While progress continued to be made in improving the group’s long-term overall safety and health performance, two key targets – the long-term objectives of eliminating fatal accidents at work, and a 20% reduction in the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) – were not achieved.
Of great concern to the group is the fact that 34 employees lost their lives at work during the year under review. There were 27 fatalities in 23 separate incidents at the South African operations, four at Obuasi in Ghana, two at Morila in Mali, and one at Serra Grande in Brazil. The names and details of those who died are presented in memoriam below.
The board and management of AngloGold Ashanti extends its deepest sympathies to the families and colleagues of those who have died. It is the company’s sincere objective to eliminate accidents, especially fatal accidents at work, and a significant amount of effort and attention is being given to this. (See case study: A reinforced emphasis on safety – AngloGold Ashanti engages on a number of fronts).
Since 1999, all fatalities at AngloGold Ashanti operations have been the subject of an intensive review at corporate executive level, both to review the causes of the accident, and to hold a detailed investigation into the circumstances of the surviving spouse and children, and of the level of assistance that is required.
As a matter of policy, members of the management team of the mine together with union officials concerned attend the funerals of all employees killed on duty, irrespective of the distance or remoteness of the employee’s area of origin.
Compensation for the families of deceased mineworkers is payable in terms of the prevailing legislation in the country concerned, but, where necessary, interim financial support is provided to the family until such time as prescribed compensation or pension payment is available, with each individual case treated on its merits. Financial assistance with funeral arrangements is also offered to bereaved families.
The AngloGold Fatal Accident Education Fund, known as Masifunde (meaning ‘Let us learn’ in isiZulu) was established in 2000 and covers the cost of tuition, boarding and books at public schools for children of employees killed in mine accidents. Policy guidelines set out in the Fund apply to all AngloGold Ashanti’s operations, although, because of the statistical distribution of fatal accidents, focus is placed on the South African operations. Trade unions were extensively consulted before the Fund’s establishment, and they maintain an ongoing involvement.
|Name and age||Date||Operation||Occupation||Families|
|Valentine Bonsu Dadzie (34)||7 January 2007||Obuasi, Ghana||LHD operator||Mr Dadzie came from Anomabo, Ghana. He leaves his wife Paulina and four children.|
|Ramelani Evarista Motsoafi (57)||25 January 2007||Great Noligwa, South Africa||Stope driller||Mr Motsoafi came from Mafeteng, Lesotho. He leaves his wife Mamolebatsi and four children.|
|Setseke Mokete (44)||26 January 2007||Kopanang, South Africa||Rockdrill operator||Mr Mokete came from Teyateyaneng, Lesotho. He leaves his wife Matsekeli and four children.|
|Lempe Elia Raleting (46)||28 January 2007||Kopanang, South Africa||General equipping and construction team leader||Mr Raleting came from Mafeteng, Lesotho. He leaves his wife Mamotlatsi and seven children.|
|Joseph Zwelinjani Nqantswana (42)||6 February 2007||Kopanang, South Africa||Rockdrill operator||Mr Nqantswana came from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape. He leaves his wife Nofikile, and four children.|
|Sanele Mangali (44)||7 February 2007||Moab Khotsong, South Africa||Driller||Mr Mangali came from Umtata in the Eastern Cape. He leaves his wife Manyaoza, and 10 children.|
|Karim Haldara (33)||9 February 2007||Morila, Mali||Plant operator||Mr Haldara came from Massiqui Koulikoro, Mali. He leaves his wives Fatoumata and Salimata, and one child.|
|Adama Coulibaly (43)||9 February 2007||Morila, Mali||Plant operator||Mr Coulibaly came from Kati Koulikoro, Mali. He leaves his wife Mariam and five children.|
|Osei Kwame (46)||13 February 2007||Obuasi, Ghana||Shift boss||Mr Kwame came from Akoporiso Adansi, Ghana. He leaves his wives Margaret and Theresa, and eight children.|
|Norini Sombo (48)||14 February 2007||Savuka, South Africa||Scraper winch operator||Mr Sombo came from Maclear in the Eastern Cape. He leaves his wife Nozuka, and two children.|
