SAFETY AND HEALTH
In our opinion, Selected Data marked in the Report to Society 2004 with this symbol adequately reflect AngloGold Ashanti's performance in all material respects.
Occupational safety and health
4 Review of 2004
Good progress was made towards the group's long-term objective of eliminating accidents during the year with all the major safety indicators improving on the previous year and reaching their best ever levels. From a health perspective, some progress is reported along with some negative statistics, the latter particularly in respect of occupational lung disease (OLD) and tuberculosis (TB) on the South Africa operations. This is largely because of the increasing impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in southern Africa.
Safety performance at AngloGold Ashanti was the best ever for the company, with all major safety parameters indicating an improving trend. In fact, the group has achieved a 57% improvement in LTIFR and a 51% improvement in FIFR over the past six years.
Regrettably, however, 32 employees lost their lives in work-related accidents during the year, 31 of these at the South African operations. The single non-South African fatal accident was at the Morila mine in Mali.
As a result, the group's Fatal Injury Frequency Rate (FIFR) was 0.19 per million man hours worked, improved by 34% on the rate of 0.29 achieved last year. The Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) also declined significantly, by 26%, to 6.56 per million man hours from 8.83 the previous year. The latter exceeds the company's objective of achieving a 20% improvement in the LTIFR. Both the LTIFR and FIFR statistics represent record lows for the company.
Causes of fatal accidents
The primary causes of fatal accidents were falls of ground (60%), with seismically-induced falls of ground accounting for 58% of these. Other primary causes were: machinery (13%), trucks and tramming (6%), and vertical transport (6%).
Fatal accident reviews
AngloGold Ashanti has a policy of investigating all fatal accidents independently of mine-based and statutory investigations using a team convened by the corporate office, and followed up by a formal executive review conducted at the corporate office. The group believes that this methodology not only indicates the seriousness with which the board and executive view fatal accidents, but reveals important risk issues and lessons learnt.
AngloGold Ashanti continues to provide comprehensive health care services to employees either through AHS (in South Africa), overseen by AHS (elsewhere in Africa) or through mine-based and external health care service providers (elsewhere in the world).
Medical surveillance at the South African operations is conducted in line with the Mine Health and Safety Act: 51,084 occupational medical surveillance examinations (initial, periodical, transfer and exit) were performed in 2004. Medical surveillance is also undertaken at other operations, in line with specific needs and local legislation.
In South Africa, noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), occupational lung diseases (OLD) and tuberculosis (TB) are categorised as occupational diseases and are therefore compensable by law. In 2004:
- 285 new cases of NIHL were compensated during 2004, which is a rate of 7 per 1,000 employees. This is a decrease of 61% on the previous year's rate of 18 per 1,000 employees.
- 319 cases of OLD were compensable in the South Africa region during 2004, which is a rate of 8 per 1,000 employees.
- 1,386 new cases of TB were detected and treated during the year, which is a rate of 35 per 1,000 employees. The rates are increasing despite intensive efforts to both detect and treat TB. This is because of an increasing incidence of HIV and AIDS amongst a silica-exposed workforce.
Governance and structure
The safety, health and sustainable development committee of the board has as its brief the evaluation of social, economic, environmental and health impacts of the company's operations on both local and global communities and to achieve a substainable balance between economic and social development with due regard to:
- the safety of its employees;
- the health of its employees; and
- the impact of its operations on the environment.
One of the stated primary objectives of this committee is to ensure the elimination of all work-related accidents and diseases, and the committee conducts on-site inspections on matters of serious concern.
The committee comprises two non-executive directors, Bill Nairn (chairman) and Dr James Motlatsi, and the chief executive officer Bobby Godsell. Members of management, including chief operating officer, Dave Hodgson, are invited to participate, as well as John McEndoo (Safety), Dr Dave Barnes and Dr Brian Chicksen (Health), Andrew Mackenzie (Environment) and Paul Hollesen (Community Development).
The management of safety and health issues at an operational level falls under the auspices of the chief operating officer, who is supported by line management. In the case of health services in South Africa and, to some extent, in the rest of Africa, these are guided and provided by AHS under the direction of Dr Brian Chicksen.
Responsibility for safety and health has been devolved to operational line management, down to the level of first line supervisor. The actual operational structure varies from operation to operation. At the Geita Mine in Tanzania, the environmental manager, safety manager and health services manager all report to the general manager. At the Obuasi mine in Ghana each underground section and the surface operations have a safety engineer dedicated to them. These safety engineers play a co-ordinating role and support the line managers, who are also supported by safety and health representatives appointed from amongst the workforce.
Safety and health policies
The group's values and business principles on safety and health and accompanying safety and health policy are minimum guidelines for the group in respect of safety and health. Regions and operations are encouraged to develop their own specific principles, guidelines and policies in line with local conditions and legislation.
(See Tau Lekoa occupational health and safety policy (PDF - 25KB) and
Geita Gold Mine values (PDF - 24KB) on the Report to Society 2004 website.)
The Australia region has a signed health and safety policy in line with the AngloGold Ashanti health and safety policy and objectives. This policy was reviewed by employees and a group of external stakeholders in 2003 with a positive response received and will be reviewed again by external stakeholders in 2005.
(See Australia region safety and health policy (PDF - 67KB) on the Report to Society 2004 website)
The Sadiola and Yatela mines in Mali have developed a code of conduct with three parts, dealing with safety and health, and the environment. Because these are applicable to local employees and communities they are available in English and French.
(See Sadiola/Yatela safety and health policy (PDF - 30KB) on the Report to Society 2004 website)
Safety and health agreements
The South Africa region has safety and health agreements and policies in place at all mines and business units that have been negotiated with representative unions as prescribed by the Mine Health and Safety Act.
At Navachab in Namibia a health and safety agreement was concluded with the representative union in 1997 and, as a consequence of this, union and other employee representatives attend safety meetings on a regular basis.
Where no formal agreements are in place at the other operations, participation by employees is encouraged as it is a fundamental philosophy of the group that safety and health is the responsibility of each individual, as well as that of management.
Complying with laws, regulations, standards
AngloGold Ashanti is committed to complying with all relevant laws, regulations and standards applicable to the countries in which its operations are located. In the absence of appropriate laws, regulations or standards, or where these are perceived to be inadequate, the company will adopt standards reflecting good practice.
Enforced stoppages by regulatory authorities, non-compliance with legislation or fines imposed by regulatory authorities
A total of 13 withdrawals/partial withdrawals and/or stoppages were instigated by the South African Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) in line with section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act during the year. (See table bottom right.) Two stoppages resulted in a significant interruption to business (of more than three days):
- on 18 August 2004 a working place at Great Noligwa mine was stopped for three weeks while the mine instituted remedial safety measures, following a multiple fall of ground seismic-related fatal accident; and
- work on the reef horizon was suspended for five consecutive Sundays following a fatal accident at Tau Lekoa mine.
A fine of R200,000 was imposed by the DME relating to a gas explosion that took place at Mponeng mine on 29 June 1999 and in which 19 employees lost their lives. The investigation conducted by the DME after the accident highlighted a number of procedural shortcomings at the mine, although these were found not to relate directly to the accident.
At the Obuasi mine in Ghana, two breaches of the mining regulations resulted in reprimands from the Department of Mines:
- on 5 April 2004, a fire in the No 2 compartment of the Sansu Shaft occurred after shaft repairs using an oxy-acetylene cutting device. No injuries occurred. Remedial action has been put in place; and
- on 3 May 2004, an eight-year old girl drowned while swimming in a defunct slurry trench. This and all similar trenches in the area have been filled and the area is being rehabilitated for eventual hand-over to the community.
No other breaches to, or violations of, the various legislation or regulations were reported during 2004, and no further non-compliance fines were paid in respect of safety and health.
