Skip to content skip to secondary navigation

Health and safety


Petra Diamonds places the health and safety of its employees at the top of its list of priorities. The Company has various strategies, systems and training in place to ensure the working environment is as safe as it can possibly be and to encourage a healthy lifestyle among employees.

The Company has a group health and safety strategy in place, which is tailored to each operation. Where necessary, it has been translated into local languages and is conspicuously displayed on notice boards at all operations.

The health and safety policy highlights:

  • a commitment to compliance with legislation, standards, policies and procedures;
  • a commitment that no employee will be required to work under circumstances which may endanger them or others;
  • an acknowledgement that management, unions and employees(including contractors) have a mutual interest and responsibility in health and safety matters;
  • a commitment to continual improvement; and
  • benchmarking with world-class standards.

Health and safety committees, comprising management and employee representatives, and health and safety collective agreements, are in place at all operations. This is in accordance with the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) (No.29 of 1996) of South Africa and the Tanzanian MHSA (05 of 1998 and its regulations of 1999), and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 2003. Committees meet on a regular basis to discuss and resolve health and safety issues.

The group’s primary risks in terms of safety are:

  • mud push/rush;
  • trackless moving machinery;
  • fall–of-ground incidents;
  • underground and surface fires;
  • underground flooding; and
  • slimes dam failure (also an environmental disaster).

Safety performance

It is with deep regret that Petra reports that Mr PA Oliphant, a development miner, was electrocuted at Koffiefontein mine on 31 January 2011. The investigation indicated that the root cause of the fatality was not adhering to procedures.

Petra’s fatal injury frequency rate (“FIFR”) for FY 2011 was 0.058 (FY 2010: 0.034) and the lost time injury frequency rate (“LTIFR”) for FY2011 was 0.80 (FY 2010: 0.99). The primary causes of LTIs in the group are unsafe acts :

No shifts were lost as a result of occupational injuries during the financial year (FY 2010: 5).

Lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR)
OperationFY 2011 FY 2010
Cullinan0.33 0.35
Koffiefontein1.52 1.83
Kimberley Underground0.51 0.54
Helam0.00 0.42
Sedibeng 0.88 3.66
Star5.16 6.25
Williamson0.00 0.00
Total0.80 1.03
Shifts lost as a result of lost time injuries (LTIs)
OperationFY 2011 FY 2010
Cullinan356 445
Koffiefontein78 6,219
Kimberley Underground218 56
Helam51 21
Sedibeng 200 459
Star156 12
Total1,059 7,212

During FY 2011, Cullinan and Williamson achieved the significant milestone of 1,000,000 fatality-free shifts each. Cullinan also obtained OHSAS 18001 certification.

Helam and Star Diamond Mines achieved 6,000 fatality-free shifts and Sedibeng mine achieved 8,000 fatality-free shifts.

As a result of section 54/section 55 notifications from the DMR during the year, 52 days of production were lost throughout the group.

Health performance

The primary occupational health risks for Petra are TB, HIV/AIDS, noise-induced hearing loss (“NIHL”) and chronic airway obstruction injury disease (“CAOID”). Petra has occupational health surveillance and management systems in place, which include:

  • yearly medical surveillance as required by the MHSA;
  • noise programmes;
  • air pollutant monitoring that includes gases and welding fumes;
  • Heat and Cold Stress Monitoring;
  • radiation surveillance;
  • Biological Monitoring which includes swab testing or all change houses; and
  • DOTS programme for persons with TB.
Medical examinations
OperationFY 2011 FY 2010
Cullinan1,835 983
Koffiefontein522 761
Kimberley Underground525 448
Helam453 374
Sedibeng 445 191
Star214 162
Williamson273 403
Total4,267 3.322

Hearing protection programme

Exposure to high levels of noise can lead to hearing loss. The group complies to the CDM leading indicators to reduce the noise level emitted by equipment to below 110dbA. The wearing of hearing protection devices reduces the level to below the targeted level of 85dbA. Petra is working towards achieving the 2013 South African Mine Health and Safety Council milestones through:

  • baseline assessments of work areas to identify noise reduction needs;
  • silencing of noisy equipment; and
  • mandatory wearing of hearing protection devices in areas where noise levels exceed 85dbA.

At Williamson, as part of a refurbishment of the existing plant, three crushers have been permanently decommissioned. This means a noise reduction of 98 to 100dbA per unit. Williamson has imported more grid power, thereby decreasing the use of power generators with a 114 decibel factor by 168 operating hours.

Cases of noise-induced hearing loss reported
OperationFY 2011 FY 2010
Cullinan5 2
Kimberley Underground 1
Helam 1
Sedibeng 1
Total13 2

The number of hearing loss cases increased during the year under review to 13 (FY 2010: 2)

Cases of tuberculosis reported
OperationFY 2011 FY 2010
Cullinan5 2
Kimberley Underground 1
Helam 2
Sedibeng 5
Williamson 2
Total 20 2

The number of cases of tuberculosis increased during the year under review to 20 (FY 2010: 2)

Substance abuse

Substance abuse is a concern for the mining industry as a whole. A drugs and alcohol abuse awareness campaign has been launched at Cullinan and at local schools in the area, where some 2,500 people were addressed and educated on the effects of drugs in the workplace and in the home during the year.


The following GRI indicators are covered in this section:

Occupational health and safety
Percentage of workforce represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committees that help monitor and advise on occupational safety programmes
Rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days and absenteeism, and total number ofwork-related fatalities by region
Education, training, counselling, prevention and risk control programmes in place to assist workforce members, their families or community members regarding serious disease