|Nkosomntu Cuba (26)||6 March 2007||Mponeng, South Africa||Scraper winch operator||Mr Cuba came from Naqgeleni in the Eastern Cape. He leaves his wife Andiswa and one child.|
|Feliz Raul Matsinhe (48)||8 March 2007||Great Noligwa, South Africa||Underground assistant||Mr Matsinhe came from Inhambane, Mozambique. He leaves his wife Muanga and three children.|
|Moagi Masienyane (28)||12 March 2007||Moab Khotsong, South Africa||Section artisan||Mr Masienyane came from Orkney, North West Province.|
|Daniel Gyasi (46)||16 March 2007||Obuasi, Ghana||Blastman||Mr Gyasi came from Anyanberim, Ghana. He leaves his wife Margaret and four children.|
|Thabo Tseisa (38)||4 April 2007||Tau Lekoa, South Africa||Hydro-power driller||Mr Tseisa came from Butha Buthe in Lesotho. He leaves his wife Mamoliehi, and two children.|
|Marcos Lima Andrade (25)||8 April 2007||Serra Grande, Brazil||Heavy equipment operator||Mr Andrade came from Crixás, Brazil. He leaves behind his parents.|
|Tobias Hihangangeya Sehamage (39)||18 April 2007||Tau Lekoa, South Africa||Miner||Mr Sehamage came from Stilfontein, North West Province. He leaves behind one child.|
|Johanne Celias Gumede (45)||11 June 2007||Mponeng, South Africa||Stope team leader||Mr Gumede came from Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal. He leaves behind his wife, Agnes, and four children.|
|Mateisi Nkuebe (35)||20 July 2007||Moab Khotsong, South Africa||Loader operator||Mr Nkuebe came from Deliwe Tsatsane, Lesotho. He leaves behind his wife, Mamojabeng and three children.|
|Mokhejane Mongali (31)||20 July 2007||Moab Khotsong, South Africa||Team leader||Mr Mongali came from Berea, Lesotho. He leaves behind his wife, Makarabo and five children.|
|Alfred Tlotleng (51)||4 August 2007||Tau Lekoa, South Africa||Team leader||Mr Tlotleng came from Zeerust, North West Province. He leaves behind five children.|
|Bongisile Bhotomane (32)||6 August 2007||Savuka, South Africa||Stope multi-task crew member||Mr Bhotomane came from Ngqeleni, Eastern Cape. He leaves behind his wife, Nokwanda and one child.|
|Thabo Phakise (28)||6 August 2007||TauTona, South Africa||Miner||Mr Phakise came from Leribe, Lesotho.|
|Salvador Jaime Sitoe (28)||9 August 2007||Moab Khotsong, South Africa||Scraper winch operator||Mr Sitoe came from Chibuto, Mozambique. He leaves behind his wife, Anastancia and five children.|
|Tsholo Abram Moleko (37)||13 September 2007||TauTona, South Africa||Water jet operator||Mr Moleko came from Senekal, Free State. He leaves behind his wife, Seloane and two children.|
|Johannes Ntalimeng Mekhetha (41)||28 September 2007||Mponeng, South Africa||Stope team leader||Mr Mekhetha came from Machekoaneng, Lesotho. He leaves his wife, Maritaoke and six children.|
|Petros Mfanimpele Dlamini (39)||28 September 2007||Mponeng, South Africa||Mine assistant||Mr Dlamini came from Mbabane, Swaziland. He leaves his wife, Letsiwe and five children.|
|Taifis Andile Mabandla (33)||28 September 2007||Mponeng, South Africa||Scraper winch operator||Mr Mabandla came from Tsolo, Eastern Cape. He leaves behind his wife, Zuziwe and two children.|
|Bhekisani Mbuso Ntshangase (36)||28 September 2007||Mponeng, South Africa||Mining team member||Mr Ntshangase came from Nongomo, KwaZulu-Natal. He leaves behind two children.|
|Adams Alhassan (55)||3 October 2007||Obuasi, Ghana||Blastman||Mr Alhassan came from Upper West Region, Ghana. He leaves behind his wife, Ayishetu and six children.|
|Sekete Mako (47)||6 October 2007||Tau Lekoa, South Africa||Hydro-power driller||Mr Mako came from Mafeteng, Lesotho. He leaves behind his wife, Manakhala and five children.|
|Nicholas Sibiya (47)||9 October 2007||TauTona, South Africa||Shift boss||Mr Sibiya came from Carletonvile, North West Province. He leaves behind his wife, Goodness and three children.|
|Lebaka G. Makhanya (41)||31 October 2007||TauTona, South Africa||Stope multitask-crew member||Mr Makhanya came from Maseru, Lesotho. He leaves behind his wife, Malineo and six children.|
|Sefabatho Nkhooa (43)||2 November 2007||TauTona, South Africa||Scraper winch operator||Mr Nkhooa came from Quthing, Lesotho. He leaves behind his wife, Mahlalefang and one child.|
We are committed to providing a working environment that is conducive to safety and health.