|DME-initiated withdrawals - South Africa - 2004|
|Laws, regulations and standards applicable to safety and health|
|Australia||Mines Safety and Inspection Act (WA) 1994 (MSI Act)|
|Mines Safety and Inspection Regulations (WA) 1995 (MSI Regs)|
|Argentina||Argentinian Constitution, Law 19587/72 - National Conditions of Hygiene and Safety for Organisations and Mining, Law 24557/95 - Work Risk Law|
|Brazil||Constitution and labour legislation. Regulatory Norm 22 - Occupational Health and Safety in Mining|
|Regulatory Norm 7 - Occupational Health Medical Control Programme, Mining|
||Decree 237, October 2001 Regulatory Norm - National Department of Mineral Production (DNPM)|
|Ghana||Mining and Explosives Regulators, 1970 (Legislative Instruments 665 & 666)|
|Radiation Protection Regulations, 1993 (Legislative Instrument 1559)|
|Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regulations|
|Mali||The primary laws governing safety and health in Mali are Code de la Sécurité Sociale du Mali (Social Security Code), Convention Collective (Collective Agreement) and Code du Travail du Mali (Mali Labour Code)|
||The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is a partner of the SEMOS SA joint venture. As a partner, the IFC requires that SEMOS SA adhere to IFC and World Bank guidelines, including those guidelines covering health and safety. Thus, additional applicable IFC guidelines for SEMOS SA include:|
- Environmental Guidelines for Health Care Facilities, May 2003
- IFC Environmental Guidelines for Occupational Health and Safety, June 24, 2003
- World Bank Environment, Health and Safety Guidelines - Mining and Milling - Open Pit, August 1995
- Environmental, Health and Safety Guidelines for Precious Metal Mining, Draft July 2004
|Namibia||Health & Safety Regulations Act 6 of 1992|
|Hazardous Substance Act 15 of 1973|
|Mineral and Ordinance Act|
|Environmental Act 10 of 1998|
|Namibia Water Corporation Act no 12 of 1997|
|South Africa||Occupational Health & Safety Act N0 85 of 1993|
|Mine Health and Safety Act 26 of 1999 & Regulations|
|Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 0f 1993|
|Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act 78 of 1973|
|Minerals Act 50 of 1991|
|Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002|
|National Nuclear Regulator Act 47 of 1999|
|Hazardous Substances Act 15 of 1973|
|Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act 45 of 1965|
|National Building Regulations and Building Standards Act 103 of 1977|
|Explosives Act 26 of 1956|
|Tanzania||The United Republic of Tanzania Mining Act 1998|
|The United Republic of Tanzania Mining Regulation 1999|
|The Industrial and Consumer Chemicals (Management and Control) Act 2003|
|The Factories/Chemicals Management and Control Act 2003|
|The Employment and Labour Relations Act 2004|
|The National Environmental Management Bill (currently before Parliament)|
|United States||Mine safety and health is administered via the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MHSA), under a programme that is separate of safety and health requirements that are applicable to other industries in the United States as addressed under Occupational Safety and Health Administration|
Risk assessments are conducted at both group and operational level, right down to working places. This is to understand the potential safety and health risks that exist so that they may be removed or reduced to tolerable levels. A detailed discussion on risk analysis within the group can be found in the Annual Report 2004.
Risk assessment may be conducted by or with the assistance of external consultants, by the group's corporate office, by underwriters (for insurance purposes) or by the operations themselves. An important development that has taken place in recent years has been the extension of basic hazard identification into the front line supervisory ranks and to employees themselves.
At Geita in Tanzania, for example, many supervisors, safety officers and representatives have been trained to conduct risk assessments.
An example of a risk assessment that draws on the broad base of experience and expertise within the group was recently conducted at the South America region's Cerro Vanguardia operation in
Argentina to ensure that these open-pit operations are managed in line with world best practice.
(See case study: Towards best practice in open-pit mining.) Yet another example are the Hazop studies that were undertaken during 2004 as part of the process of constructing the Hanna Cyanide recovery plant at Sadiola and Yatela in
The Australia region uses the SafeGold risk management system as the basis for risk management.
All employees are trained in hazard identification and risk assessments. Risks are managed through the hierarchy of control and there is demonstrated use of the high levels of control including elimination of hazards and engineering out the hazards rather than relying on personal protective equipment.
At Sunrise Dam a formal process of identifying potential hazards and defining control processes for the underground operation was recently undertaken. This process identified some 1,600 hazards which were subsequently assessed and addressed. At present the mining contractor is reviewing this list of hazards and controls that are in place. During the Mineral Council of Australia's Minex evaluation, the application of the rigorous risk management process was identified as a principal strength in the safety management programme. (See case study: Sunrise Dam awarded prestigious Minex trophy.)
This process has been extended to exploration activities, such as the Tropicana project, where risk was assessed by the team working on the project prior to the project commencing. An external party was used to educate the team in the principles of risk assessment and assist in the process. Major risks identified were reviewed and action plans developed to reduce their impact. Having undertaken this process before the project commenced, all personnel were made aware of the hazards, resulting in no incidents and injuries occurring to date.
The Australia region has also made good progress in its transition to using leading rather than lagging indicators. For example, three positive indicators used to measure safety performance include corrective actions completed, scheduled inspections conducted and a number of green (or incident-free) days achieved.
In South America (Argentina and Brazil), annual Hazard Identification and Risk Assessments (HIRAs) are undertaken by company teams, and these are subject to internal and external audits. The HIRA is conducted for each activity, identifying risk factors, consequences, existing and proposed risk measures. The final result is a matrix indicating a Residual Risk Profile and respective controls, which has brought about a significant reduction in the number of lost-time accidents.
| Number of shifts lost due to injuries |
|AngloGold Ashanti Minera??o||491|
Lost time injury frequency |
rate (LTIFR) - per million man hours worked
|South America |
|AngloGold Ashanti Mineração||4.04||1.56|
|South America |
|AngloGold Ashanti Mineração||0.10|
Both internal and external audits are conducted on a regional and operational basis. Many operations outside of South Africa have adopted the National Occupational Safety Association (Nosa) systems and were audited during the year.
