Safety and health
ELIMINATING OCCUPATIONAL INJURIES
The safety and health of our employees are among our most important business considerations and we are committed to creating the safest possible working environment for employees, in line with our core business strategy. We have made significant progress in improving safety and health performance since 2008. We aim to continue these improvements in line with our long-term goal of operating a business free of occupational injury and illness and our fiveyear objective of reducing our all injury frequency rate (AIFR) to less than nine per million hours worked.
AIFR is the total number of injuries per million hours worked, including fatalities. We use it as a key measurement of performance because it is consistent with our long-term goal of eliminating all occupational injuries.
Included in these figures is a reduction of occupational fatalities by 56% since 2007 and fatality rates by 57% over the same period.
Regrettably, however, we continue to experience fatalities at our operations. We record with sadness the loss of 15 colleagues in operational accidents in 2011.
At Great Noligwa in South Africa
- Mr Petrose Mohapi on 10 January
At the South African regional services
- Mr Michael Khabo on 2 February
At Mponeng in South Africa
- Mr Lance Phiri on 27 May
- Mr Thinavhiyo Amos Malitsha on 11 August
At Moab Khotsong in South Africa
- Mr Mohale Ignatius Selepe on 18 August
At Kopanang in South Africa
- Mr Wikus Pretorius on 31 August
- Mr Bheki Eric Gama on 10 October
- Mr Francisco Cuamba Bata on 30 November
- Mr Vikizitha Gama on 3 December
At Obuasi in Ghana
- Mr Owusu Afriyie Osei on 4 February
- Mr Clement Barkson on 3 November
- Mr Thomas Donsung on 11 December
At the greenfields exploration site in Eritrea
- Mr Daniel Tekle on 19 June
At the Cuiabá mine in Brazil
- Mr Rodrigo de Paiva on 27 June
At Gramalote in Colombia
- Mr Juan Ferney Cardona Hincapie on 21 November
The foundation for continued improvement in safety performance will be the ongoing implementation of safety transformation into our operating system. Design and implementation of the safety transformation programme with this objective has been underway since mid-2008 and deals with the concepts of physical risk (injuries), health (illnesses) and wellbeing. Safety transformation recognises that a safe and healthy business is a more productive one, but more importantly, safety transformation is about valuing people and ensuring that we place priority on people’s lives, physical security, health and wellbeing.
Achieving our safety goals requires a maturation of our safety culture, where tone and direction are set by leaders who engage and motivate people to give their best, and who shape organisational and safety systems which enhance the ability of employees to manage risk effectively.
At Cerro Vanguardia, in Argentina, this safety capsule has been introduced to use in the case of disaster. The unit is stocked with long life water, food and oxygen. It also has a communication and air link to the surface
Strategic focus areas
We have identified three strategic themes for safety transformation – engaging people, building the right systems and managing risks effectively. These are translated into action through the safety framework (in this context safety includes both safety and health considerations).
The framework clarifies the relationship between policy, strategies, standards, guidelines, procedures, regional and operational approaches and the monitoring and measuring of performance as we strive to achieve continuous improvement in performance.
The rationale for our approach is based on our understanding of how various industries have evolved through embracing safety as a business value. In their evolution, they went through four clear stages of leadership – positioning safety as a business imperative, managing processes to reduce variability and deliver consistent performance, re-engineering processes to find better and safer ways to do work and introducing technical innovations to remove people from risk.
This is the path which AngloGold Ashanti seeks to pursue, and is consistent with the Project ONE organisational change initiative.
In our 2010 report, we noted that we would continue implementation of safety transformation through:
- Completion of guidelines by mid-2011 to support roll out of the global safety standards;
- Implementation of a new model and process for accident investigation;
- A review of organisational safety capabilities; and
- Development of operational safety plans to business unit teams.
We made progress against these objectives in 2011 by:
- Finalising our global safety policy and safety standards;
- Completing several of the guidelines supporting the standards;
- Completing safety strategies for all of AngloGold Ashanti’s operating regions, and commencing roll out of these strategies to the various operations; and
- Developing and deploying globally a new incident investigation process based on a model widely regarded as best practice in various industries. The objective of this system is to enable the organisation to learn from incidents and manage them more proactively. The system includes modules relating to incident investigation and analysis. Revised incident investigation procedures have been put in place reflecting our view that incidents generally have multiple and sometimes complex contributing factors at an individual, workplace and organisational level.