From a governance perspective, safety and health is overseen by the Board Committee on Safety, Health and Sustainable Development. This committee meets on a quarterly basis in alignment with the company’s financial reporting periods. The committee’s role is to evaluate the safety, health, social, economic and environmental effects of the company’s operations on both local and global communities, and to achieve a sustainable balance between economic and social development with due regard to the safety and health of employees and the impact of AngloGold Ashanti’s operations on the environment. One of the stated primary objectives of this committee is to ensure the elimination of all work-related accidents and diseases.
Two new appointments were made to the committee during the year, namely that of:
The committee visits specific sites to become better informed on matters of serious concern. In addition to the four quarterly meetings held during the year, the committee undertook a site visit to TauTona mine in South Africa to better understand the issues and challenges relating to seismicity and falls of ground. A special meeting dealing only with safety was held on 25 June 2007, the purpose of which was to review and discuss possible causes of the declining safety trend that had presented over the five quarters prior to mid- 2007-which has resulted in unacceptable safety performance - to understand current safety initiatives and to debate and determine whether further interventions and/or improvements were required.
Core to the discussion were four identified primary causes for the deterioration in performance, namely:
While fatal accidents are almost always a consequence of a number of events or failures, of primary importance is the fact that the bulk of accidents – almost 70% – were as a result of non-compliance with standards. Also discussed was the review of the South African mines safety strategy (See case study: The seven pillars – a revised safety strategy for the South African operations). The outcomes of the committee’s deliberations during the year included the following:
In terms of managing health issues, another key appointment was made at the beginning of the year, with Dr Dave Barnes having been appointed to oversee occupational health risk assessment, auditing, monitoring and management at a group level. Also implemented at the instigation of the committee was: a process of monitoring ‘health at exit’ (which concerns itself with the high levels of employees exiting the company with an occupational disease or injury) and the management interventions underway to mitigate this risk; an audit of disaster recovery plans; the company’s preparedness in the event of avian flu (see the case study on Business continuity management – an update); and the incidence and management of hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). HAVS is an occupational injury caused by the vibration transmitted from work processes into workers’ arms and hands, which may have a chronic impact.
Overall, the group’s Safety and Health Policy, underpinned by our values and business principles relating to safety and health, remains the minimum guideline for the group in respect of safety and occupational health. Regions and operations are encouraged to develop their own specific principles, guidelines and policies in line with local conditions and legislation, examples of which are available below:
Performance reviews in respect of health and safety performance are undertaken on a regular basis, both internally and externally. In the event of a fatal accident, a formal review is undertaken by mine management, in conjunction with the unions (as is required by the Mine Health and Safety Act in South Africa). Also in South Africa, the DME undertakes an in loco inspection and an independent enquiry to which management and the unions contribute. Over and above this, however, all fatal accidents within the group are the subject of an intensive investigation by a corporate office team and received by the company’s Exco.
Risk assessments are conducted at both group and operational level, from the risks relating to the group as a whole to risks associated with specific working places, with the aim of understanding the potential safety and health risks that exist so that they may be eliminated or reduced to tolerable levels. Risk assessment may be conducted by or with the assistance of external consultants, by the group’s corporate office, by underwriters (for insurance purposes) or by the operations themselves.
The management of safety and health is the responsibility of line management, who in turn are supported by specialist safety and health personnel. Healthcare services (as a minimum, primary, emergency and occupational healthcare services) are provided to all employees at all operations and, in many cases, to their dependants.
We are committed to involving and consulting employees or their representatives on safety and health matters, to understand the issues and concerns on hand, to co-operate in addressing these and in generating solutions, and to gain mutual adoption of and commitment to implementation plans.
Safety and health agreements, which have been negotiated with representative unions, are in place at those operations where this is required by law and where union membership or collective bargaining agreements are in place. Around 93% of the groups global workforce is either a member of a recognised union or participates in a collective bargaining agreement, and hence participates directly in the management of safety and health through specifically created fora. Examples of safety and health agreements and practices in place at our operations are as follows:
At CC&V in the USA and at Sunrise Dam in Australia, where the operations are not unionised, employees are encouraged to participate in safety and health matters. A safety culture survey undertaken at Sunrise Dam provided valuable insight into the employee attitudes and perceptions about the management of safety and health. (See case study: Safety culture survey at Sunrise Dam creates a benchmark).
