Contracts which formed part of the accomplishment include Black Mountain, Selebi Pikwe, Impala No 20 Shaft, Karee 4 Project, Tautona, WAGM, South Deep and Eastern Platinum.
These contracts employ a total of 2 000 personnel.
The projects stretch from Selebi Pikwe in Botswana to Aggeneys in the Northern Cape and Rustenburg and Carltonville in the North West.
“We have adopted an integrated, group-wide approach to safety management,” notes Nefdt.
“This is the item at the top of the agenda on all our contracts; this approach is the platform on which the achievement has been built,” he adds.
Before each project begins, a comprehensive baseline risk assessment is carried out.
This is done to make sure all working procedures, and associated risks, are taken into account and all the standards and procedures are in place to cover the potential hazards.
The company then does a site-specific risk assessment to adapt its specialised safety procedures – since risks differ from site to site and even from contract to contract.
“A base risk assessment is then issued on which the company procedures are based and modified according to the individual conditions,” notes Nefdt.
Safety is a primary focus area for all employees.
“Our safety philosophy is based on safety always being visible; hence we have not achieved this milestone through luck, it has been through commitment and hard work,” he notes.
Each contract or site is encouraged to maintain this philosophy, with monthly safety topics being implemented on all sites.
While the actual content will differ from site to site, one topic is compulsory- ‘No rock will fall uncontrolled’.
This tenet forms the basis for all safety.
“Fall-of-ground is a considerable killer in mining, and we need to do everything possible to prevent rocks from falling uncontrolled,” notes Nefdt.
“With this emphasis, fall-of-ground incidents are kept to the absolute minimum,” he adds.
The business managers for sites from the head office have monthly review meetings on site, with safety more often than not taking the longest time during the discussions.
“Each accident or incident is analysed at length and preventive action is also discussed,” notes Nefdt.
“This proactive approach is important when considering potential risks,” he adds.
The company rewards safety-conscious behaviour with a structured bonus system, with 20% going towards safety targets.
“It is unusual in the mining industry to have a bonus system which is not purely production orientated,” Nefdt comments.
“We are usually the principal contractor on site, and are thus responsible for our subcontractors’ safety performance as well,” he notes.
“All our subcontractors are inducted and trained in the same manner as our employees,” claims Nefdt.
“We cannot expect workers to do things correctly if they do not receive appropriate and adequate training,” he adds.
Because of the emphasis on training, the company appoints people’s representatives in safety.
“We use safety representatives on each site with safety instructors, who are generally selected from those workers who excel in their jobs,” Nefdt says.
“They are required to coach and train others in accident prevention,” he adds.
In addition, the company has two safety and training coordinators whose sole job is to go from site to site doing internal audits.
“They drive the safety campaign, and are senior personnel who visit each site once a week and spend 30% of each visit on safety matters,” claims Nefdt.
“Safety is a team effort; every single person on the sites which reached two-million fatality-free shifts has contributed to the achievement,” he adds.
“However, this is really only the start of the next million fatality-free shifts,” Nefdt concludes.