“ WMRS (the incident management system) has turned out to be a very useful system for incident recording. It is a programme that fosters heightened hazard awareness and provides management a tool to record observations and monitor their progress toward resolution.”Larry Snyder, Safety Manager at CC&V mine
To support the roll out of safety and health strategies, operations were also provided with defined safety technical training which incorporates the new approaches and clarifies their context and application.
Ongoing work includes the development of the remaining guidelines, and the development of a performance monitoring, review and assurance system, as outlined in the safety framework.
In the area of health, we continue to manage several key areas of risk, including:
- Occupational health exposures, particularly occupational lung disease (OLD), primarily silicosis and occupational tuberculosis at our South African operations; and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
- HIV/AIDS, particularly in the South Africa region.
- Malaria, in certain areas of our Continental Africa region.
We are working towards the following objectives:
- Continuous progress towards the industry milestone of no new cases of silicosis among previously unexposed employees at South African operations (2008 onwards) after December 2013.
- In South Africa, maintaining occupational tuberculosis (TB) incidence at below 2.25% among South African employees and reducing it to below 1.5% by 2029. Successfully curing 85% of new cases.
- Meeting the industry milestone of no deterioration in hearing greater than 10%, from a 2008 baseline, among occupationally-exposed individuals at South African operations.
- Rolling out integrated malaria programmes, based on the highly-successful model implemented at Obuasi in Ghana; at operations in Mali, Tanzania and Guinea.
These targets relate primarily to the South Africa and Continental Africa regions of the company and progress against them is set out in the sections that follow.
There were no reported incidences of occupational disease in the Americas region in 2011, and occupational health surveillance programmes are in place at all operations. The development of occupational health surveillance systems in Colombia was undertaken in the fourth quarter of 2011, and a baseline health survey has been scheduled as part of the La Colosa plan.
No occupational health issues arose in the Australian region in 2011. Noise and dust monitoring programmes are maintained as per statutory requirements. The key focus on health management is around lifestyle health management and ‘fit for work’ strategies.
Occupational health exposures
The reduction of silicosis requires active dust management strategies in underground operations, particularly in South Africa where the number of cases reported each year remains high (263 in 2011). We have reduced dust exposure consistently since 2006 and maintain higher sampling rates than those prescribed by legislation. In 2011, we progressed two major initiatives designed to reduce dust exposure, the introduction of centralised blasting at our Vaal River operations and the introduction of sidewall treatment for dust (an extension of existing footwall treatment measures).
Centralised blasting is due to commence at the end of the first quarter of 2012 and will be in place at all of our Vaal River operations by mid-2012. Sidewall treatment technology is being piloted and, if successful, will be rolled out from 2012.
Ongoing execution of dust management strategies has resulted in a significant reduction in respirable crystalline silica, with 0.74% of samples exceeding the Occupational Exposure Limit (OEL) of 0.1mg/m³, well below the industry target of 5%.
It has also contributed to a 43% reduction in silicosis cases, from 459 cases submitted to the Medical Board for Occupational Diseases of South Africa (MBOD) in 2010 to 263 in 2011.
It is still too early to assess progress against the industry milestone of no new cases of silicosis among employees at South African operations by 2013 (among individuals unexposed prior to 2008). No cases of silicosis have been reported among this group to date. However, the latency period of the disease is typically 10-15 years.
In previous reporting, including in our 2010 Sustainability Report, we referred to the legal action instituted against AngloGold Ashanti in 2006 by a former employee, Mr Thembikile Mankayi, claiming damages allegedly suffered as a result of silicosis.
The case was heard in the High Court of South Africa in June 2008, and an appeal heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal in 2010. In both instances, judgement was awarded in favour of AngloGold Ashanti on the basis that an employer is indemnified against such a claim under existing legislation. A further appeal lodged by Mr Mankayi was heard in the Constitutional Court in 2010 and judgement handed down on 3 March 2011. The Constitutional Court held that the relevant section of the legislation does not indemnify the employer against such claims.
