What we did in 2019
Safety remains AngloGold Ashanti’s priority, and together with providing healthy workplaces and maintaining employee health and well-being, is a key material issue. We pursue and adapt safety and health strategies in line with recognised leading practice in global safety and health standards and systems. These strategies underpin our 2030 goal of providing workplaces free of injury and harm.
Embedding and integrating safety and health into the business and into the Operational Excellence programme is an ongoing process. This work included mapping and translating ISO 45001 (replacing OHSAS 18001) concepts into work processes to ensure that methods, such as approaches to risk management, are aligned across the group. The move to ISO 45001, which is based on the conventions and guidelines of the International Labour Organization, strengthens internal safety assurance processes and included reviews of internal safety standards and practices, along with the assessment of protocols used. Alignment with ISO 45001 was completed in early 2019. Three operations have received ISO 45001 certification – Sunrise Dam in 2018 and Geita and Siguiri in 2019. Other operations will be working toward ISO 45001 certification over the next two years.
Our safety performance
Our safety performance across our operations continued to improve in 2019. By the end of the year, Mponeng had achieved its best-ever injury rate and had been fatality free for one year. Operations in the Continental Africa region presented their bestever all injury frequency rates (AIFR) and in Australia, Tropicana also achieved its best-ever AIFR and was a finalist in the 2019 Western Australia Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards. This is a significant step change, highlighting the progress that can be made through Company-wide focused initiatives and an integrated safety strategy. Our group AIFR improved by 31% year-on-year to the lowest level on record. We also passed a calendar year without a fatal accident for the first time, and by the end of 2019 had recorded 633 days without a workplace death. This progress is the cumulative result of numerous safety interventions over many years. Regrettably post year end in March 2020, we had two seismicrelated incidents resulting in four fatalities, see <South Africa region>.
Our health performance
Our strategic focus is moving beyond ‘do no harm’ to one underpinned by a desire to actively improve, where possible, the environments in which we operate. During 2019, we reviewed our health strategy. Work plans were created to facilitate line management ownership of employee and community health. In addition to driving productivity and improving employee wellbeing, this is an important aspect of long-term risk management.
To better address occupational health issues, we are pursuing a preventative approach rather than being reactive. ‘Predictive leading indicators’ targeting reductions in occupational exposures are now included in our operational key performance indicators to help us identify problem areas and address them proactively. Occupational health hazard programmes designed to deal with occupational exposures such as airborne pollutants and noise are to be introduced at Obuasi in Ghana and Geita in Tanzania, as these mines move underground. Risk assessments have been expanded to include both occupational and non-occupational environments.
We educate and raise awareness on the prevention and treatment of communicable diseases such as malaria, HIV and Ebola, and other priority health issues. Non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, diabetes and other life-style related conditions, the biggest health issues globally, are of particular concern. Mental health is also an important risk worldwide and our operations are currently establishing systems to adequately assess this issue. The proposed sale of our South African assets will alter the group’s health profile, as currently most of our occupational disease issues, such as silicosis and noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), are found in our South Africa region. Covid-19 has become a major focus area in relation to employee well-being, with measures having been put in place to prevent, contain and manage its spread, as detailed under Managing our risks and opportunities, page 20 of the <IR>. The situation is monitored continuously.