Safety

Safety
 
At Anglo American Platinum Limited we remain committed to our objective of “zero harm”. Our first value continues to be “We put safety first”. We believe that by remaining focused on it and “living” it on a daily basis we can achieve our goal of seeing every employee return home unharmed every day.  
 

EMPLOYEE SAFETY – OUR JOURNEY TOWARDS ZERO HARM

Overview of performance

We observed a steady decline in the number of fatalities over the past few years: from 25 in 2007, to 18 in 2008, 14 in 2009, and eight in 2010. Sadly, this downward trend did not continue in 2011. Despite our attention and commitment to safety, 12 people lost their lives while working at Anglo American Platinum Limited in 2011. We are acutely aware of the immense impacts of these tragic fatalities at our operations, and extend our sincere condolences to the families and colleagues of the people who died.

Four of the 12 fatalities were caused by falls of ground, three were the result of moving machinery, two occurred because of explosions, and one was a transport-related incident. One person was fatally injured by a falling object, and another while handling material.

Two fatalities occurred in December, both of which have been declared non-mine-related by the DMR. The first involved a suspected criminal act and the second was caused by a tyre replacement accident on a contractor vehicle on a public road.

Our system of independent investigations by specialist teams provides detailed reports on the underlying cause(s) of every fatal incident and is used to identify any circumstance likely to result in a disaster. Comprehensive action plans, structured around a hierarchy of controls, are developed to eliminate these underlying causes and pre-empt harmful situations. New technology is regularly investigated in order to find innovative solutions to any challenges identified. Despite our disappointment with our safety performance in 2011, we remain optimistic that our efforts to stop fatalities will yield the desired results in 2012.
 
The improvement observed in lost-time injury-frequency rate (LTIFR) in 2010 also did not continue. In 2011, it increased to 1.27 (from 1.17 the previous year). Even though there has been an improvement of 20% in injuries related to fall of ground, our major risk area, an increase in hand and slip-and-fall injuries resulted in the increase in LTIFR in 2011.   
 

Strategy

In the past Anglo American Platinum Limited's safety, health and environment (SHE) strategy was not clearly defined, with significant changes introduced mostly in reaction to setbacks. As a result of these limitations, it was decided to develop a more proactive and comprehensive SHE strategy. Based on historical data and the lessons learnt from past incidents, this was introduced in 2008. It has since remained consistent, although subjected to regular review and updates as new information becomes available and more lessons are learnt.

The strategy is based on four components: 
Management systems
Engineering and technological solutions
People and safety behaviour
Wellness in the workplace
 
No fatality is acceptable – in memoriam
It is with deep regret that we mourn the loss of 12 colleagues who died at our operations from work-related injuries in 2011. We are intensely aware of the impact each of these fatalities represents and extend our sincere and deepest sympathies to the families, friends and colleagues of those who died.

Each incident has been thoroughly investigated, to ensure that corrective action is taken and reoccurrence of the cause is prevented across the entire Group. 
Name Date of fatal incident Operation and location Direct cause of incident
Mr Bulelani Nongwejane 13 January Dishaba Mine Falling objects
Mr JD Drotsky 23 January Thembelani Mine Materials handling
Mr Tembalethu Sonney Ntampula 14 February Bathopele Mine Fall of ground
Mr Ramotlhware Justice Madikong 2 March Union Mine Transportation
Mr Ntobeko Jengese 1 April Thembelani Mine Fire/explosion
Mr Tainos Shumba 7 April Unki Platinum Mine Fall of ground
Mr Mbanja Ntlantla 1 June Bathopele Mine Other (loose clothing caught on machinery)
Mr Godfrey Itumeleng Vertein 30 June Khomanani Mine Moving machinery
Mr Mpoko Steven Lithakong 13 August Union North Mine Fall of ground
Mr Eduardo Calvino Chauque 10 September Khomanani Mine Fall of ground
Mr Petrus Kabelo Mokedi 6 October RBMR Fire/explosion
Mr Ramontsho Bernard Mfetane 18 October Tumela Mine Moving machinery
 

Management systems

Anglo American Platinum Limited's safety-management system creates a systematic framework for managing hazards and their associated risks, and complies with the requirements of the international OHSAS 18001:2007 standard.

The primary goal of the management systems remains to manage our major risks. Several software tools have been developed over time to make best use of the vast amounts of data and information available. In line with our realisation that line managers are ultimately responsible for the successful implementation of the strategy, these software tools have been used to generate information that assists line managers direct their attention and resources towards the most significant risks. A key endeavour in 2012 will be to align the existing software tools in order to supply information that is both easier to deal with and more consistent.

