Sunrise Dam Gold Mine's commitment to health and safety was recognised in August 2004, when it received the National Minerals Industry Safety and Health Excellence Award (known as the MINEX trophy), acknowledged as the Australian mining industry's highest award for safety and health excellence.
Sunrise Dam Gold Mine, situated in Western Australia, produces 400,000 ounces of gold per year. Known reserves from the open and underground pits extend the likely life of mine to 2012 and beyond. The mine employs some 500 people, who are accommodated at the Sunrise Dam Village about eight kilometres from the mine's operations. This includes a significant number of contractors including Roche Mining (open cast pit), an indigenous mining company, Carey Mining and Barminco (underground operations) and ESS (catering).
The mine's commitment to health and safety has previously been recognised, when it received the Dick Fisher Global Safety Award, AngloGold Ashanti's annual international safety award, for their outstanding performance in 2003.
Health and safety efforts at the mine are steered by the Site Strategy Group, comprising key members of the management team and of contracting companies Roche, Barminco and ESS. ACTSAFE, which is the behavioural aspect underpinning the mine's current health and safety initiatives, was the brainchild of the Safety Strategy Group. ACTSAFE is based on a daily safety focus, which requires employees to check procedures, equipment and conditions, assess and report risks, hazards and incidents, attend safety meetings and perform or discuss an Act of Safety. Comments general manager Graham Ehm, "ACTSAFE's adaptability is a key part of its effectiveness. Departments and contractors have been empowered to interpret ACTSAFE and apply this in their own unique work environment. What is not allowed to change is the employees' unremitting focus on safety."
A cycle is followed in each of these areas, whereby intents and the necessary resources to achieve them are articulated, results are measured and possible future improvements agreed.
An audit of the mine's Site Safety Plan is conducted each year through SafeGold, a 36-element risk management system introduced in 2001 by an external certified auditor. Sunrise Dam's improvement can be seen in the continuous improvement results from the audit. In 2004, the score was 81%, up from 76% in 2003.
A feature of the mine's approach is the emphasis given to the participation of contractors in all aspects of health and safety. Contractors' safety management systems are extensively reviewed as part of the tendering phase and during operations, and all contractors are evaluated on safety and health issues. Management on site has been known to suspend the operations of contractor companies for poor safety compliance. Contractors working with ACTSAFE at Sunrise Dam have found the system so effective that they have adopted it within their wider operations both nationally and internationally.
Safety and health are included in the job descriptions of all employees, permanent and contractor, and the annual performance appraisal reinforces people's understanding of their roles and responsibilities. All job advertisements refer to the importance of safety.
Continuous improvement is part of the equation. Each year's Site Safety Plan incorporates improvement targets for the next twelve months. All departments report, in quarterly reviews and presentations, on the progress of their safety initiatives against plan. "The ACTSAFE behavioural tool works to turn plans into performance," says Ehm. "It engages employees in our positive safety culture that includes no-blame reporting and encourages open communication."
Check conditions before a
Sustain a positive
Environment and safety
|The mine's safety strategy focuses on six key areas:
|Leadership (at corporate and site level)
|Safety and health management
|Information and analysis
|Safety and health processes