Maturing our organisational safety culture

Our safety journey in 2021 reflects the Group’s deep commitment to zero harm and the belief that all injuries are preventable.

During the first half of 2021, the Letšeng operation recorded a series of safety incidents that led to the leadership team taking the decision to shut down operations for 24 hours for safety focused engagements with the entire workforce.

The site-wide Stop for Safety campaign was the first of its kind for the Group and Letšeng and was aimed at understanding the root causes of increased safety incidents, reaffirm the commitment to zero harm and to design a targeted strategy to address the identified root causes and other concerns raised by the workforce during the intensive engagements.

This  campaign took place on the 8th of June. Gem executive management and Letšeng’s leadership teams, accompanied by our contractors’ executive and operational management, engaged extensively with employees over their three shifts, from 3am to 11pm. An additional session for employees not on duty on the 8th of June was held the following week.

A comprehensive list of actions was put together to immediately address matters raised during these sessions, which spanned a range of topics, including:

The continuing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fatigue management,
Health and safety.
Human resource management and leadership.

As part of the discussions, the workforce requested more regular employee engagement forums to discuss safety and other  matters, and as such, monthly employee engagement sessions were established.

Following the Stop for Safety, we appointed external safety specialists to review our safety practices and identify opportunities for improvement. In support of this process, a safety perception survey was conducted in October to map the organisation’s current safety maturity level. The findings of the safety perception survey informed a safety focussed response plan to implement strategic programmes that aim to develop and mature safety practices and organisational culture at Letšeng.

The strategic safety programmes initiated in 2021 include:

Critical control management.
Incident investigation and management.
Safety focused leadership coaching.
Just Culture Model development.

In addition to the above programmes, we are maturing from reacting to lagging indicators, which measure failures post incident to leading indicators that measure performance and indicate whether safety and health controls are effective at managing safety risk, thus being more proactive in our safety strategy. This approach will be monitored and measured through a leading indicator safety committee that will meet monthly to conduct retrospective analysis of all the leading indicators to identify trends or potential red flags to allow a proactive response.

We recognise that with one operating mine, there is limited opportunity for cross-operational knowledge sharing and we have identified a need for external assistance to transfer knowledge, experience and expertise on safety related matters. We have constituted a committee of experienced individuals, our “Grey Hair Council”, from a broad industry base with deep insight into industry leading safety practices.  In 2021, the “Grey Hair Council” provided valuable guidance and insights into actual safety incidents, which have been integrated into our safety response and management plans.

We recognise that safety is paramount and we continue to look to find innovative ways to deepen our understanding of how we can keep ourselves and our teams safe.