South Africa. Exxaro Resources mining group CEO Sipho Nkosi expressed concerns over the the mining group’s safety performance at the Exxaro Safety Summit on the 17th of March 2009.
Nkosi is looking for a 30% improvement in Safety performance. Exxaro recorded five fatalities and registered a lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of 0.39 against a target of 0.21 as compared to 0.36 in 2007 per 200,000 man hours.
Exxaro’s executive general manager of Safety and Sustainable development, Nombasa Tsengwa, led the research that supported the summit. According to her findings, most lost time injuries in 2008 occured while lifting and handling material, with fatalities predominantly relating to vehicle safety.
Lost time injuries primarily impacted on workers between the ages of 29 and 35 and the most frequent recorded occurence time was between 13.01 and 17.00.
The research also showed that employees who had worked at Exxaro for less than six months have the most lost time injuries.
Attending the summit were representatives of the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME), trade union Solidarity, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), as well as the United Association of South Africa.
Head of Health and Safety for the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) Mziwakhe Nhlapo reported that the South African mining sector had already recorded 34 fatalities this year as compared to 22 for the same period in 2008.
Nhlapo also added that he felt more could be done to increase safety as the current statistics were not acceptable.
The former CEO of Exxaro, Con Fauconnier reported that he felt Exxaro leadership needed Safety integrated in their daily lives to serve as an example of the best practice to employees.
Mr Fauconnier added that Safety was not just a state of mind but also a state of heart and mentioned that the best way to go about it would be to do the right thing even if no-one was looking.
Nombasa Tsengwa also made mention of repeat incidents in the mining industry with similar incidents occuring in different companies and made a call to companies to start sharing best practice resources and tools to investigate lost time injuries and fatalities.
An Exxaro spokesperson mentioned that a discussion document will be drafted by Exxaro after the summit so the rest of the mining industry can benefit.