Based on the above, we are confident that mechanisms are in place to ensure that upwards of 75% of the total workforce is represented in formal joint management-employee safety and health committees that help monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programmes. This interaction takes place at a number of levels – section, shaft and operation as well as at national levels.
Employee involvement does not rely simply on the safety and health committees, or rule books, but on employees' deep understanding of safety and health issues on hand, being informed and educated on hazard identification, risk assessment and avoidance, personal empowerment in respect of their rights and responsibilities (to withdraw from the workplace if they feel they are in danger) and their active involvement in identifying solutions. Also key is the provision of appropriate training to ensure that employees are competent to carry out both their duties and their responsibilities safely. A wide range of safety training initiatives was undertaken by the various operations in 2007, and details of these may be found in the specific operational and country reports.
Contractors form an integral part of our operations and are employed to undertake specific short-and long-term mining and processing operations and specialist services. AngloGold Ashanti requires that contractors must act and be treated in the same way as employees and safety, and health matters are recognised as an important part of overall contractor management. The group’s safety policy, procedures, standards and requirements form an integral part of procurement and contractor engagement processes, and contractor safety and health performance is a key consideration when the company is considering the appointment or re-appointment of contractors.
We also recognise, however, that there is the potential short-term conflict between the attainment of production targets (and their reward) and risk avoidance and mitigation, particularly in respect of production bonuses. This is an issue under investigation and consideration. In reality, however, the best performing production teams also have the best safety records.
Fatigue management continued to be an area of focus during the year with fatigue management programmes being implemented across the group. (See case study on Roll-out of fatigue management programme).
|AngloGold Ashanti Brasil Minerãçao||0.00||0.00|
|AngloGold Ashanti Brasil Minerãçao||2.30||2.33|
A wide range of leading and lagging indicators are used to monitor and manage safety and health performance across the group. In addition to reporting performance on various parameters in line with country-specific legislation and norms, AngloGold Ashanti reports key indicators in line with best practice and has adopted a number of International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions. Leading indicators in particular may often be site- and circumstance-specific.
The number of fatal accidents (34) in 2007 declined year-on-year, from the 37 that were reported last year. The primary cause of fatal accidents was falls of ground, which accounted for 56% of all fatal accidents – 58% of these were related to seismic activity.
The Fatal Injury Frequency Rate (FIFR) was 4.5% lower year-on-year – at 0.21 per million man hours in 2007 compared with 0.22 per million man hours worked in 2006. Ten operations did not experience any occupational fatalities (13 in 2006).
In terms of another important indicator, the Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), there was again a regression year-on-year, with the overall group LTIFR rising by 7% to 8.24 per million man hours, from 7.70 reported in 2006.
The South African Mine Health and Safety Act, in Section 54, makes provision for an inspector (of the DME’s mine safety inspectorate) to close part or all of a mine should the inspector believe that any particular occurrences or conditions may endanger the health and safety of any individual on the mine.
In 2007, AngloGold Ashanti received 20 instructions in terms of section 54 to close part or all sections of our mining operations, following fatal incidents. Prior to May 2007, these orders were typically for the sections affected, whereas after May 2007 many of the instructions applied to the entire mine. This was in line with increased concern reported by the Chief Inspector following a spate of fatal accidents in the industry. In total, 38 shifts were lost as a result of section 54 orders, leading to lost production of some 55,500oz of gold. We take seriously our responsibility to protect the lives of employees and have comprehensively reviewed our safety strategy during the year. (See case study: A reinforced emphasis on safety.) We support the DME’s view that workplaces (sections or entire mines) need to be made safe prior to re-entering a mine or working area after an accident and that, in certain cases, employee re-training needs to be undertaken and mine planning and/or rock engineering protocols reviewed.
It is of concern to the company, however, that the issuing of a section 54 closure order in the absence of an in loco inspection is inappropriate or potentially hazardous. It is our view and the intention of the Act that such closures should always be undertaken to allow the mine to ensure that the appropriate safety standards are in place and have been implemented. Stopping work inappropriately or prematurely can in fact make a situation worse as it may have been necessary, for example, to review mine support, to deal with charged panels, to ensure that no hazardous gases are present or to avert the risk of water accumulation, prior to closure. Also, in some cases an accident may be the result of an exceptional incident that cannot be rectified through closure. Even when a mine closes for extended holiday periods, workplaces are specifically ‘made safe’ and a skeleton staff oversees maintenance. We have engaged with the DME and the various unions on this issue and are confident of reaching an appropriate solution that meets the objectives of all parties, while ensuring that employee safety remains the priority.
