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2019 Annual Results
Annual Results 2019 overview
Main Content

Ensuring the safety of our employees and operations

"There has been a particular focus this year on improving the effectiveness and monitoring of our critical safety controls and processes, driving visible felt leadership at our operations, and strengthening the reporting and investigations of all high potential incidents and high potential hazards."

CEO Themba Mkhwanazi

Why this is a priority

Owing to the inherent nature of mining operations, large-scale industrial operations with machinery and people working in close proximity, the safety of our employees, contractors and the communities surrounding our operations can be at risk. It is imperative that we maintain high safety standards and competence to meet our objective of Zero Harm. Deficiencies in safety can result in loss of life or permanent disability. It also affects employee morale, prevents the achievement of production targets as a result of safety stoppages, harms our reputation and threatens our licence to operate.

Our approach

Achieving a step change in our safety, health and environmental performance. Following the disappointing safety record of 2016, we will be placing priority attention on eliminating fatalities and achieving our objective of zero harm through an enhanced focus on critical controls and processes, and on improving our learning from incidents. In addition, we will be taking measures to reduce dust emissions and deliver on our rehabilitation strategy at Sishen.

Focusing on the health and well-being of our employees and communities

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. At Kumba we support this view. The overall health and well-being of our employees is of paramount importance. Through our health programmes we provide opportunities for all employees to attain and maintain an optimal state of health throughout employment; and endeavour to prevent the development of occupational diseases. Employee health has an impact on well-being and quality of life, as well as on occupational safety and productivity.

Read our Sustainability report

Our guiding principles are aligned with the Anglo American plc Group Occupational Health Policy which is underpinned by three principles:

  • Zero Harm mind-set: we firmly believe that all occupational diseases are preventable
  • No repeats: we learn from our occupation hygiene monitoring and occupational medical surveillance data to prevent occupational diseases
  • The implementation of common, simple non-negotiable standards that are easily understood by our employees
Dealing with dust

Excessive and extended exposure to dust can lead to occupational lung diseases (OLDs). There are three dust fractions - inhalable, thoracic and respirable – of which respirable dust is of greatest concern to us because of its potential impact on lung functioning.  Occupational exposures to respirable crystalline silica are associated with the development of silicosis, lung cancer, aggravation of pulmonary TB and airways diseases. The OEL for respirable silica dust is currently 0.1mg/m3. The amount of respirable crystalline silica present in the workplace atmosphere is determined by personal and static monitoring.

As part of the exposure reduction plan, Kolomela mine replaced all open cabin drills with closed cabin drills. This has significantly reduced respirable dust exposures from category A to category B classification.

Dealing with TB and HIV/AIDS

Kumba recognises the challenges posed by the HIV and TB epidemics, and is concerned about the implications for the company, our employees and their families, for our contractors and for the communities in which we operate.

Our vision of Zero Harm aligns with South Africa’s long-term vision for:

  • Zero new HIV and TB infections
  • Zero preventable deaths associated with HIV and TB
  • Zero discrimination associated with HIV and TB
  • Zero new HIV infections due to vertical (mother-to-child) transmission
Addressing fatigue

Fatigue and exhaustion interfere with the safe execution of physical and mental activities. In mining, this escalates the risk of serious injury and damage to equipment. Kumba therefore focuses on fatigue management interventions which include risk assessment and identification of controls, education and training, and monitoring and evaluation for continuous improvement.

Health initiatives

All employees who participated in our wellness screening were tested for hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, body mass index (BMI), TB symptoms and HIV (if consent was given).

The health improvement plan for 2014 focused on four broad categories:

  • Reduction of exposure to occupational hazards (noise and dust)
  • Fatigue management
  • Wellness in the workplace
  • Musculoskeletal diseases