Safety, Health and Wellness


Employee and contractor safety is a fundamental part of IFM’s values and is always prioritised over production. IFM is committed to sustaining a culture of safe behaviour and believes that the long-term moral, reputational and operational benefits of this approach far outweigh the short-term costs. Developing and entrenching a safety-conscious culture means that employees and managers are becoming increasingly conscious that, with the right approach, mining and mineral processing can be done without harm.

The Company’s safety strategy includes driving safety improvement initiatives, and focusing on improving individual behavioural safety practices by encouraging employees to remain focused on conducting risk assessments. Safety is a shared responsibility – all employees do their utmost to promote the safety of themselves, and others. The safety management system incorporates the requirements of the OHSAS 18001 standard. A re-certification audit was conducted by TÜV Rhineland during August 2013 and IFM retained its certification status.

IFM set a new standard in safety performance during the financial year. In addition to achieving a zero fatality rate, it improved on its record of fatality-free man hours. Since inception in 2005, the Company has achieved a total of 27,245,728 fatality-free man-hours, meaning 3,405,716 fatality-free shifts have been worked. The number of lost-time injuries reduced from four in FY2013 to three in FY2014. The primary causes of lost-time injuries were:

  • Falling rock
  • Slip, trip and falls
  • Lifting equipment

LTIFR reduced from 1.47 in FY2013 to 1.30 in FY2014 and performed 7% better than the set target of 1.40. The total number of all injuries reduced by 30.1% compared to the previous year.

Accountability for Safety

As stipulated by the South African Mines Health and Safety Act, IFM’s CEO is accountable for the safety of employees and contractors while the Safety Department sets minimum safety standards and audits the implementation of these requirements. Operating business units remain responsible for ensuring effective implementation of these requirements through supporting systems and procedures. Their focus is on ensuring that minor injuries are prevented and minimising major occupational risks.

Every accident and high-potential risk incident is reported and management continues to meticulously investigate incidents and near-miss incidents. This is followed up with appropriate training or hazard management improvements so that recurrence can be prevented. Findings from these incidents are critical to the IFM’s safety improvement efforts and are communicated across all operations. Safety incidents are reported to the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) as required by the Mine Health and Safety Act. During FY2014, two section 54 and two section 55 notices were issued by the DMR. These were due to alleged non-compliance with the Mine Health and Safety Act.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is issued to all employees as per risk assessment or work place requirements.

Health and Wellness

The health and wellbeing of both employees and the communities in which we operate is fundamental to the success of the Company. By looking after the wellbeing of our employees, it means they remain fit to work at their full potential and absences due to sicknesses are reduced. The emphasis is on the holistic health and wellbeing of employees, not just workplace health and wellbeing. Awareness and educational campaigns address a wide range of issues, including fatigue management and nutrition.

The Health Department is responsible for implementing occupational health and hygiene policies, standards and monitoring their effectiveness. Responsibility for the implementation of these occupational health and hygiene requirements resides with line management. All mandatory codes of practice (COP) in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act are in place.

All IFM operations strive to mitigate workplace health risks as far as is practicable. Where risks remain in terms of workplace exposure, monitoring of these risks is undertaken in the form of risk-based occupational hygiene programmes. PPE is supplied to employees who are exposed to such residual risks. In order to monitor the control measures implemented to address workplace exposure to hazards such as noise, dust, thermal stress and others, IFM also provides a comprehensive medical surveillance programme for its employees.

“All IFM operations strive to mitigate workplace health risks as far as is practicable.”

Major health risks remain noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), HIV/Aids and pulmonary tuberculosis (TB). Internal targets are in place to help mitigate these risks and performance is monitored on a monthly basis. Training and work programmes with the goal of reducing exposure to these risks and providing employees with the knowledge needed to manage and reduce the impact such diseases may have on their lives are in place. No NIHL cases were identified during FY2014.

Overexposure to chromium through chromate dust may occur in workers from the tap floor at the furnaces to the analyst in the laboratory. No positive identifications had been monitored on employees during the year. This can lead to allergic and irritant dermatitis, or chrome ulcers. IFM conducts regular biological monitoring of employees who may be exposed to chromium. During FY2014, no results were found that were outside the allowable range of ≤ 30.0 μg/gCr.

The following strategy is in place with regards to occupational health:

  • Pre-employment medical examinations are performed to ensure new employees are placed in occupations that they can perform.
  • Periodic risk-based medical evaluations are conducted in accordance with workplace risk assessments. The examinations are performed at frequencies determined by an employee’s occupation, medical status and workplace exposure on employees. If necessary, counselling is provided.
  • Exit medical examinations are conducted to assess health status and provide a report which may be carried forward to any future employer.

Any employees who have developed occupational diseases are referred for appropriate treatment and compensation to the relevant authorities.

During FY2014 IFM’s medical facility performed 3,030 occupational health surveillance examinations in the form of pre-employment, exit and periodical examinations. The medical team also addressed 1,486 primary health care and medical treatment cases. Additional health education was given to 1,378 individual employees.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Hiv/Aids

The Company’s strategy on sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/Aids is twofold:

  • providing education to help prevent employees from becoming infected; and
  • extending the lives of those infected for as long as possible.

During the year, 18 cases of HIV were reported to primary health care centres for treatment. All HIV positive employees and contract workers received counselling. Direct IFM employees are treated in terms of the medical aid programme, contractor workers are referred to the government’s Department of Health (DOH) local institution for treatment. Although HIV/Aids represents a risk that will have to be managed on a continual basis, IFM believes that the epidemic does not pose a significant threat to the long-term sustainability of operations.

Occupational Lung Disease and Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Occupational lung disease is a risk inherent in many mines and TB is one of the leading opportunistic illnesses associated with HIV/Aids. IFM’s occupational health strategy encompasses both minimising current risks and treatment of the disease. The TB control programme in place includes targeted medical surveillance programmes, providing appropriate treatment with quality drugs and lifestyle management.

During pre-employment medical examinations four TB cases were diagnosed and referred to government institutions for diagnostic evaluation and treatment. None of these cases were related to any possible irritant at IFM.