Mr Mankayi passed away prior to the Constitutional Court appeal. His executor may proceed with his case in the High Court, which will require, among others, providing evidence that Mr Mankayi contracted silicosis as a result of negligent conduct on the part of AngloGold Ashanti.
The company will defend the case and any subsequent claims on their merits.
Linked to both silica dust exposure and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, occupational tuberculosis remains a significant threat. However health programmes in place have delivered good results, including a 31% reduction of rates over 2010, and a 50% reduction from 2004 levels. The incidence of occupational tuberculosis (TB) among employees in South Africa in 2011, at 1.8%, was below the 2015 target of 2.25%, a result of sustained dust control measures, HIV testing and counselling programmes and antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Monitoring and early treatment of TB have also been improved with the introduction of mobile x-ray screening at South African operations. Cure rates are currently in excess of 90% against our target of 85%.
We continue efforts to combat NIHL. In 2011, initiatives in South Africa focused on the silencing of equipment and the use of moulded hearing protection devices. The incidence of NIHL remained unchanged over 2010, with a marginal increase in the number of cases, from 64 in 2010 to 69 in 2011. It is still too early to assess progress against the industry milestones. However, we anticipate being able to do so in our 2012 report.
In Obuasi, in Ghana, a review of the hearing conservation programme has been undertaken and the measures outlined below have been put in place:
- Substitution of equipment, primarily drills used in development areas underground. As part of the equipment replacement strategy, equipment conforming to the Continental Africa region standards will be purchased.
- Engineering controls: all ventilation fans in critical areas contributing to the noise load have been identified and are being silenced. As at 31 December 2011, 75% of old fans had been fitted with silencers.
- Administrative Controls: awareness creation started immediately after baseline monitoring. Daily safety talks and ‘back from leave inductions’ are being used extensively in awareness creation.
- Personal Protective Equipment: hearing protection devices (HPD) have been standardised. Improved information, education and communication sessions have led to an improvement in HPD consumption of over 245% between 2010 and 2011.
The ‘Centro de Referencia’ at AGA Mineração in Brazil specialises in the treatment of silicosis. Silicosis has now been eliminated at our operations in Brazil. However, former employees who are affected are treated at the clinic
Our fundamental strategy in combating HIV/AIDS among employees in our South Africa region continues to yield encouraging results. We have maintained communications and awareness programmes as well as voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) initiatives and provide wellness programmes to affected employees and antiretroviral therapy (ART) to employees for whom this treatment is clinically indicated. We are moving towards an integrated approach to the management of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, in line with public health strategy in South Africa. At the West Wits operations, for example, we relocated HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis clinics to a single site in 2011, facilitating access to both by affected employees.
At the end of 2011, 4,506 employees were attending wellness clinics at our South African operations and 2,378 employees were receiving ART. The incidence of aids-defining illnesses has decreased significantly since the introduction of ART treatment. It now stands at 0.66 cases per 1,000 employees, in comparison to 5.1 cases per 1,000 employees in 2004. ART programmes were first rolled out at AngloGold Ashanti operations in 2003.
The Obuasi Malaria Control Programme remains highly successful and has achieved a sustained reduction in the malaria incidence. 1,084 cases were recorded at Obuasi in 2011, a reduction of 18% from 2010.
In 2009, AngloGold Ashanti was nominated as the principal recipient of a grant of $138m from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The project will cover 40 districts in Ghana and will be based on the integrated malaria control model implemented at Obuasi. Work on the project began in July 2011, following successful resolution with the Ghanaian authorities of taxation issues relating to the grant. Spraying began in January 2012.
In 2011, we worked towards the objective of rolling out the highly-successful model implemented at Obuasi to other affected sites in our Continental Africa region. Malaria control programmes at these sites were reviewed as part of regional health services assessments, to provide the information required to support a more systematic approach to the roll-out.
Our sites in Mali were the first sites to implement the recommendations of the review. A malaria vector study was undertaken at the Sadiola and Yatela mines in Mali during 2011 and the team from Obuasi in Ghana scrutinised the results to assist the site in developing programmes further. In 2012 we will be working on establishing targets on malaria at affected operations.
We also undertook a mosquito resistance survey at our exploration site in Mongbwalu in the DRC as part of health baseline studies at that site and to inform decisions on the types of insecticides to be used in indoor residual spraying.