It has been AngloGold Ashanti practice to engage the services of recognised safety experts to undertake a high-level safety audit, with recommendations made to the board committee. Retired state mining engineer (Western Australia) Jim Torlach, undertook a second audit of the operations in late 2004, including the South African, Malian and Australian operations. His brief was to review the progress made on, and compliance with, certain of the recommendations made in his previous report from 2002/2003. (See case study: Australian expert evaluates AngloGold Ashanti's safety risks.)
The assessment of the group's adherence to the international Cyanide Protocol (See case study: Developing and implementing best practice for cyanide implementation.) uses a novel approach of creating expert teams drawn from different regions to work with a local team in undertaking what is essentially a detailed risk assessment and audit.
Both the South Africa region Occupational Health Centres were audited during the year by an external auditor using Anglo American plc guidelines. Both centres achieved more than 95% in all audit elements.
Employee involvement and communication
AngloGold Ashanti encourages both employee involvement in matters relating to safety and health, and communication with employees in this regard. This is necessary to understand and arrive at the best outcomes, and to gain commitment in the implementation of safety and health programmes. Effective communication is an important adjunct to safety management, not only to disseminate knowledge, but also to ensure that employees are aware of their own responsibilities.
The group uses the intranet, mine-based newsletters, safety newsletters and a monthly safety letter from its chief operating officer to communicate about safety and health issues and ensure that they remain a priority. Operations are required to report on monthly, quarterly and annual safety performance in respect of both leading and lagging indicators. Coaching to interpret these indicators through these media is ongoing.
In South Africa, employee involvement is specified by law. In line with the Mine Health and Safety Act, 2,500 workplace and 60 full time safety and health representatives have been trained, designated and appointed. These cover all South African production employees and all working places.
In Ghana, article 16 of the collective bargaining agreement between the company and union allows for safety and health representatives to be appointed from within the workforce. The union is represented on a panel of investigators during enquiries into incidents and is actively involved in safety and health campaigns coordinated by the safety, health and environment department. One of the challenges that remains in Ghana, and elsewhere, is to obtain employee support for, and participation in, the various programmes.
At Sadiola and Yatela in Mali, safety representatives are elected (most recently in February 2004) and form part of the team that drives both safety communication and management.
In Tanzania, both Geita and the contractors' employees are represented by a health, safety and environment (HSE) representative committee. These representatives are appointed by the various departmental heads. In this capacity they attend regular training sessions on their roles and responsibilities and are part of a group that is accountable for accident and incident investigations. They also play an important role in developing and implementing new safety and health systems and programmes, or raising employee concerns.
Monthly MD meetings on safety at Geita
Issues relating to safety and health form an important component of the monthly meetings held between the managing director, Peter Turner, and both Geita and contractor senior staff. These meetings form a valuable means of directly communicating important information dealing with all aspects of the operation and its effect on other stakeholders. There is an opportunity to exchange ideas, ask questions and propose changes. Any significant or potential safety incidents are discussed.
Although there is no formal union representation at the Australia operations, site management encourages teamwork and ownership in safety and health initiatives. Employees are encouraged to take responsibility for safety and to report risks and hazards before an incident can occur. This is reinforced through pre-shift instruction meetings and the ACTSAFE programme. The general manager is active in the promotion of safety and health on the site through the weekly safety and health meetings involving all employees and contractors. At the CC&V mine in
the United States, the general manager conducts quarterly all-hands meetings that present an open forum to discuss safety, health and production status, and issues concerning the workforce.
Communications media used in the Australia region
- Electronic - intranet, email, internal television/video system, presenta-\tions, and Aura newsletter.
- Hard copies - notices, bulletins, posters, and quarterly site newsletters.
- Notice boards - distinctive notice boards in offices, cribrooms, meeting rooms, and training rooms.
- Oral communication - daily morning meetings, weekly managers' meetings, quarterly department presentations, monthly safety strategy meetings, monthly safety meetings and safety representative meetings.
Examples of forums for joint safety and health committees comprising management, employees and/or employee representatives.
|Operation||Forums in place |
|Australia||Joint safety and health committees are in place|
|Ghana||Safety and health representative appointed in line with legislation|
|Mali||Elected safety representatives|
|Navachab||Committee in place and safety and health representatives in line with agreement|
|South Africa||Joint safety and health committees in place at every operation, in line with the Mine Health and Safety Act. All working places covered by such agreements|
|South America||Committees in place|
|Tanzania||HSE representatives made up of employees and contractor employees|
|USA||Employee participation encouraged||
The provision of appropriate training is essential to ensure that employees are competent to carry out both their duties and responsibilities in a safe manner.