 Our drive to develop risk-management skills in the organisation was maintained in 2011. We remain committed to building capacity in this area and recognise fully the sustainable benefits to be gained from such skills. In 2011, the numbers of trainees were as follows: 
Risk training A1 2,700
Risk training A2 901
Risk training A3 214
An unexpected increase in the number of incidents and fatalities in mechanised mining has necessitated a full review of the mechanised mining approach at Anglo American Platinum Limited. Three key components – equipment, mining methods and staff competency – were examined to ensure that our strategies are aligned with best practice in risk reduction in mechanised mining.  
 

Engineering and technological solutions 

The second component of our safety strategy is engineering and technological solutions, which is intended to eliminate or reduce the risks associated with mining equipment. Because Anglo American Platinum Limited needs to ensure that all its systems are aligned with fast-moving enhancements in technology, and despite trying economic circumstances and the burden placed on the organisation’s change management by the implementation of these technical solutions, large investments were made in innovation and technology during the year under review.

Where possible, we responded quickly with measures and enhancements to prevent the reoccurrence of fatal and other incidents. An example was the stoppage of drop-raising activities across all our managed operations while we found an acceptable solution to the charging-up process involving inverted drop raises.

Leading-edge technology has been developed to eliminate collisions between locomotives operating underground. This is done by placing, at all potentially high-risk areas, beacons that slow the vehicles down automatically when they begin to come close to each other. Should the drivers not respond to slow-down warnings, the system brings the locomotives to a complete standstill before they can collide.  
 

Elimination of low-energy incidents 

A worrying trend in 2011 was an increase in hand and foot injuries caused primarily by the improper handling of materials. A range of tools has been developed to assist staff members handle materials safely.  
 

Silencing of equipment

In line with the 2013 industry milestones, the elimination of noise-induced hearing loss remains a priority for the Company. During 2011, significant progress was made in silencing all equipment emitting noise levels greater than 110 dBA. This resulted in more than 2,063 pieces of equipment being fitted with appropriate silencing apparatus or being redesigned. Efforts in this area will continue into 2012.  

People and safety behaviour

Although substantial progress was made last year in formalising safety systems and best practice across the organisation, it was realised that significant improvement was also needed in employees’ safety-related behaviour. A Group-wide value and culture survey was completed towards the end of 2011. An encouraging message from the survey was that the majority of Anglo American Platinum Limited employees believe that the Company is truly putting safety first.

A Company Safety Day was held on 3 November, during which Anglo American Platinum Limited's top leadership addressed all employees. In order to emphasise the Company’s message that any compromise on safety is unacceptable, the day’s events included the presentation of stories of successful behaviour change leading to improved safety in companies in various parts of the world; and the discussion of leading practices that are being developed globally regarding successful changes in safety behaviour. These learning opportunities are currently being formulated into a “Zero harm in action” intervention, aimed at encouraging every single employee to take ownership of the issue of safety at Anglo American Platinum Limited. 
 
Vehicles passing safely at Mogalakwena Mine
 
Engineered solutions
A significant danger at open-pit operations is the use of large haul trucks or heavy mining equipment (HME). The operators of these vehicles struggle to see the smaller vehicles sharing the roadways with them in the pit. Because of this, the latter face the constant threat of being run over by the large haul trucks, usually with disastrous results for the driver.
 
The human and financial consequences of such incidents are evident. In order to counteract both, Mogalakwena Mine has developed a safety technique that provides HME operators with a “seventh sense”. Based on both visual and audible feedback, it uses a simple short-distance radar to activate a four-camera system that enables the operator to see around his or her vehicle for a distance of up to 60 metres. Operators are more aware of their surroundings while manoeuvring around blind spots and are also constantly reminded to maintain a safe following distance.

Verbal feedback is given to each operator in a language of his or her choice. This ensures that operators understand the system’s verbal feedback and warnings regarding obstructions.

While drivers are still ultimately accountable for the safe operation of their vehicles, they now also have technological back-up to cater for any slips or lapses. This has resulted in enhanced safety and in reduced stress levels for everyone concerned!

Since the introduction of the “seventh-sense” system, there have been no collisions between HME and light vehicles at Mogalakwena. There has also been a significant decrease in the number of HME-to-HME collisions.

