The safety and health of our employees and our contractors
The training and development of our employees and our contractors
Human capital includes health,
safety knowledge, skills, intellectual
outputs, motivation and the
capacity for relationships of
individuals. Organisations depend
on individuals to function.
We need a healthy, motivated and skilled workforce. Intellectual capital and knowledge management is also recognised as a
key intangible creator of wealth. Damaging human capital by abuse of human rights or labour rights or compromising health
and safety has financial and reputational costs.
The Venture enhances its human capital by:
giving employees and community members access to training, development and lifelong learning, and capturing and
ensuring adequate safety arrangements are in place; and
incentives and remuneration.
Stakeholder impact and engagement with stakeholders
The stakeholders most affected by the ability of Merafe and the Venture to keep our employees safe and healthy are their
families and dependants.
The Venture believes in the possibility of a zero harm operation. We believe that all occupational diseases and injuries
can be prevented and that therefore, we must all take responsibility to avoid occupational diseases and injuries.
Human capital: safety
KEY POINTS – 2019
One fatality (2018: one fatality)
Total recordable injury frequency rate (TRIFR) 2.56
Lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) 1.30
The Venture had no safety penalties or prosecutions
The Venture’s policies and approach to safety management
The Venture’s operations maintain stringent safety and risk management
systems, which it aligns with the international standards: OHSAS 18001
and ISO 31000. Glencore collates best practice from each of its assets
and from externally recognised leaders in safety management and shares
this knowledge across the Glencore Group. Through Glencore, all the
operations of the Venture are members of the International Council of
Minerals and Mining.
The Venture takes a proactive and preventive approach towards safety,
aiming to instill a positive safety culture in which everyone fully integrates
its safety values into their working lives. It has updated its approach to
safety by updating its risk management framework. Glencore’s fatal hazard
protocols and high potential risk incident reporting processes have been
rolled out in the Venture. There are weekly meetings and discussions around
the reporting of HPRI’s.
Glencore's Sustainable Development Director is responsible for safety,
health and wellness.
Safety programme overview
We reviewed and strengthened our incident
investigation process to include 24-hour notification
of senior management and the Glencore corporate
sustainability team for fatal incidents and launched
a mandatory on-site fatality investigation process
following any fatal incident. The Venture’s senior
management must then report to the Glencore Board
HSEC Committee on fatalities and the subsequent
independent investigations in person. Any lessons
learned that could further improve general fatality
prevention are shared across the Group.
We ensure independent third-party assistance is on
site within 72 hours of a fatal incident.
We developed SAFEALLOYS, a Group initiative to
foster a safety culture based on behaviours and
consequences at all levels.
We rolled out on an annual basis fatal hazard
protocols (which is reviewed annually) and life-saving
behaviours (part of the SAFEALLOYS programme)
across the Group.
The Venture focused on reducing the TRIFR. The
supporting actions resulted in the TRIFR reducing
from 4.58 (2010 baseline) to 2.56 in 2019.
The Glencore Fatal Hazard Protocols and Life Saving Behaviours, which
provide a set of tools which initially are focused on the fatal risks, are being
rolled out in the Venture as part of SAFEALLOYS. The life-saving behaviours
are aimed at strengthening the focus in the Venture on behaviours and
consequences rather than a rules-based culture. The fatal risk categories
that Glencore has identified as being most hazardous and responsible for
the majority of its fatalities include: energy isolation, working at heights,
mobile equipment, ground/strata failure, confined space and electrical
safety. Over and above this, the Venture highlights specifically people
vehicle interaction as a key danger area.
In 2019 there were 73 (2018: 97) recorded injuries in a workforce of
11 448 (including contractors). An in-depth analysis by the Venture revealed
that no one single factoral cause stood out in 2019, but that ‘at risk
behaviour’ remains a major problem. As safety is the number one priority
in the Venture, a number of campaigns were rolled out and re-emphasised
including ‘SAFEALLOYS’, ‘Life Saving Behaviours’ and ‘Safework coaching’.
The Venture implemented the Fatal Hazard Protocols in 2015 and
continually implements positive reinforcement programs.
Safety in the Venture is always the direct responsibility of Glencore’s senior
management, who provide the leadership, systems and processes for the
prevention of incidents and the elimination of fatalities in the Venture. The
formal management structure documents responsibility for safety from the
Glencore Board down to each individual Venture employee and contractor.
The Venture puts considerable effort into embedding a safety culture in
its operations. Its leaders are aware that they are expected to put safety
before production or other considerations and to personally endorse safety
initiatives and engage with employees at all levels to discuss safety issues
It concludes health and safety agreements with the trade unions.
The sustainable development policies in place in the Venture are aligned with
the Glencore Group Sustainable Development Standards. They set out its
commitment to zero injuries and fatalities.
The role of training
The Venture’s investment in safety training is detailed below in the
Human capital section of this report. It continues to use virtual reality
training, combined with easy-to-read written instructions, on all its different
procedures. The training is designed to ensure that employees cannot
complete their training on a procedure until they have shown they fully
understand it. Training, as can be seen from the detail in this
report, was a major focus during the year. Focus for 2019 was again on
supervisory development training, ensuring that all supervisors understood
their legal responsibility, life saving behaviours, fatal hazard protocols and
Human capital: health and wellness
Human capital includes health, knowledge, skills, intellectual outputs, motivation and the capacity for relationships of individuals.
