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Looking after our people

Health

Any illness caused by or associated with our work or working environment is unacceptable to us. We continue to pursue our goal of zero harm and, where we can, we also address public health issues among our employees, their families and communities. We understand that health is a vital component of employee well-being and that health contributes to a safe and productive workplace.

We focus on:

  • Preventing exposure to hazards that could cause occupational illness
  • Early diagnosis and management of occupational diseases
  • Addressing and managing diseases prevalent among our workforce
  • Providing access to healthcare for employees and contractors

Our strategy focuses on five key areas of intervention: occupational health; health promotion; disease management; emergency medical care; and public health.

Occupational health

Our occupational health strategy and management approach are governed by a series of standards, guidelines and assurance processes. We carry out risk-based medical surveillance and monitoring programmes for occupational exposure at all our operations and make comprehensive medical care facilities available to all our employees and contractors.

There are three occupational health risks at our operations:

Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL)

NIHL remains the most significant occupational health risk to our employees. We reduce and eliminate noise at source to below 110 dB (A), provide our employees with approved hearing protection devices that afford protection to below 85dB (A) and apply administrative controls, such as the rotation of employees exposed to noise. NIHL has a long latency period and because of this it is too early to evaluate the impact of recent risk-management interventions.

We are implementing the following initiatives to combat NIHL:

  • Further silencing rockdrills to 105 dB (A) in a collaborative approach with rockdrill suppliers.
  • Installing rockdrill shops on surface that are equipped with noise-monitoring equipment to test drills and prevent the use of drills that do not comply with sound level limits.
  • Providing customised hearing protection devices to employees exposed to noise levels of more than 95 dB (A) and to those who have a hearing loss of more than 7.5% from their hearing baseline.
  • Providing personal noise dosimeters (sound level meters) fitted into hard hats to employees identified as having hearing-loss shifts greater than 5% from their baseline.
Ergonomic stressors

We’ve put a number of measures in place to minimise or mitigate the risk of ergonomic stressors, including engineering controls; administrative and work practice controls; and personal protective equipment in the high-risk occupations. Some examples of these measures include using devices to lift and reposition heavy objects and redesigning tools; rotating workers away from repetitive tasks; and the use of padding to reduce contact with vibrating surfaces.

For more information go to our Sustainable Development Report.

Airborne pollutants

Airborne dust is not a significant health hazard at our operations but we continue to reduce dust levels. Our host rock does not contain silica. We are implementing a comprehensive diesel emissions strategy even though there is currently no exposure limit in place for diesel particulate matter in South Africa. The monitoring of personal exposure has begun at our trackless mining operations in order to develop a baseline assessment.

We work to prevent exposure to airborne pollutants in our metallurgical plants. We remove employees who exhibit symptoms of platinosis, a sensitivity to soluble salts of platinum, and permanently redeploy them to low-risk areas.

For more information go to our Sustainable Development Report.

Health promotion and disease management

Our education and awareness programmes play a vital role in promoting good health and, by extension, managing disease among our employees and their families.

We place special emphasis on sound nutrition which is essential for a healthy and productive workforce. Proper nutrition can have a positive impact on safety and is a strong feature of fatigue-management and employee wellness programmes.

Our community health programme ensures a comprehensive community health monitoring process to identify community health related risks. Health facilities such as clinics; home-based care; and road safety projects including scholar patrols are among the community projects we are proud to implement to ensure safety in the community. Working with local government, police and communities, and employing skilled workers ensure that employees and contractors come to work and return home safely.

For more information go to our Sustainable Development Report.

Emergency medical care

The work of our health services’ emergency care division includes prevention; access to care; pre-hospital care; care in the emergency room; definitive care; rehabilitation; and continuous quality improvement.

Public health

The main public health challenges facing our company and our employees are HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), diabetes and hypertension.

We recognise that HIV/AIDS has serious medical, social and economic implications for employees and their families, for communities and for our company. We manage HIV/AIDS as an integrated response which encompasses prevention through to care and support. We offer comprehensive health services for HIV/AIDS care and HIV prevention to all employees and offer free voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) to all our employees and contractors. For more information on our multi-faceted approach to HIV/AIDS and the three pillars of our HIV/AIDS strategy of preventative, curative and rehabilitative care, go to our Sustainable Development Report.

TB remains the most common opportunistic infection for people living with HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa, and is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in our HIV positive employees. Active TB screening forms part of our annual medical examination and we provide comprehensive treatment for those infected. For more information on our approach to TB, go to our Sustainable Development Report.

While we are recognised leaders for our TB and HIV/AIDS programmes in the workplace and have made substantial progress, there are still significant challenges to overcome.

Hypertension, diabetes and associated cardiac diseases are increasing rapidly among our workforce and we recognise the importance of influencing diet and lifestyle in the effective prevention of these diseases.

Community health

We support health care systems in under-serviced rural areas and focus on innovation and partnerships to improve access to health care. We work with the provincial health departments in Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and North West provinces, which are associated with our operations, in order to improve health services.

For more information go to Our communities. Given the infrastructure challenges in other communities, we have provided mobile clinics to ensure that health services reach every community member who is in need.

Real Mining. Real People. Real Difference.
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