Anglo American Platinum Limited is proud of the Mogalakwena Mine team who took the initiative to develop a world-class system facilitating safe production. Part of the reason why the team succeeded so well is that it believes that safety systems should not be complicated, and that simple techniques are the best path to safety generally.

The approach is an example of the Company’s third safety principle: non-negotiable but simple standards. Anglo American Platinum Limited continually seeks ways to make it easier for its employees to create and embrace a safer work environment. An achievement such as this takes us one step closer to “zero harm”.
 

Wellness in the workplace

A key undertaking in 2011 was to make all employees aware of injuries and how to avoid them, including the prevention of harm before any work starts. Should any team or individual feel unable to deal with a potentially dangerous situation, they must move away from it and escalate the situation to the appropriate level. This was best demonstrated through the application of the A-B-S-P risk-response plan, in which teams are trained in different environments and taken through situations when it is mandatory to ask for help from managers and/or technical advisers. Our employees need to know that we do not expect them to work in unsafe conditions; and that they have the right to withdraw their labour if they believe they are being placed at risk.  
 

Safety focus in 2012

The SHE strategy will remain consistent to ensure maintained focus and a holistic approach. It is important, however, that every employee should understand his or her role in effectively implementing the strategy. To this end, its main aspects will be reviewed to ensure that it is both practical and easy to understand at all levels in the organisation. Recommendations from the review on mechanised mining will be acted on to ensure that we conform to best practice. “Zero harm in action” will be a key focus area of safety in 2012, so as to encourage compliance and foster employees’ sense of ownership regarding safety issues. 
 
Cynthia Carroll launching the “zero harm in action” programme at the Anglo American Platinum Limited Safety Day
 
Fifty thousand people gather to hear safety message
Anglo American Platinum Limited showed a dramatic improvement in safety performance between 2008 and 2010, with the latter year experiencing the best safety performance ever in the history of the Company. Sadly this trend failed to continue in 2011, when deterioration in safety performance was evident in both the number of fatalities and the injury-frequency rates for the year.
 
A tragic increase in fatalities among workers was experienced by most mining companies in South Africa during 2011. In a bold step aimed at uniting all stakeholders on the journey to its aim of “zero harm” in mining, Anglo American Platinum Limited took an active role in the health and safety protest march organised by the National Union of Mineworkers on 4 October 2011. This was the first time in South African history that unions and mining-house management had joined forces in a public march to show their commitment to improving safety performance at mining operations. All participants agreed that fatalities and injuries in mining had to be prevented at all costs; and that the safety and wellbeing of workers had to be foremost on everyone’s agenda.

Anglo American Platinum Limited recognises that significant change in an organisation’s safety culture can take several years to achieve, and remains focused on its commitment to its goal of zero harm. We believe that we will achieve this goal by adhering to our key policies and procedures, and showing our commitment at all levels of the organisation. It is essential though to continuously reassess programmes and systems to evaluate the effectiveness of these, and to continuously improve programmes in place.

A comprehensive review of the safety strategy and systems was undertaken in 2011. The results of the review showed, according to chairman Cynthia Carroll, that “our problem is not a lack of the right safety programmes, systems or standards. Our issue is that we do not implement these effectively and consistently. As a result, we continue to see too many deaths and injuries.”

The objective of the Anglo American Platinum Limited Safety Day on 3 November 2011 was to address all Company employees about concerns regarding safety performance. Production was halted for the day, and staff members were transported to central venues where they were addressed by Cynthia Carroll, CEO Neville Nicolau, and high-level delegates from workers’ unions and the Government. Every one of Anglo American’s operations observed a minute of silence to show solidarity with Anglo American Platinum Limited, and dedicated the day to safety programmes at the sites.

The CEO Safety Day also saw the launch of the “zero harm in action” programme. The focus of the programme will be compliance, and taking personal ownership of safety. Best practices globally have been identified and will be used as the basis for the new initiative.

While it is essential to continually evaluate and reassess the effectiveness of our programmes and systems, the progress we have made in respect of perfecting our formal controls is proven. Where we need to step up, therefore, is in making employees aware of the role each person plays in enhancing safe behaviour at work.

The importance of being part of a team is highlighted during difficult times; and it is only by working together as one team that we will achieve our goal of zero harm in Anglo American Platinum Limited and across Anglo American. Employees, contractors, unions, regulatory authorities and associates make up this team, and each of them has a role to play in achieving our goal of zero harm.