Health and wellness
Our occupational health vision
To achieve our vision of zero occupation-related harm we:
- recognise that all occupation- related illnesses are preventable
- make a consistent and sustained effort to ensure that there are no repeat occurrences of occupational diseases
- apply simple, consistent and non-negotiable health and safety standards across our organisation to prevent occupation-related illnesses.
Our approach to the health and wellness of our workforce
A healthy workforce is an advantage to our business because it means that our employees are fit to work at their full potential and absences due to sickness are reduced. If members of our workforce suffer from poor health it affects their families and the communities in which they live. We comply with the requirements of the Mine Health and Safety Act in terms of medical surveillance reporting as well as injuries and occupational diseases.
We aim to eliminate occupational diseases by providing a workplace free from health and hygiene hazards.
By providing an effective health care programme to keep our workforce healthy, not only do we avoid the cost of expensive treatment, we also prevent human suffering.
Platmed is our health and wellness service provider for occupational-related medical surveillance and emergency care and Platinum Health is our service provider for wellness and non-work related medical conditions.
We have identified the main health issues affecting our workforce and we continually address these specific health issues by:
- monitoring and measuring airborne pollutants
- regularly testing the noise emitted by vehicles and equipment
- ensuring low sulphur fuel is used in underground vehicles
- testing the water quality both of both drinking water and service water in our operations
- monitoring if there are any activities taking place in our operations that could affect the health of neighbouring communities.
Evaluating the effectiveness of our approach
Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) the most common occupational health issue at RBPlat
Our industry has committed itself to there being no shift in hearing loss caused by exposure to noise at work that exceeds 10% from the person's baseline assesment. We are also committed to ensuring that the noise in our workplace does not exceed 110dBa (A-weighted decibels). We provide our workforce with hearing protection devices and emphasise the importance of wearing these devices in all areas where noise exceeds 85dB. RBPlat already addresses hearing loss when there is a 5% shift in hearing from the base line established when the employee first started work at RBPlat. It is, however, difficult to identify all causes of hearing loss, which can also be caused by activities outside the workplace.
RBPlat has workforce members who volunteered to be peer educators. They have received in-depth training on healthy living, chronic illnesses, lifestyle diseases, managing stress and personal finances, substance abuse (particularly alcohol and dagga), HIV/Aids and TB. Not only are the peer educators able to inform their fellow workers on a wide variety of health issues, their training also equips them to encourage changes in behaviour, attitudes and perceptions. They are an important first line of defence in our wellness communication with our workforce.
TB remains a major public health problem in South Africa. Our philosophy with regard to TB treatment is that there should be no deaths as a result of contraction of TB. In this regard, the TB programme, which also forms part of the wellness programme, provides for identification, monitoring and effective on-mine treatment of all cases of TB for both enrolled and contractor employees. Our focus is on administering the prophylaxis treatment Isoniazid (INH), and antibiotic used as a first line agent for the prevention and treatment of TB.
HIV counselling and testing and antiretroviral treatment (ART)
The potential impact of HIV and Aids on the business, our employees, their families and the communities in which we operate is huge and, as such, RBPlat manages the pandemic through an integrated response based on a continuum of care, from prevention to support. Our prevention strategies also take into account the larger socioeconomic conditions that are a contributing factor in the spread of the pandemic.
HIV counselling and testing is available to our employees and contractors as part of the initial and periodic medical fitness examinations. ART is also available for our workforce.