In South Africa, occupational environment, health and safety training is a particular priority for the company and is incorporated, in the first instance, into all technical training programmes and learning material with reference to the workplace and work-related hazards for each and every occupation and associated tasks. In 2004, 3,424 employees attended formal occupational environment, safety and health training, which took 7,833 shifts.
An important development in recent years has been the changes to legislation that have facilitated the empowerment of first line supervisors, both in examining and making safe their work areas, and in withdrawing from working areas should these be thought to be unsafe.
Safety training in South Africa
The following structured formal courses relating purely to occupational environment, health and safety are also presented on a regular basis in accordance with the prescribed course schedule.
- Business unit induction and annual refresher programmes.
- Risk assessment:
- Risk assessment level 1 (designed for and presented to all non-supervisory categories). The focus is on hazard identification.
- Risk assessment level 2 (designed for and presented to supervisory categories - miner/artisan level). The focus is on hazard identification but includes practical exercises on observation and inspections.
- Risk assessment level 3 (designed for and presented to supervisory employees). The focus is on issue-based risk assessment.
- Enterprise-wide risk management (designed for and presented to supervisory employees).
- Advanced principles of safety management (designed for and presented to safety practitioners, learner officials and management trainees).
- Safety representative course (designed for and presented to all safety representatives).
- Hazard identification techniques (needs-based).
In the Australia region, safety and health training begins with induction which is competency based and then progresses to an area-specific induction. A 'buddy' system has been set up where an experienced person works with a new employee. Basic safety and health training is undertaken in areas such as hazard identification, risk assessment, job hazard analysis, working at heights, emergency response and fatigue management. Each area of the plant has its own safety and health training package. Safety and health and lifestyle topics are discussed regularly at safety meetings. Most of this training is formal and competency-based.
At CC&V in the USA, eight to 24 hours of safety and health training is conducted immediately following hiring. Eight hours of refresher training is conducted annually for all employees. Task training in the safety and health aspects of a task is conducted whenever an employee is assigned to a new task. Equipment operator skills training is conducted on an ongoing basis for mine operators.
Navachab mine in Namibia undertook a range of training programmes during the year: safety induction (annually for all employees), Nosa-related courses, incident investigation training, risk assessment training, cyanide basic awareness and intermediate training, safety representative training and defensive driving training.
In Ghana, safety related training has largely been informal and on-the-job for the majority of employees, while selected employees - who have a significant role to play in respect of safety and health - have enjoyed full time, formal training courses.
Some of the training that has taken place in Mali includes employee health and safety training courses (Levels 1 and 2), basic and intermediate cyanide training, fire fighting training, hazard recognition and hazard hunt training, as well as first aid training.
At Geita in Tanzania, all employees attend a health, safety and environment induction on their first day on site. Area-specific induction is then carried out by area supervisors before the employee may commence work. Other training is conducted on a needs basis and includes specific operator training, fire-fighting training, hazard identification, first aid training, cyanide awareness and response training. The on-site emergency response team (which includes two artisanal miners) trains twice a week after hours and one full day per month. They also receive training in all aspects of emergency response from external service providers.
At AngloGold Ashanti Mineração in Brazil, each employee spends between six and 10 hours each year on refresher safety training. This follows induction training (of 16 hours in total) on safety at work, firefighting, first aid, risk management and the handling of cyanide.
A Safety Summit was held in March 2004 where five strategic thrusts for the South African safety programme were identified. This was followed by a re-launch of the South African safety programme involving a symbolic ceremony where the various business unit managers committed themselves and their business units to the implementation of the five strategic thrusts. (See box
Discussions on some of the initiatives undertaken on the South African operations may be found on the following
Five strategic thrusts underpin South African safety drive
The South Africa region's 2004 safety summit resolved to follow five key strategic thrusts for safety management during 2004/2005. These are:
A phased and structured behaviour change process is in progress to gradually change individual, team, section and ultimately the entire operation's mindset. 90% of employees down to team leader category were trained in behaviour auditing techniques and principles during the year. The aim is to embed these principles at this level before commencing with the remainder of employees. A complete behavioural safety implementation status review is planned for 2005.
