust strategy, which is essentially similar to Project 4M, in terms of content, and has been updated with new initiatives and practices to reduce exposure to noise and dust.
The objectives of our noise and dust management strategy are to:
- reflect the application of management responsibility for noise and dust through management structures, policies, procedures and organisational arrangements appropriate for the nature and extent of the risks;
- implement optimisation principles that eliminate potential exposure and mitigate the consequences of incidents and accidents;
- enable the determination of a statistical number of measurements that estimate individual worker exposure as described in the guidelines;
- enable selection, procurement, utilisation and maintenance of personal dosimeters, sampling pumps and area monitors to provide a reliable measurement of noise and dust levels for all practical situations; and
- enable all mining units to measure the effectiveness of their implemented engineering controls.
At a meeting in 2014, Sibanye’s Risk Committee discussed the potential penalties for over-exposure and referred the matter to the Chamber of Mines, including employer groupings, for further discussion.
Sibanye does not prevent a person from applying for work at any of its operations if previously exposed to any occupational health risk. A thorough assessment will be conducted to ascertain any impairment as a result of exposure, and a certificate of fitness will be issued if the individual is not at risk.
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)
A preventable disorder, even in noisy industrial environments, provided that hearing protection devices and other avoidance mechanisms are used judiciously, noise-induced hearing loss may be caused by repeated or extended exposure to sound at or above 85 decibels (dBA) over a prolonged period that causes irreparable damage to the sensitive structure within the inner ear. The Mine Health and Safety Council requires that the total noise emitted by machinery may not exceed a sound pressure level of 110dBA in any location or workplace. Sibanye’s internal target requires that noise emitted by machinery does not exceed 105dBA. The Mine Health and Safety Council target was achieved by withdrawing machinery exceeding the target and adopting a Buy Quiet Policy, which is due to be implemented in 2015. The Mine Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) Buy Quiet programme for the South African mining industry supports the procurement of low-noise products in the interests of hearing conservation, controlling employees’ exposure to noise and preventing noise-induced hearing loss.
Sibanye used an in-ear dosimeter to evaluate the efficacy of hearing protection devices in stock, and chose disposable hearing devices for employees. We are also investigating the use of moulded hearing protection devices.
Sibanye seeks to reduce the extent to which employees are exposed to noise by reducing the noise at source, and ensuring that employees are made aware of the importance of wearing PPE. Employees are educated in the proper use of PPE at entry and during annual induction processes, as well as ongoing education campaigns.
In 2014, 138 (2013: 88) cases of noise-induced hearing loss were reported. The diagnosis of noise-induced hearing loss is made on the assessment of the percentage hearing loss from baseline audiograms. Noise-induced hearing loss is defined as a loss of hearing in excess of 10%, which manifests over a prolonged period after repeated exposure to noise levels in excess of 85dBA.
The interventions implemented by the Group aim to reduce noise-induced hearing loss in previously unexposed individuals or new entrants to the industry. Since 2008, no new cases have been recorded among novices.
- The submission of NIHL requires a deterioration in hearing/shift of 10% or more of hearing loss from baseline assessment. The disease manifests over a prolonged period after repeated exposure to noise levels in excess of 85dBA for more than four hours.
- The data for the past two years is reflected in this table. As evident, there has been an increase in submissions by 34% (19,6% up from 2013, excluding Cooke Operations). The interventions implemented within the Group will conserve hearing in new entrants to the industry and previously unexposed individuals. Since 2008, no new cases of NIHL have been recorded.
Chronic obstructive airways disease
COAD is characterised by chronically poor airflow, resulting in shortness of breath, coughing and sputum production. Long-term exposure to smoking, and particulates associated with air pollution, particularly in poorly ventilated areas, and genetic predisposition cause an inflammatory response in the lungs, resulting in a narrowing of the small airways and breakdown of lung tissue known as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.
Various measures have been implemented to reduce the extent to which employees are exposed to dust and diesel particulate matter. Legislation on exposure to diesel particulate matter is due to be introduced in 2018 in terms of which a limit of 0.16mg/m3 (total carbon) will be imposed. The Department of Mineral Resources has advised a step-in approach to diesel particulate matter exposure control:
- 350μg/m³(total carbon) up to December 2015;
- 200μg/m³ (total carbon) up to January 2017; and
- 160μg/m³ (total carbon) in January 2018.
The Mine Health and Safety Council has prepared a position paper on the regulation of diesel particulate matter. Legislation, expected to be passed in 2015, will require a step-down approach towards the limit of 0.16μg/m³.
Analysis of diesel particulate matter concentration is conducted routinely to finalise the baseline study, and results are presented to the Sibanye Health, Safety and Environmental Committee monthly.
Sibanye has finalised the testing of stainless steel exhaust filters and awaits a final report from the CSIR on the analysis results to make a decision on the use of this method of dilution of diesel particulate matter by ventilation, which is the most common control used to reduce exposure to diesel particulate matter.
