Communication specialist for semiliterate audiences Jincom says it aims to assist in improving the mining safety statistics in 2013 by educating and uplifting workers in South Africa’s mining industry.
“Jincom’s communication solutions aim to improve the health and safety behaviour among workers in South Africa’s mining industry. The industry faces a huge communication challenge owing to differing literacy levels and multilanguage environments amongst its stakeholders,” states Jincom MD Tom Peacock.
“Apart from creating an unsafe operating environment, poor communication can also cause worker unrest and unhappiness, as workers are unaware of, or do not understand, their employment rights, financial benefits and rewards,” he notes, reflecting on the labour unrest in the industry in the recent past.
Impala Platinum has reported to the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) that, while the numbers for illiterate miners at fellow miner Lonmin’s Marikana mine, where a situation of labour unrest in 2012 resulted in multiple fatalities, were not available, it estimates that about 43% of its own employees are illiterate.
This means that they cannot read the health and safety signage or the first aid, health and safety manuals, notices and literature, the RCIT notes.
Jincom states that it can assist the mining industry in dealing with this communication challenge by offering a solution that takes complex or onerous content and breaks it down into simple illustrations, making the key messages engaging and easily disgestible. Examples include a two-page comic and animations.
Currently, Jincom’s major focus is on the health and safety industry, with a growing interest from mining companies such as Anglo American, Anglo Platinum, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony and Platmin.
“Our strength is in getting the pictures to do all the work, thus eliminating the need for complex copy. “Jincom can present health and safety information to low-level literacy audiences and uses its communication materials to cross language and cultural barriers.
“We provide a plug-in solution for any organisation that needs to convey content to its stakeholders. While our work is creatively strong with expert consultation, we strive to ensure our material gets into the hands of the targeted audience through thoughtful distribution, follow-up and feedback.” Peacock notes.
He adds that Jincom’s customised communication solutions also assist the health and safety industry by communicating key health risks, such as the spread of illnesses like HIV, TB and silicosis.
“We create content that illustrates the symptoms of diseases, such as TB, and also explain the process of how a worker can acquire, and also avoid, a disease.”
In addition, a major request from mines is that Jincom assists in communicating health and safety standards, enabling miners to easily comprehend these complex issues through a tailored communication and distribution plan, featuring a combination of animation and comics.
The mining industry is facing many challenges and Jincom aims to continue the creation of communication materials that can assist with those challenges and help improve skills, safety standards and the health of mineworkers.
Peacock notes that, while health and safety are key focus areas for Jincom, the company also aims to showcase its training and financial literacy expertise to different industries across Africa and the world.