A simple yet technically sound approach to enterprise-wide risk management process was instituted in 2003. 'Risk owners' for each risk were identified and are following a structured approach to identifying risks facilitated by each operation's risk manager. The aim is to be able to assess risk controls through a continuous pro-active management process which will bring together all assessments, inspections and observations giving a clear indication of the risk status. This process is continually being improved and it is envisaged that the OHSAS 18001 system will be adopted within the region's risk management process. Audits are already being conducted and will eventually be used in OHSAS 18001 certification audits.
Fall of ground management
Further research is being conducted into rock-related injuries in relation to the depth at which they occur. Another issue being looked at is the delegation of relevant fall of ground management components to each level in the mining ranks.
Five elements of fall of ground management have been audited on a regular basis since 2003 to identify where remedial action needs to be taken, and positive results have been noted during fall of ground management analysis as a result. These five elements are:
- design of mine layout;
- design of support systems;
- human factors involved in falls of ground;
- monitoring systems, verifying sufficiency of designs and implementation; and
- problem solving and technological development. (See case study: Employee attitudes to safety in Mali.)
Horizontal and vertical transport
A competition to motivate safety performance in these areas was initiated during 2004 and awareness has since increased significantly. The implementation of a quarterly report on horizontal and vertical transport issues using a causational model to identify leading indicators as well as a report on lagging indicators, has increased this awareness even more and is yielding positive results and much interest.
Other initiatives include horizontal and vertical transport group meetings, a third round of region-wide horizontal and vertical transport audits, the implementation of enhanced track maintenance protocols, and improving design specifications for cage (vertical transport) arresting devices.
Wellness in the workplace
The wellness in the workplace thrust recognises that safety and health are integrally related. This thrust will primarily address the working environment, health care and medically affected employee programmes so as to enhance manpower management.
Wellness in the workplace embraces the following: recruitment and selection, dust management, TB control, noise management, thermal management, radiation management and HIV/AIDS workplace initiatives.
The Australia region recorded a number of achievements during the year. Among these was the successful implementation of the ACTSAFE programme at Sunrise Dam that has resulted in improved employee acceptance of responsibility for personal health and safety within the workplace.
Another achievement was the effective implementation of exploration drilling equipment improvements which has seen the implementation of automatic break-out tools on all drill rigs. Breakout-tools are used for breaking the joints between drill rods. The rod string comprises a series of rods of three or six metres each, that are screwed together and added as the drill hole gets deeper. These joints become very tight as a result of the tremendous torques involved. Manually breaking the joints has long been recognised as a very hazardous task and the source of frequent hand and back injuries.
Two areas of concern remain, and will receive increased focus during the year ahead:
- the need for improved contractor management and, in particular, the need to review and increase contractor commitment to safety; and
- the high turnover of personnel in the mining industry and the implications this has for safety training.
In addition, the region will be undertaking a safety culture survey during the year ahead.
A primary challenge at the Ghanaian operations, and indeed elsewhere, is to reinforce the commitment of supervisors towards safety and health, in the same way that they have assumed responsibility for production. This accountability is now being incorporated into the formal responsibilities for senior employees at the time of their appointment. To ensure that all employees recognise their own responsibilities in respect of safety and health, a behaviour-based safety programme is planned for 2005. Another area of concern has been the negative impact that budgetary constraints have placed on the provision of personal protective equipment and safety facilities and this is being addressed.
At the Sadiola and Yatela operations in Mali, major challenges ahead include the further development of full time safety and health representatives, the inculcation of safety as a fundamental value within the company, improved vehicle controls, and the fostering of a risk control mindset. At Morila, a near-miss reporting system has been implemented, along with increased communication in local languages, in an effort to improve safety performance. Some success has been achieved, but this was negated by the relatively poorer performance by contractors during the Plant Expansion Project, which was completed in October 2004. Plans for the year ahead include:
In the USA, at the CC&V mine, the DuPont STOP for Supervisors and Employee programmes continue to yield significant improvements in reported injuries and equipment damage incidents. A significant portion of the 2004 annual refresher training was devoted to programme skills and requirements. Overall, programme feedback has been positive both in reduction of accident occurrence and in changing attitudes to reflect positive methods of remedial measures. Continuing to improve the STOP programme and ensuring utilisation of STOP principles and observations will be a major focus during the year.
Safety and health management in North America: top-down and bottom-up
For the North America region's CC&V mine, health and safety is approached from top-down and bottom-up. Health and safety issues start with Ron Largent, vice president and general manager, who relies on Larry Snyder, manager, safety and security, for overall programme administration as well as each departmental manager for
implementing health and safety policies and programmes.