Occupational health threats to employees differ significantly from region to region, with the majority of occupational health risks presenting in deeper level, hard rock mining operations, particularly where the rock happens to be quartz-bearing and where mining is more labour-intensive.
While the potential for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) is present at all operations, occupational lung disease (OLD), and particularly silicosis, is a risk in the South African and Brazilian underground mines only. In South Africa, pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) in silica-exposed employees is classified and treated as an occupational illness. The risk of contracting TB is increased by both silica exposure (including silicosis) and HIV infection, with the risk of the two factors acting multiplicatively. HIV/AIDS and malaria, which are obviously not work-related but do present significant threats to the health and well-being of employees and communities, are dealt with under the Regional Health section of this report.
Medical surveillance for occupational illness, the extent and frequency of which is dependent on the risk profile presented by that operation and national legislation, is undertaken at all AngloGold Ashantis operations around the world.
Medical surveillance examinations typically take place when an employee joins the organisation, at intervals dependent on risk (often annual) and when he or she leaves or is transferred from the organisation.
In South Africa 51,065 occupational medical surveillance examinations were performed during 2007 (50,343 in 2006). Medical surveillance statistics from AngloGold Ashanti operations outside of South Africa are reported in the country and operational reports.
No new cases of occupational illness were reported in Brazil, Argentina, Australia or the USA. The company has determined, however, that occupational health practices and medical surveillance, at a number of the African operations, namely, (at Obuasi in Geita and Navachab in Namibia in particular) need to be improved and this will be a goal for 2008.
NIHL occurs over a period of time following consistent exposure to high levels of noise. Our hearing conservation programmes are underpinned by three features: engineering control the use of hearing protection devices and medical surveillance to detect any early loss of hearing.
In 1997, the South African operations embarked on a programme to muffle all pneumatic rockdrills and this was completed in 2001. Next was the programme to silence all noisy fans, which was completed in 2006. The programme is now targeting other noisy equipment and areas, such as air hoists, water jets and pressure-reducing valve stations. All South African employees undergo audiometric testing on an annual basis; this is undertaken at other operations where appropriate.
In 2007, 78 employees (2 per 1,000 employees) were compensated for NIHL, compared with 67 in 2006. Of even greater concern is the increase in the number of employees who have early NIHL (that is clinical hearing loss, but not yet significant or compensable), from 952 in 2004 to 1,511 in 2007.
Exposure to silica dust remains the major contributing factor in the development of OLD. (In this context OLD includes TB, TB silicosis and obstructive airways disease.) Of these, TB is the most pervasive and is compounded by a high HIV prevalence in the mining population, which greatly increases the risk of TB. It is estimated that about 85% of employees diagnosed with TB are HIV-positive. An additional factor contributing to the incidence of OLD is the increasing average age of the South African workforce, which has had a longer, cumulative exposure to silica dust underground. During 2007, 207 cases of OLD were identified in South Africa, which is a rate of 6 per 1,000 employees.
Silicosis is caused by the inhalation of free silica dust. This is of particular risk in underground mining areas with high quartz concentrations, such as in South Africa. Efforts to eradicate silicosis at the AngloGold Ashanti operations in Brazil have largely been successful. During the past five years only four cases have been identified – three in 2003 and one in 2006, all at the Cuiab? mine. In addition to successful dust control programmes and intensive monitoring, Brazilian legislation limiting the number of years that employees may work underground may have played a role in this achievement.
In prior years, we have reported on the number of cases compensated by the Medical Bureau for Occupational Diseases (MBOD), but the problems experienced by the MBOD reported last year (see Report to Society 2006: Worker compensation in South Africa under review ) have continued to the point that this measure has become unreliable. Instead the company will use the number of new cases of silicosis submitted to the MBOD for compensation to establish the silicosis burden and for management purposes.
In 2007, 462 new cases of silicosis were detected and submitted to the MBOD, an increase of 26% on the 367 new cases reported in the previous year.
The legacy of silicosis in South Africa remains a significant issue for the company. The current state-led compensation systems are cumbersome and inefficient and, because of this, many silicosis-affected former employees of the mining industry may not have had access to regular medical examination, substantial medical care or compensation if found to be due. AngloGold Ashanti, together with other gold mining companies Gold Fields and Harmony, is working with the State and unions to identify affected ex-employees in need of care and to improve access to follow-up treatment and compensation systems. (See case study: The former mineworkers project and making ODMWA work – one year on).
