As a child growing up near the Kruger National Park, I was always fascinated with nature and science. My interest in HSE was triggered at an early age when a woman from the Health Department visited our school to teach us about health and hygiene. Having earned a diploma and degree in environmental health, I went on to study total quality and safety management and then worked in various HSE roles before joining Petra Diamonds in 2012, where I am the Chief Safety Officer at Finsch.
Having reliable and effective HSE systems in place is of paramount importance to any company but particularly in the mining industry. At Finsch, the safety team plays a vital role in designing, implementing and measuring the success of our health and safety programmes with the ultima inteintention of achieving zero harm. Our main goals are to manage HSE risks proactively, to stress the importance of considering health and safety in everything we do and to reinforce the role played by all employees in effectively managing HSE in the workplace.
My mission is aligned to that of the Group – to continually improve safety throughout the organisation. My primary objectives are also in line with Petra’s guiding principles, in having a zero tolerance for any action that results in potential harm to employees and environment. My job is to enforce Petra’s health and safety policies and procedures and to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation.
In my line of work, success is measured by the absence of accidents and the commitment of all employees to take responsibility and accountability for their own health and safety.
We have done our job well when we have no accidents and each employee goes home to their families in the same state that they arrived at work. I also find it rewarding when safety systems that we put in place work effectively and when we all work together as a team. We all know that safety is not a one-man show; it requires the collective effort of every employee to make it work.
They need to have an interest and passion for health and safety and must have people skills. They then need to study towards a health and safety qualification at a university of their choice.
Talent Maluleke was born and grew up with his younger sister in Limpopo, Giyani. He attended school at Khanyisa Education Centre from grades 1 to 12 and was one of the top students in his final year. His favourite subjects were maths and physics.
In his first year at the University of Pretoria, Talent contributed to a community project, which took him back to his old high school to teach maths and science during the school holidays. During his first year vacation, he went to work at the Koffiefontein mine to gain practical experience as part of his course. In his second year, Talent went to work at Cullinan and during his third year, he worked at Finsch.
In April 2014, Talent graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. The best moment of Talent’s life so far was walking up to the podium to collect his degree – a moment filled with much emotion and excitement on reaching this major milestone in his life.
Talent is now based at Finsch where he is doing the Government Certificate of Competency, which he is hoping to finish within three years. Although this is not an easy task, he believes he will be able to succeed within his set timeframe, with the necessary courage and focus. In order to gain sufficient exposure and experience in the mining environment, Talent has been assigned to work in various areas of the mine.