Nothing is more important than the safety, health and well-being of our workforce. We believe that everyone has the right to a safe working environment and that every employee should go home safely, every single day.
7:15pm on Dec 04, 2020
Our approach to safety and the journey to achieve our goal of zero harm is an ongoing process. To achieve our goal, every employee and contractor must be empowered and enabled to act safely. For us, in an enabled environment, risk exposure is reduced by consistent, constant attention to maintaining a safe workplace with the required equipment, tools, and material that empower every person to deliver sustainable, safe production. That is why we are committed to ensuring that everyone working in our facilities has the appropriate resources, training and personal protective equipment to work safely. We also expect employees to take ownership of health and safety, comply with standards and procedures and immediately report any unhealthy or dangerous situation.
As part of our journey to zero harm, we created a Virtual Centre of Excellence in Innovative Mining Safe Production so that 19 tertiary institutions worldwide can share their specialist competencies, including mining-related safety and health, human factors, risk management, training modernisation, mining-related seismicity and sustainability concepts. We formed a Global Safe Production Advisory Panel, comprising five leading globally recognized safety experts, to provide international insight and guidance based on best practices to drive continuous advancement in safe mining. Our Zero Harm Strategic Framework, which was developed and implemented in 2018 in collaboration with organised labor and the Department of Mineral Resources in South Africa, emphasizes our CARES values as the basis for decision-making.
Each of our regions has developed safety campaigns that align with its unique culture. These enhanced safety initiatives have helped achieve significant improvement in the Group’s safety performance. Regrettably, after achieving a local industry record of over 13 million fatality-free shifts and almost two years without any fatal incidents, the SA gold operations suffered two fatalities during Q3 2020. Despite these incidents we believe that our safety strategy remains appropriate and we continue to work towards our goal of zero harm.
We strive to maintain the safety and health of our employees through the identification, monitoring and reduction of exposure risks that can lead to occupational disease such as heat, radiation, noise and dust.
As with safety, each region has tailored its own needs-specific approach to health and wellness programs. In Southern Africa, we provide individualised care including access to occupational health resources that assess health risks and fitness to work, shaft clinics close the workplace, satellite primary healthcare clinics, 24/7 primary healthcare centres, emergency medical services, hospital networks offering specialized care, and medical aid that protects our employees from the financial risk of high medical costs.
Our Road Map to Health, a proactive health model, has led to a decline in deaths, medical incapacitation rates and hospitalisation. We have successfully reduced the impact of communicable diseases – specifically tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS – on our workforce in South Africa, including reducing tuberculosis infections by 68 percent since 2014, and are expanding efforts to include a focus on mental health and non-communicable diseases. Our health care model has earned national and international recognition from the global Chief Medical Officers Network and the South African Department of Health.
We are also working to align our health care model with the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015 to 2030, in particular, Goal 3, which relates to universal access to good health care and equity in health care.
Managing the threat of COVID-19
The spread of COVID-19 was identified and prioritised as a significant risk by the Group in February 2020. To protect the safety, health and wellbeing of our employees, contractors and communities, extensive safety and health protocols were developed and implemented to mitigate the risk in the work environment, while ensuring the ongoing continuity and sustainability of the operations.
Measures taken are regional and operational specific and in South Africa, are in line with the guideline for a mandatory code of practice for management and mitigation of COVID-19, include protocols for remote work arrangements, limitations on travel and direct engagement, physical distancing, usage of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), screening and testing and the provision of quarantine and isolation facilities by the South African operations to reduce the possible pressure on public health facilities.
At the US PGM operations, the pragmatic approach to managing the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic taken by the Montana public health authorities and proactive actions taken by management to reduce the number of employees and contractors on site, have enabled the US operations to continue operating throughout the year, thus minimising the financial and social consequences of COVID-19 on our employees and communities in the region.
For the most up-to-date information, follow our response to COVID-19
Silicosis and tuberculosis class action
In November 2014, Sibanye-Stillwater, Anglo American Limited, AngloGold Ashanti Limited, Gold Fields Limited, Harmony Gold Limited
and African Rainbow Minerals Limited formed an occupational lung disease (OLD) industry working group to address issues relating to
compensation for OLD in the gold mining industry of South Africa. As part of the working group, Sibanye-Stillwater has been involved in tracking and tracing employees to settle claims relating to silicosis.
We have also collaborated with financial institutions and the Mineworkers Provident Fund in distributing unclaimed pension funds.
In May 2016, a class-action suit, filed to obtain compensation for South African gold miners affected by silicosis or TB, was approved by
the High Court in Johannesburg with parties finally reached an agreement in May 2018. In an historic judgment, the court approved this
agreement on July 26 2019.
The Tshiamiso Trust, registered on 28 November 2019, has been tasked with locating, verifying, medically screening and paying out thousands of miners across southern Africa.
The websites below provides more information relating to the court application and settlement agreement: