Creating a pervasive culture of care at Letšeng and Ghaghoo
We work tirelessly towards our vision of an injury and illness-free workplace where every employee goes home safe and healthy. The nature of the work we do, as well as the remote and extreme conditions associated with our mining operations, means that we operate against many obstacles in the achievement of this goal. This year, we are pleased that these efforts have borne the fruit we desire, with Gem Diamonds reporting an LTI-free 2015.
Keeping our employees sensitised to the dangers in their environments remains an ongoing challenge. We realise that good health and safety management is not only about the systems and policies that are put in place, but also about how our people feel about safety and health. The goal, therefore, was to bring about a cultural transformation that required new ways of thinking throughout all levels of the organisation.
The first step in this cultural transformation was the implementation of the behaviour-based safety programme, which began in 2010 at our Letšeng mine. The programme commenced at the operation’s Executive Committee level and was gradually implemented throughout our operations to the operator level. During 2015, the name of the programme was changed to behaviour-based care (BBC) as this better reflected the heart of the programme – a desire to care for and protect oneself and other workers on site.
The programme encourages employees to participate in the mine’s health, safety and environmental management programme and seeks to cultivate a culture of prevention. The BBC system assists employees to internalise good safety behaviour, identify risks in the workplace, and make appropriate safety-conscious decisions.
The programme has also enhanced a culture of collaboration across the Group. We have seen an increased sense of accountability and involvement. This collaboration has also led to increased dialogue around health and safety issues, bringing new perspectives that allow us to stay abreast of the changing conditions in each employee’s work sphere.
Teamwork has also been a focus in the programme. Employees operate in BBC teams to share responsibility for one another. The BBC teams reinforce team pacts, a continuous commitment to working safely, on a daily basis. As part of the pact formation process, each department identifies and prioritises risk exposure areas. The principle of being our brother’s keeper’ forms an important part of the BBC programme and is reinforced daily as part of the BBC team’s pact. Being a brother’s keeper means taking responsibility for all team members and ensuring that they work safely.
Another essential component of the cultural transformation that we have seen across the Group is the influence of our visible felt leadership initiative at both Letšeng and Ghaghoo. This initiative aims to involve management in hands-on, on-site safety matters. Line managers carry out weekly visits to various sites. During these visits, management engages with employees at their place of work to discuss the importance of working safely and taking care of one another. These visits also provide an opportunity for workers to express their safety concerns to the management team, helping the Group identify, monitor and manage risks proactively.
At Letšeng, in an effort to keep the message of safety and care fresh in our employees’ minds, the reminders of what we are striving for are embroidered on their jackets.
While our Letšeng mine has been working tirelessly since 2010 to create this culture of safety, our Ghaghoo operation has had to face the challenge of bringing the mine into an operational state and thus is in the initial stages of the full implementation of the above programmes. The achievements with regards to health and safety at both of our operations, however, speak for themselves. While our Letšeng mine has been working tirelessly since 2010 to create this culture of safety, our Ghaghoo operation has had to face the challenge of bringing the mine into an operational state and thus is in the initial stages of the full implementation of the above programmes. The achievements with regards to health and safety at both of our operations, however, speak for themselves.
We recognise that the attainment of an LTI-free year is just a stepping-stone. What we want to achieve is a workplace that is completely safe and healthy and that our peers look to as an example of best practice that is challenging norms in the industry. Constant vigilance and ongoing efforts to keep health and safety at the forefront of our employees’ minds will continue to be an area of focused effort in order to deliver this objective.
|Letšeng Diamond Mine, HSSE Team.||Letšeng Diamond Mine, BBC pact reinforcement.||Letšeng Diamond Mine, Toolbox talk.|