Safe Technology has also been investigating several mechanisms to reduce employees’ exposure to diesel particulate matter, as well as other harmful emissions, in line with the declaration of diesel particulate matter as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in June 2012.
In 2014, 45 (2013: 74) cases of chronic obstructive airways disease were reported. chronic obstructive airways disease is compensable, given its association with chronic dust exposure, TB and silicosis. Despite an increase in silicosis submissions, there is a decline in diagnosed chronic obstructive airways disease as silicosis is now submitted at a very early stage of the disease and the full clinical extent and diagnosis of chronic obstructive airways disease is not evident at this stage of silicosis reporting.
Free silica (SiO2), also known as crystalline quartz, found across a broad range of industries, including mining, cement manufacturing and quarrying, reaches the small airways of the lungs and forms tiny nodules (pulmonary fibroses) – the disease is known as silicosis.
In 2014, 264 (2013: 129) cases of silicosis were reported. The basis for reporting on silicosis has changed.
There has been a regression in submitted silicosis cases to levels recorded in 2010, which reflects high dust exposures prior to implementation of dust reduction strategies by the Group. The increase in submitted silicosis rates is due to the submission of cases at a lower threshold in terms of the International Labour Organization (ILO) standard for grading silicosis.
TB is a significant health hazard, particularly in Southern Africa where the relationship between TB is symbiotic, HIV and silica-dust exposure exacerbates the incidence of silicosis and TB. TB spreads when airborne droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are inhaled by others, the most lethal form is cardiorespiratory tuberculosis, which typically attacks the lungs, membranes lining the lungs and chest, and heart. People who live and/or work in close proximity are particularly susceptible to contracting TB.
Given the epidemic magnitude of TB and HIV in South Africa, Sibanye has adopted a comprehensive strategy to address the diseases, including annual TB screening for all employees, voluntary HIV testing, molecular DNA testing for TB, freely available highly active anti-retroviral treatment (HAART) and TB drugs. Contact tracing of the TB suspects on mines and in peri-mine communities, as well as post-employment TB management in South Africa and in neighbouring Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries where TB is prevalent, is also carried out.
There were 566 (2013: 480) new cases of CRTB reported and treated in 2014. A total of 715 cases of cardio-respiratory tuberculosis were treated in 2014 of which 34 (2013: 34) were multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB).
The total TB rate has declined significantly from 19.19 per 1,000 in 2013 to 16.69 per 1,000 in 2014.
The TB rate (per 1,000 employees) continues to decline as a result of:
- Early detection of HIV-infected employees and initiation of HAART at an early stage. We start treatment at a CD4 count of 500. CD4+ T helper cells are white blood cells, which are an essential part of the human immune system. If the cells are depleted, for example in untreated HIV infection, or following immune suppression prior to a transplant, the body is left vulnerable to a wide range of infections. By treating HIV infection early, we avoid deterioration of the immune system to levels below a CD4 count of 200 at which individuals are predisposed to TB infection and other opportunistic infections.
- We use the GeneXpert test extensively to detect early TB in suspects and contacts, and thus prevent the spread of the disease.
- The combination of early detection and treatment of TB and HIV has resulted in a decline in TB rates.
- As part of our preventative strategy and early detection of diseases, we have partnered with the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the Aurum Institute for the research of surveillance, treatment and management of epidemic, occupational and other diseases among mineworkers, and the National Health Laboratory Service to screen employees for TB and lifestyle diseases.
HIV/Aids is a significant contributing factor in employee morbidity rates, mortality rates and medical incapacity.
A total of 5,590 (2013: 4,359) employees were tested for HIV in 2014 – 1,169 or 21% (2013: 1,004 or 23%) tested positive and 4,296 or 77% (2013: 3,342 or 77%) tested negative for HIV while 125 or 2% (2013: 13 or 0.29%) were unknown or undetermined on screening and required laboratory testing for confirmation. The voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) programme has been extended to all occupational health centres in 2015, and all employees and contractors are offered and afforded the option to test after completion of an annual medical examination.
In keeping with our strategic intent of early diagnosis and treatment of disease, Sibanye has extended the VCT programme to all occupational health centres in 2015.
Sibanye’s strategy to address HIV/Aids, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and TB is based on the National Strategic Plan 2012-2016, which has four main strategic objectives:
- address social and structural drivers of HIV, STIs and TB prevention, care and impact;
- prevent new STIs, HIV and TB infections;
- sustain health and wellness; and
- ensure protection of human rights and improve access to justice.
Since 2004, cumulatively 4,604 (2013: 3,654) employees received free HAART, excluding employees on the ARV disease management programmes provided by medical schemes. In 2014, we received 685 (2013: 488) new patients in the HAART programme and 194 (2013: 355) employees left the programme.
A total of 6,202 employees have left the programme since 2004. The reasons for leaving the HAART programme include death (18.07%), incapacity (42.48%), retrenchment and human capital reasons (33.04%), and non-adherence (6.41%).