The DuPont STOP (See Report to Society 2003) for Supervisors and Employees programmes have been implemented and are in use. The STOP programme promotes safety
observations and positive remedial measures for observed unsafe acts and conditions on all levels, from the vice president and general manager to hourly employees. The programmes have been proven to be most valuable for hourly employees by enabling them to correct unsafe acts and conditions directly and immediately without having to go to a supervisor with a report of an unsafe act or condition.
Current safety priorities for Geita mine in Tanzania include:
- the development and training of safety representatives;
- ensuring compliance with site driving rules (especially wearing of seat belts);
- increased drug and alcohol awareness programmes and substance abuse testing;
- risk assessment training;
- implementation of behaviour based safety system;
- reducing worker fatigue; and
- succession planning and localisation of safety skills.
The provision of health care in South Africa continues to be made under the auspices of AHS, which has undergone a change in strategic direction this year. A key strategic objective during 2004 was to align health care provision at other African operations with that of AHS facilities and this has largely been achieved. Three such facilities are discussed in this report. (See the case studies:
Model mine medical facility at Iduapriem on page
SH26, Upgrade planned for the Edwin Cade Memorial Hospital at Obuasi, and State-of-the-art x-ray facilities at Geita.) The first two operations are in Ghana and the latter is in Tanzania.
AngloGold Health Service (AHS) - providing health care to more than 40,000 employees and many more dependents
AHS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of AngloGold Ashanti and provides health care services to the group's 40,000+ South African employees and growing numbers of their dependents.
AHS comprises two world-class hospitals, community-based clinics and on-mine medical stations as well as two occupational health centres.
AHS employs some 1,300 people, 60% of whom are health care professionals.
Each AHS hospital has medical, surgical and maternity wards, an intensive care unit, operating theatres, casualty and outpatient facilities, as well as radiography, occupational therapy and physiotherapy services. Employees have unlimited access to these facilities.
Occupational health threats
NIHL and OLD, as well as TB in South Africa, are the most significant occupational health threats faced by employees in the gold mining industry and the various operations have programmes in place to address these. Other threats are excessive fatigue and poor lifestyle and nutrition. The major health threat at the Mali, Ghana and Guinea operations remains malaria and this is dealt with separately
in the HIV/AIDS and Malaria section. Indeed, one of the issues related to being a global group is both extensive travel and secondment. (A case study: Setting up tropical travel protocols as global travelling increases.)
Noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)
In South Africa baseline audiograms in terms of new compensation regulations were completed for all employees during 2003. The decreased NIHL levels recorded in 2004 do not represent a significant downward trend but are consequent upon this legislative charge. In light of this first-ever accurate baseline survey covering all employees at one time, and the increased levels of compensation that may be awarded in the future for NIHL, reducing noise levels at source and preventing hearing loss is an occupational health priority.
In this regard the muffling of all rock drills and noisy fans has been completed with the result that ambient noise levels have been significantly reduced. In addition to these engineering efforts, specifically selected hearing protection devices (HPDs) are available to employees. Increased education and training efforts on the need to wear HPDs, and the nature and consequences of NIHL, will be undertaken during the year ahead.
Occupational lung disease (OLD)
Also in South Africa, exposure to silica dust remains one of the major contributing factors to the development of OLD. Silica exposure plays a role with HIV in the development of TB. Initiatives to eradicate dust and improve methods of control have continued. (See case study: Controlling dust levels underground remains a focus area.)
A legacy issue of both the South African and Brazilian mining industries is that of silicosis. Silicosis is an occupational lung disease caused by the inhalation of free silica dust which is present in mining areas where quartz concentrations are high, as is frequently the case in deep level mines. In South Africa the follow-up treatment and compensation systems set up in the past under the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, especially for ex-employees, do not seem to be functioning as well as intended. AngloGold Ashanti is working with the state, unions and other mining companies in developing solutions. (See Report to Society
Pneumology Reference Centre - focusing on the health of former employees in Nova Lima
Medical surveillance results at AngloGold Ashanti Mineração indicate that the incidence of silicosis is now rare as a result of the risk management programme, mining technology and manpower training schemes that have been implemented in recent years to limit employees' exposure to silica dust in the workplace. Only four cases have been detected during the past five years.
This has not always been the case, however. The company's Brazilian origin - Nova Lima - has been a mining town for 170 years; in the past, the Morro Velho mine, located in Nova Lima, employed thousands of people. Less was known than today about the effects of dust on the health of employees and fewer measures were in place to protect employees' health as a result, and the disease was frequently undetected and untreated.
