Employee safety

Safety is our first priority

Throughout the year we have continued to improve our safety performance across our global operations. The board has provided leadership ensuring that safety remains AngloGold Ashanti’s first priority and the Social, Ethics and Sustainability Committee is rigorous in overseeing the safety strategy. We pursue and adapt strategies in line with recognised leading practice in global safety standards and systems. These processes underpin our 2030 goal of providing workplaces free of injury and harm for our employees and contractors.

Through the involvement of Senior Managers in the setting of safety practices and giving ownership of our group safety and health standards, guidelines and procedures to our individual operations, we have seen a growing acceptance of accountability at site level. As a result, we have made significant progress towards our goal.

As we work to achieve our goal, we can never be complacent, but there are achievements we should be proud of. By the end of the year, Mponeng mine achieved its best-ever injury rate and recorded one-year fatality free. Operations in the Continental Africa Region presented their best-ever all injury frequency rates (AIFR) and in Australia, Tropicana mine was a finalist in the 2019 Western Australia Work Health and Safety Excellence Awards. Tropicana also achieved its best-ever AIFR.

This is a significant step change, highlighting the progress that can be made through company-wide focused initiatives and an integrated safety strategy. Our AIFR improved by another 31% year-on-year, to the lowest level on record. We also passed 20 months fatality free at the end of 2019 for the first time.

This progress is the cumulative impact of a number of interventions over several years, the most recent of which was our 2015 strategy, designed with operating teams across our footprint alongside representatives from the executive committee, management and employees.

To ensure that our strategy remains relevant and focused, we re-assess its safety-related components on a global level every two years, and involve safety leadership teams from across the business in that process. This approach provides a platform for the development of uniform safety goals while also allowing operational involvement in realising them. We assess our processes by looking at risk management, technology and innovation, leadership, people and work processes.

Our safety and health system standards are reviewed and audited every two years in line with ISO 45001:2018. We have seen solid improvements in their compliance to those standards across the company. Our Major Hazard Control Standards were first developed in 2016 and revisited again in 2018. These are mandatory standards and continue to enhance our control regime, incorporating technical innovations designed to make our working environments safer.

The final step in embedding the Major Hazard Control Standards was defining mandatory critical controls and the monitoring capability to proactively identify deviations. Examples include detection systems on vehicles and locomotives, innovative solutions for otherwise hazardous tasks and tele-remote drilling operations. The use of technology means a reduced margin for human error and less human exposure.

We have also continued reporting high-potential incidents – these are defined as incidents that have an actual or potential consequence of loss of life or permanent disability – enabling us to record and analyse the incidents that could have led to fatalities. We will continue to analyse the causes of these near misses and critical control failures. We are learning from this information and incorporating these learnings into our safety systems and standards to prevent any recurrences.

We also adhere to global standards and are rolling out ISO 45001:2018, which has replaced the OHSAS 18001:2007 series. All our sites are currently OHSAS 18001:2007 certified and three operations, Sunrise Dam, Siguiri and Geita, have already converted to the ISO 45001:2018 standard.

As a member of the ICMM, AngloGold Ashanti adheres to the Council’s global guidelines and practices. We were also involved in the drafting of the ICMM’s Fatality Prevention: Eight Lessons Learned publication.

We will again assess our safety strategies across the business in 2020. We will continue to work towards workplaces free from injury and harm while acknowledging the progress that has been made.

Indicator 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015
All injury frequency rate (per million hours worked)
Continental Africa0.620.490.390.510.50
South Africa6.610.2512.6812.0210.81
Fatal injury frequency rate (per million hours worked)
Continental Africa00.
South Africa00.
Lost time injury frequency rate (per million hours worked)
Continental Africa0.310.
South Africa5.358.2110.089.628.63
Injury severity rate (per million hours worked)
Continental Africa1793312
South Africa316538582547550
Occupational fatalities (Number of fatalities)
Continental Africa00001
South Africa02769
High potential incidents (HPI)

Prioritised SDG

  • 3.6. By 2030, halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents.

  • 3.9. By 2030, substantially reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination.