Safety is our number one priority and we strive for a ‘zero-harm’ working environment. Our fundamental aim is to ensure each of our employees and contractors returns home safely on a daily basis.
In addition to minimising health and safety risks related to the workplace, we also want to support our people to lead healthy lifestyles, given the immeasurable benefits that employee wellbeing brings to both company and individual.
Our safety strategy and management approach is focused on improving our ability to anticipate and prevent harm to our people. We follow a risk based approach as depicted by our HSE Risk Management Process, which entails continual hazard identification, risk assessment and instilling awareness into the workplace culture.
A great emphasis is placed on training in this area and we therefore continually strive to raise safety awareness at all levels, as well as encouraging the active participation of employees and their representatives in health and safety issues.
We are committed to administering a sound safety management system, focused on the journey of continuous improvement, and are striving toward a resilient workforce.
We develop and deliver measurable health and safety standards and targets, aligned with international performance requirements and legislatory governing body guidelines with the aim of ensuring that our employees and contractors are equipped and trained to achieve our goal of zero injuries and damages. All our South African operations are certified to the international environmental standard ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 45001:2018 (Health and Safety standard) through BSI. Williamson is not yet certified but operates with the same principles.
Our operations (open pit and underground caving) use inherently safe, proven and mechanised mining methods, however, as with all heavy industries, accidents can happen.
Our principal safety risks relate to moving machinery, fall of ground, supported and suspended loads and isolation/lock-out.
The root cause of accidents remains breaches in safety rules, inadequate risk assessment, sub-standard front line supervision and non-conformance with work procedures. Our remedial process is therefore focused on retraining, improving first line supervision and enforcement of existing controls.
The essence of leading from the front is the only way to change behaviour and attitude and to foster a culture where employees at all levels of operations feel empowered to engage freely on safety matters.
An ongoing drive is to ensure that management at all levels of supervision regularly visit operations, are actively involved and play a visible role in daily activities. All our operations have therefore increased their focus on Visible Felt Leadership (“VFL”).
All our operations have structured safety management plans with clearly defined objectives and tasks, measured by means of scheduled quarterly operational reviews and internal Company compliance, assurance and performance (“CAP”) audits. These measures, categorised as leading indicators, provide a clear way for management to identify lagging indicators and thereby prioritise assistance to specific operations in need of remedial attention.
Monthly interactions with regional and national industry forums, inclusive of tri-partite forums, are utilised to analyse trends in the sector and proactively draft corrective action plans, which are communicated and implemented Company-wide at all operations.
We continuously communicate and engage with employees on safety-related issues in order to get their input and committed buy-in with regards to future planning and developments.
We have adopted the OHSAS 18001 international management system principles as the elements for the company HSE management framework. All our South African mines maintained their OHSAS 18001 certification further to an independent third party audit conducted by British Standards Institution (“BSI”) in FY 2017. The Williamson open pit mine has not been subject to formal certification as yet, but its processes and systems are based upon such international standards and the mine maintains a very high level of safety performance The Williamson open pit mine has not been subject to formal certification as yet, but its processes and systems are based upon such international standards and the mine maintains a very high level of safety performance.
We have also adopted MOSH (Mining Occupational Safety and Health), an initiative of the South African Chamber of Mines to improve health and safety standards across the industry through the identification, promotion and application of best practice. Through MOSH, we have implemented various best practice initiatives, which impacted positively on our safety performance.
The key occupational illnesses that could impact our employees without stringent management and care are noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), respiratory illnesses, and injuries resulting from repetitive activities form the bulk of the occupational illnesses at our operations.
Our approach is focused on prevention rather than cure, and is based on rigorous ongoing monitoring of individuals and workplaces, the provision of personal protective equipment (“PPE”) in the case of NIHL and respiratory illnesses, and the implementation of relevant leading practices.
Prevention of occupational illnesses is approached in terms of the overall HSEQ strategy to ensure both safe conditions and inculcate a culture of safe behaviour. Continuous monitoring of employees’ health status, based on customised risk profiles, plays a key role in providing the leading indicators used.
The health and wellbeing of our people is imperative to Petra’s continued success.
By encouraging a healthy, energised workforce, we are able to ensure higher productivity levels, thereby improving our performance. It also enables us to increase employee motivation and engagement and to cultivate an industrious workplace, whilst minimising absence.
The promotion of employee wellbeing at Petra includes initiatives to increase awareness of stress, mental health issues, lifestyle-related conditions (such as diabetes and hypertension) and to encourage and support a healthy lifestyle amongst our staff.