On the closure of Morro Velho Mina Grande mine in 1995, AngloGold Ashanti contributed
$198,000 to the establishment of the Reference Centre for Pneumology, for the treatment of, and research into, lung diseases. This was particularly aimed at ensuring a better quality of life for former employees afflicted by silicosis.
Inaugurated in May 2003, the Reference Centre was the result of a partnership with the Nova Lima Town Authorities and the local hospital - Nossa Senhora de Lourdes. It may also be used by community members who require diagnosis and treatment of lung diseases not associated with the mining industry.
The 1,570 current registered users of the facilities are treated by a team of pulmonology specialists, a thoracic surgeon, a lung physiotherapist, nutritionists, social workers and nursing aides. The company currently contributes $188,000 per year to the Centre's running costs. (Former employees who are found to have silicosis are also eligible for compensation. A number of such claims (2,568) have been tested in court and compensation has been paid by the company, the average claim being in the region of $12,000.)
The Centre aims to achieve the rehabilitation of patients, so - in addition to medical care - assistance is also given to employees and their families in dealing with the illness, and with financial and social issues.
In 2004, the Centre contributed $3,500 and provided technical support for the first Symposium for Work-Related Respiratory Diseases in the State of Minas Gerais bringing together a range of professionals working towards combating these diseases.
NIHL (new cases) SA region only
OLD new cases (SA region only)
TB in silica-exposed employees remains a compensable disease in South Africa. The higher rates recorded in 2004 are a result of HIV/AIDS, silica exposure and an ageing workforce. More attention is being paid to the early detection of TB by using Digital Diagnostic Radiography (DDR), and this has also had an impact on TB rates. During 2004, a R5 million ($0.8 million) budget was approved for the purchase and equipping of two mobile DDR units. These will move from shaft to shaft and facilitate more frequent x-raying of employees in an effort to detect and treat TB infection earlier, thereby preventing its spread and the severity of impact.
Another milestone in 2004 was the granting to Aurum Health Research, a subsidiary of AHS, of $14 million over a five-year period by the Consortium to Respond Effectively to the AIDS/TB Epidemic (CREATE). The money will be used to research strategies around TB control in the South African gold mining industry. The grant, which is part of a larger award of $45 million to CREATE by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was announced in July 2004 at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok. In addition to Aurum, members of CREATE include, among others, the Johns Hopkins University Centre for Tuberculosis Research, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the University of Stellenbosch and the World Health Organization.
(See case study: Aurum's battle against TB gains momentum.)
The research being conducted by Aurum, is being done after extensive consultation, and collaboration, with several South African gold mining companies, including AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields and Harmony, the departments of Health, Labour, and Minerals and Energy; and various labour unions and associations. The aim of the research is to determine the effects of community-wide preventive therapy on TB rates in the South African gold mining industry. As mentioned above - the rates of TB among employees in the South African gold mining industry have risen sharply, coinciding with the onset of the HIV epidemic.
Heat and physical fitness
Deep level mining is often accompanied by exposure to heat; the deeper the mine, the hotter the rock temperatures. AngloGold Ashanti employs a heat stress management programme to promote the health and well-being of its employees and to meet the requirements of legislation. (See case study: New heat tolerance centre at West Wits.)
A related issue is the operation of the Functional Work Capacity (FWC) test battery developed by AngloGold Health Service and featured in
report. The use of this test battery has been extended to assess the fitness of women for work underground, which is particularly important in light of the South African mining industry Charter requirements.
In Australia, lifestyle choice is a health challenge, and programmes are in place to assist employees in improving their personal health, for example, quitting smoking, eating balanced nutritious meals and encouraging personal fitness. A further area of activity during the year ahead is fatigue education and management.
CC&V in the USA has a limited number of health issues to manage. Despite elevated airborne concentrations of silver in the refinery, blood sampling of refinery personnel has not detected any problems. Nonetheless, reducing silver exposure to refinery personnel to less than a threshold limit value is the major health challenge for 2005 and significant engineering controls have therefore been implemented. Compliance with MSHA regulations relating to silver exposure is pending health sampling conducted by MSHA inspectors. A baseline risk assessment was performed in December 2004. The assessment will be verified with operating groups in early 2005, and a safety plan developed to address significant risks.
At Sadiola and Yatela in Mali, a major epidemiological baseline study has been initiated, along with the yellow fever inoculation programme. A programme to reduce and manage worker fatigue, along with a vitamin A distribution, is underway.
Malaria remains a major health threat in the African operations. This is dealt with in a separate section on
HIV/AIDS and Malaria. Similarly, a review of activities relating to HIV/AIDS - also in the African operations - can be found in this section.
TB new cases (SA region only)