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Health, Safety & Wellness

Our promise that “if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine” stands. We remain determined to demonstrate that gold mining, whether carried out above ground or below ground, can be carried out at less risk to employees, bearing in mind that mining has inherent risks to health and safety. We will continue to work towards minimising these risks.

All our regions are required to have health, safety and wellness strategies and associated action plans in place. The strategies and plans include the following key elements:

  • Occupational safety
    - Occupational Hygiene
    - Occupational Medicine
  • Occupational health
    - Lifestyle
  • Community Health & Wellbeing
  • Safety
  • Structures and Resourcing
  • Reporting

Safety

Gold Fields continues to uphold its promise, “if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine”. This reflects the need to minimise any potential negative impact on people, maintain operational continuity and protect the Company’s reputation. Gold Fields’ Group annual performance bonus contains a 20% safety component. Furthermore, maintaining safe and healthy working conditions is a key compliance issue for the Company.

As stated in its Occupational Health and Safety Policy, Gold Fields strives for ‘Zero Harm’ at all of its operations – and to minimise occupational health and safety hazards. All of the Group’s operations are now certified to the OHSAS 18001 international health and safety management standard. This follows the 2014 certification of Granny Smith and Darlot – both of which were acquired from Barrick Gold in Q4 2013. The Lawlers mine, also acquired from Barrick, was certified through its merger with Agnew. In addition, all Gold Fields operations are now fully compliant with the requirements of the International Cyanide Management Code (ICMC).

All of Gold Fields’ regional operations are required to implement health, safety and wellness strategies, together with associated action plans. These address:

Occupational safety
Occupational health
Employee wellness
Community health and wellbeing

In addition, these strategies and action plans define relevant management structures, resource allocations and reporting requirements.

(More details view: 4.3.1)

Health and Wellness

All operational employees are subject to entry and exit medical assessments – and in certain operations, employees also undergo annual medical assessments that aim to prevent, identify and treat occupational diseases. These assessments, which are – at a minimum – aligned with the legal requirements of each operating jurisdiction, focus on operation and role-specific health risks. Employees are also offered quantitative, confidential health risk assessments. These not only address occupational diseases, but also general health and lifestyle issues such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, diet and mental health.

In 2014, the number of occupational health cases submitted for compensation was as follows:

13 cases of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL) (2013: 8)
15 cases of Silicosis (2013: 12)

We await a final outcome of the assessments that are conducted as a matter of course by the Medical Bureau for Occupational Disease (MBOD) and the Rand Mutual Association (RMA), which will determine the final number of cases accepted.

In 2014, 49 new cases of cardiorespiratory tuberculosis (CRTB) (2013: 42) were recorded. This increase can be attributed to the fact that during the year South Deep enhanced its efforts to identify CRTB cases. There was therefore an increase in the total number of patients screened, and the final number of CRTB cases identified.

Wellness is a material issue given the location of Gold Fields’ mines, the nature of employees’ working patterns and the lifestyle challenges associated with the sector. All of Gold Fields’ regions run dedicated wellness programmes, tailored to both the national and local context of each mining operation. These programmes aim to identify and manage chronic medical conditions within the workforce – whilst also maximising its productive capacity and reducing absenteeism.

(More details view: 4.2)