In South Africa, all full-time, permanent South African employees need to belong to a recognised and approved Medical Aid Fund, with the Company making a contribution towards monthly premiums. In Tanzania, subsidised primary health care is provided to employees, dependants and external communities by the Williamson Diamonds Hospital, which is owned and operated by the mine.
In addition to Primary Health Care and Occupational Health services, we offer employees in South Africa a comprehensive wellness care programme through the Careways Group. Careways’ services include lifestyle, psychological, financial, legal, and substance dependence counselling and assistance, and are offered anonymously and free of charge (within certain limits) to employees and their families. For more information on the services offered by Careways, please refer to www.carewaysgroup.com.
Information and advice regarding overall employee wellness is included in our dedicated Company newsletter, “Live Sharp”, which appears monthly and is reinforced through other Company communication..
The key community health issues that impact our operations are HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and, in the case of the Williamson mine in Tanzania, malaria.
HIV/Aids is a significant risk to our workforce as well as to the long-term health of our host communities. We have robust plans to manage this risk at our operations and are guided by the legal requirements in the various jurisdictions where our operations are located.
HIV Voluntary Counselling and Testing (“VCT”) is offered to all employees by medical service providers, as well as during employee wellness drives.
Every year, we have various initiatives to increase awareness and understanding of HIV/AIDS, such as:
We co-operate with trade unions and NGOs to improve the delivery of our HIV/Aids treatment and prevention programmes continued at a number of operations.
We provide testing and counselling for tuberculosis at a number of our operations, in most cases through external service providers, due to the established link between HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis.
At Williamson in Tanzania, malaria remains one of the key health issues and at present remains number one of the top ten most common diseases. It does not affect the productivity in general because the statistics account for total patient figures and therefore include the surrounding communities.
Williamson continuously improves its programmes to eliminate mosquito breeding places by monitor and control programmes.
At Williamson, subsidised primary health care is provided to employees, dependants and external communities by the Mwadui Hospital, which is owned and operated by the mine. The hospital is fully equipped for small to medium surgical procedures and includes a pharmacy, reproductive health facility, outpatient department, laboratory, X-ray and mortuary.
In addition, the hospital pilots various health programmes in conjunction with the Tanzanian Government and certain NGOs, including mother and child health, malaria prevention, VCT and ART. These services are provided free of charge to employees and their families, as well as community members. The programmes are financially supported by AGPAHI (Ariel Glaser Paediatric AIDS Healthcare Initiative), with infrastructural and services support from Williamson.
ISO 45001:2018 specifies requirements for an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system, and gives guidance for its use, to enable organisations to provide safe and healthy workplaces by preventing work-related injury and ill health, as well as by proactively improving its OH&S performance.
ISO 45001:2018 is applicable to any organisation that wishes to establish, implement and maintain an OH&S management system to improve occupational health and safety, eliminate hazards and minimise OH&S risks (including system deficiencies), take advantage of OH&S opportunities, and address OH&S management system nonconformities associated with its activities.
The MOSH (Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health) initiative was launched by the South African Chamber of Mines to identify leading practices in health and safety within the industry, and assist with the widespread adoption thereof across industry. It primarily focuses on the major risks in health and safety areas such as falls of ground, transport and machinery, dust and noise, as well as addressing the ‘People’ issues that help to overcome resistance to adoption.
The MOSH Leading Practice Adoption System consists of four steps, as follows:
Behavioural Communication and Leadership Behaviour plans have been developed and are provided to secure the input, participation and support crucial for adoption. The Behavioural Communication Plan identifies each person or group of persons who need to receive specially designed communication, while the Leadership Behaviour Plan identifies what leaders need to say and do at all levels in the organisation to enable the effective adoption of the Leading Practice.
The MOSH Task Force consists of senior health and safety representatives of companies, and is the link between the adoption teams and industry. This ensures that teams are well-aligned with industry needs and that the needs of teams are communicated to industry.
Although many of the initiatives under MOSH had already been implemented at our operations, the Company actively embraced this programme and is represented on each of the Adoption Teams (in a leading capacity in the case of the Dust, Noise and Transport & Machinery Adoption Teams). Our Group SHE Manager represents the Company on the Dust and Noise Adoption Teams, while the Group Planning Manager and the Group Engineering Manager are the representatives for the Falls of Ground and Transport & Machinery Adoption Teams respectively.
Full participation and involvement in the Adoption Teams have ensured that many leading safety practices are in place at Petra’s South African operations.