Our board-approved SHEQC policy serves as the safety blueprint for our entire organisation. Our health and safety policy and framework is aligned with the Mine Health and Safety Act. We promote and support a culture of zero harm and minimal environmental impacts.
The board takes ultimate responsibility for the group’s SHEQC performance and has allocated its direct management to the SHEQC sub-committee. This sub-committee informs the board on matters relating to SHEQC compliance, discipline and the action plans required to optimise responses to any incidents and accidents. The mine general managers are primarily accountable for SHEQC performance at their sites.
Pan African Resources continues to comply with the mining licence conditions set by the DMRE, the Mine Health and Safety Act (as amended from time to time) and other relevant legal requirements. The group SHEQC manager, as well as safety, health and environmental officials, guide and advise each operation.
Legal requirements are treated as starting points for improvement and are regularly audited by group SHEQC officials. These are supported by monthly SHEQC performance reviews. Our safety performance results are reported regularly to the DMRE.
Employees at Barberton Mines and Evander Mines are represented via joint management-worker health and safety representative committees.
In addition to the vital role played by our employees in our safety performance, our contractors and suppliers are pivotal to the achievement of our SHEQC objectives. As such, we encourage their buy-in to our safety ethos, as well as their active involvement in our initiatives. This is done through training, written communications and regular face-to-face meetings. We regularly visit areas utilised by contractors to ensure their compliance with health and safety standards.
The group has experienced an encouraging improvement in its safety performance, with TRIFR showing an encouraging improvement over the past four years. The group has recorded no fatalities for the second consecutive year. We will continue to work to embed a culture of uncompromising safety at all our operations.
The health and wellness of our employees is a key component of achieving our operational objectives. By reducing health and safety-related risks, we are able to support the overall health and well-being of our employees, which enables improved productivity. Prevention and managing of TB and HIV/Aids is an area of focus for the group. Employees diagnosed with lifestyle-related diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes, are regularly monitored and provided with educational programmes.
Through increased awareness programmes, the number of certified diabetes and hypertension cases have increased by 51.4% and 42.6% respectively. The number of HIV/Aids tests have reduced significantly following staff reductions in recent years.
Sporotrichosis is an infection caused by a fungus called Sporothrix Schenckii, which is prevalent in tropical and sub-tropical areas and can impact miners. Due to its weather conditions and wooden supports, Barberton Mines is the only operation where this disease is a risk and this risk is actively managed through the operation’s health and safety controls. During the year under review, four new cases of sporotrichosis were reported.
Our primary focus for the year ahead is to improve ongoing health and safety awareness programmes. We intend increasing these programmes through regular engagement and communication with employees at all operations. Given the success of the motivational speaker events at Barberton Mines, these will be expanded in the coming financial year at our operations.
We recognise that a healthy organisational culture starts at the top of our organisation. We will, therefore, focus on involving the group’s leadership in health and safety to a greater extent, effectively positioning these leaders and executives as role models in the group.