Maintaining a healthy workforce promotes productivity and reduces health risks. An effective health management system is therefore a priority.
Occupational Medical Surveillance Programme
Medical surveillance is a legal requirement of the MHSA and OHSA and conducted on all our operations as identified and specified in the applicable mandatory COP based on the DMR guideline, DMR 16/3/2/3-A1 Minimum Standards of Fitness to Perform Work at a Mine. It is used to identify trends in health deterioration potentially as a result of occupations or work environments including individual health issues. The information gathered plays an important role in mitigating risks. At Keaton Energy, surveillance is currently outsourced to third parties. At financial year-end our occupational healthcare service providers were Ganala Kriel Occupation Health and Wellness Centre at Vanggatfontein and Occu-sure at Vaalkrantz. Our occupational health clinics and medical surveillance programmes receive consistently positive ratings during regular DMR audits.
All mine employees, both permanent and contract, undergo a medical examination when they join the group and periodically during their service at Keaton Energy. Key occupational health indicators are then continually monitored through regular wellness checks. On leaving the group, all employees undergo an exit medical.
We further provide regular health briefings, which encourage employees to be vigilant about conditions that could affect their own or their colleagues’ safety and health. We provide information on the implications of exposure to various workplace risks and educate employees on measures to maintain good health. All members of the workforce are encouraged to test for chronic diseases and those on chronic medications are frequently reminded to take their prescribed medication. The occupational clinics provide both a hypertension and diabetes awareness programme.
Noise induced hearing loss and occupational lung diseases are prevented through technical engineering programmes aimed at suppressing noise and dust in the workplace, the provision of protective equipment and ongoing employee education and involvement.
Employees diagnosed with TB are managed according to the national health guidelines and may continue to work in their normal positions once they are non-infectious. If diagnosed with a TB infection, the employee is required to remain off duty for two weeks and is removed from underground work until the Occupational Medical Practitioner deems him/her fit for duty following a further diagnostic X-ray. Treatment is administered by local clinics and the DOTS strategy is implemented. TB affected employees also receive nutritional support. All TB cases are investigated in terms of section 11.5 of the MHSA.
Our HIV/Aids management strategy is in line with national DMR and Department of Health guidelines as well as current best practice. A voluntary counselling and testing programme is in place at Vanggatfontein. The occupational health clinics on the mines offer pre-HIV and post-HIV test counselling, ongoing HIV counselling and monitoring of CD4 counts and viral loads on a monthly basis. HIV-positive employees are referred to local clinics for monthly anti-retroviral medication. HIV-positive employees also receive treatment for opportunistic infections and immunisations (flu vaccinations) as well as nutritional support. Employees are encouraged to disclose their status to their partners.
Due to the remote location of Vaalkrantz and as part of our community social investment, the mine’s clinic provides primary healthcare services to all employees and contractors working on the mine.
Occupational Health Programme
Both Vaalkrantz and Vanggatfontein employ occupational hygienists.
Occupational health exposure risk assessments are conducted and a health risk register developed for occupational exposures on an annual basis. Monitoring is conducted by the appointed occupational hygienists.
The required mandatory COPs were reviewed during the year. These mandatory COPs are revised every two years and are updated accordingly.
Occupational hygiene sampling, testing and monitoring is performed on a frequency as identified and specified in the health register, with quarterly, six monthly and annual reports submitted to the DMR in accordance with the MHSA.
We further provide regular health briefings with various related topics being discussed at weekly toolbox talks.