In October 2006, AngloGold Ashanti received a claim for compensation of damages allegedly suffered by Mr Thembekile Mankayi, who was employed by the company at Vaal Reefs mine from 1979 to 1995, in respect of his having allegedly contracted silicosis. AngloGold Ashanti has indicated that it intends defending this action as South African law provides for compensation for occupational disease. The company does recognise, however, the plight of former employees and proposes that a longer term and co-operative solution will be of greater benefit to former mineworkers and their communities. The case was set down for a hearing on 11 February 2008 and an initial outcome is expected in the first quarter of 2008.
The management of silica exposure within the South African operations has evolved over a number of years and is based on a hierarchy of controls, namely, engineering, administration, information and training and the use of personal protective equipment. (See case study: Intensified efforts to reduce dust levels at SA operations start to show results). Dust measurement methodology and its improvement are playing a significant role in guiding the company’s strategy. The fact that cases of silicosis are still being reported in South Africa despite continued adherence by the industry to regulation-prescribed occupational exposure limits led to the complete revision of AngloGold Ashanti’s methodology in 2005. This was later adopted by the South African DME in its ‘Guideline for a mandatory code of practice for airborne pollutants’.
Engineering controls require adherence to ventilation standards, effective watering down practices, water quality management and footwall treatment programmes. Air filtration upgrades are also in progress, along with the investigation of new and alternative technologies to be used in specific high-risk areas.
Administrative controls are crucially important (for example adherence to blast re-entry levels and individual employee shift duration) and training and education have an important role to play in this. The provision of personal protective equipment to employees working in high-risk areas (such as those involved in ore transport and tipping) is also crucial.
All South African employees exposed to silica dust undergo a chest X-ray every three years, along with a lung function test and clinical examination. Employees diagnosed with early stages of silicosis are referred to the medically affected employee programme (MAEP) where they are counselled and efforts are made to place them in lower-risk areas. In addition to these examinations, these silica-exposed employees undergo a six-monthly chest x-ray as part of the TB control programme.
Progress has been made by AngloGold Ashanti towards the agreed industry target, in terms of which 95% of all individual samples must be below the occupational exposure limit (OEL) of 0.1mg/m3* by 2008, but this has not yet been achieved. In 2007, dust measures showed that 93% of samples were below the OEL. (*Targets agreed by a tripartite body, the Mine Health and Safety Council.)
TB control is rigorous within the South African mining industry. Extensive information, education and training of employees is in place, with employees being well aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. An active case-finding programme, using six-monthly digital X-rays undertaken by mobile units at the shafts, currently detects about 40% of all new TB cases, often before they become symptomatic. Detailed investigation, admission to hospital until the risk of infection is past, and WHO-based Directly Observed Therapy (DOTS) at mine medical stations results in a cure rate higher than the WHO target of 85% being achieved. (See case study: TB management in South Africa.)
In 2007, 923 employees were diagnosed with TB, a rate of 27 per 1,000 employees (2006: 31 per 1,000 employees). This is the third consecutive year in which the TB statistics have improved. The Gates Foundation-funded Thibela programme is continuing, although it is too early to determine its impact on reducing the TB burden. (See the case study: Thibela TB research programme under way at TauTona and Great Noligwa in the Report to Society 2006).
Heat is an issue of concern at many operations, but particularly in South Africa and at Obuasi in Ghana. AngloGold Ashanti has comprehensive heat stress management programmes in place in South Africa and these have been extended to Ghana. Some of the largest refrigeration plants in the world are used to cool the underground working environment to below 27.5°C. Temperatures above 27.5°C require a heat stress management programme to be implemented in the mine.
Good progress has been reported with the improvement in ventilation at Obuasi following the implementation of a new ventilation strategy and the commissioning of a large-scale refrigeration plant. (See case study: Ventilation improvements yield success at Obuasi).
As, increasingly, the focus in occupational health management has shifted towards a holistic approach, addressing the overall health and wellness of employees, so the monitoring of medical absence, the reasons for the departure of employees for medical reasons, and of overall health at exit have become more important.
The overall absentee rate for employees in South Africa (for work and non-work related reasons) was 3.6% in 2007. The company’s MAEP ensures that employees who have medical conditions resulting in their being unable to continue in their current occupations are dealt with by a fair and transparent process. The primary aim of the MAEP is to place employees in occupations where they may continue to work safely and productively. In 2007:
Emergency preparedness plans are in place at all operations. Depending on the location and remoteness of the operations these plans may or may not involve community members. These plans are reviewed on a regular basis.
AngloGold Ashanti Annual Report 2007 – Report to Society