KEY POINTS – 2019
One noise-induced hearing loss cases (2018: Nil)
Employees who test positive for HIV are encouraged to register for treatment
Employees receive HIV and Aids counseling, care and support free of charge
Health programmes at the Venture aim to eliminate occupational illness
Organisations depend on individuals to function. They need a healthy,
motivated and skilled workforce. Intellectual capital and knowledge
management is also recognised as a key intangible creator of wealth.
Damaging human capital by abuse of human rights or labour rights or
compromising health and safety has direct, as well as reputational costs.
We enhance our human capital by providing healthcare and training and
education in health matters.
Our policy and approach
A business needs a healthy workforce that is able to work at its full
potential. The health programmes provided by the Venture, aim to eliminate
and address occupational illnesses, public health issues and the overall
wellbeing of its employees and contractors.
Typically, occupational illnesses such as noise induced hearing loss ("NIHL")
are only diagnosed some time after the event that caused them. As a result,
the occupational illnesses currently occurring in the Venture’s operations are
usually the result of historic mining and smelting practices.
The Venture has identified NIHL as a major occupational health risk for its
employees and has employed a full time Audiologist to counteract this risk.
Any of its workers exposed to the internationally accepted noise level limit of
85 decibels or above were issued with personalised noise clippers hearing
protection. The equipment it provides includes variphones/noise clippers,
which are custom-made for comfort and are 100% leak tight. Employees
are trained in the use, maintenance and storage and care of this equipment.
Any employees or contractors at risk of being exposed to noise that could
damage their hearing are personally monitored and regularly tested as part
of our hearing conservation programmes.
Wherever possible, the Venture reduces the noise from the equipment
it uses in its operations to levels below the internationally recommended
standards using design modifications, exclusive zones and ‘buy quiet’
programmes for new or upgraded equipment. The Venture’s operations
have reduced machinery noise to less than 110 decibels. There was one
noise induced hearing loss case in 2019 (2018: Nil).
All the Venture’s operations undergo an annual risk assessment of their
baseline risks on ISOmetrix.net and legal audits are conducted by an external
legal company accompanied by subject matter specialists every three years.
HIV and Aids
HIV and Aids is a human rights issue, which Merafe and the Venture
address through their policies and programmes. To ensure these policies
are accessible to the Venture’s employees and contractors, they are
available in all the languages spoken by its employees.
Employees can choose to receive HIV and Aids counseling, care and
support. Any HIV-positive employees of the Venture can receive treatment
they need free of charge, together with the support and education that will
make it possible for them to maintain their antiretroviral treatment programme
through the membership of a medical aid.
All the Venture’s occupational health nurses have been trained in the
management of HIV and TB and the impact of HIV and TB. All employees
who visit its occupational health clinics are screened for TB. Those whose
screening tests indicate they may have TB are referred to healthcare
facilities for TB investigation and treatment. The Venture’s wellness
programme has been incorporated into the annual/periodic medicals
conducted at each operation. Medical records remain on site and are
only seen by the Occupational Medical Practitioner and the nurses included
in the wellness program.
All Venture employees who are HIV-positive are encouraged to receive
The Venture's HIV and Aids policies commit to:
providing employees and contractors with the knowledge they need
to protect themselves and their families from HIV and Aids through
workplace education programmes that explain clearly how HIV can be
contracted, what can be done to prevent contracting and transferring
HIV, and what should be done to enhance the quality and length of life
of those who are HIV-positive;
encouraging employees and contractors to know their HIV status and
providing counselling and testing facilities for them;
running HIV and Aids campaigns that involve employees at every level of
ensuring that every employee attends an HIV and Aids education session
during working hours, followed by an individual wellness counselling
session with a healthcare provider;
ensuring that testing for HIV is voluntary and that employees are only
tested for HIV and Aids after giving their informed consent;
guaranteeing the confidentiality of employees' medical information;
providing pre- and post-test counselling for employees or contractors
wishing to be tested for HIV and Aids;
forming public-private partnerships with local, provincial and national
government structures in joint projects to fight HIV and Aids in the
communities in which the Venture operates; and
facilitating the training of peer educators and establishing and training
home-based care workers through the Venture's corporate social
Human capital: our employees
Organisations depend on individuals to function. They need a healthy, motivated and skilled workforce.
KEY POINTS – 2019
No protected or unprotected strikes
The Venture has recognition agreements in place
Approximately 73% of the Venture’s workforce is unionised
Industrial action in the mining industry and the Venture
Meeting our employment equity and human resource development targets and exceeding the Mining Charter scorecard targets
Employee work satisfaction
Maximising local employment in the Venture
Retaining skilled employees and securing the next generation of skilled employees
Intellectual capital and knowledge management is also recognised as a key
intangible creator of wealth. Damaging human capital by abuse of human
rights or labour rights or compromising health and safety has financial and
We enhance our human capital by:
giving employees and community members access to training, development and lifelong learning and capturing and sharing knowledge;
respecting human rights;
paying fair remuneration to our employees and our business partners; and
creating satisfying work opportunities.
Our approach to our employees
Glencore’s Code of Conduct, which is applied in the Venture, recognises
and upholds the rights of employees to a safe workplace, collective
representation, just compensation, job security and opportunities for
development, all of which are based on the core belief that our people are
fundamental to our success.
Glencore’s Human Resources Director is responsible for labour relations
in the Venture.
Both Merafe and the Venture are committed to providing a workplace based on:
equal opportunity at all levels; and
open and two-way engagement with our employees and their representatives.
More on our approach to our employees, and adherence to international
employment standards can be found on our online Integrated Annual Report
for 2019 under Human capital: our employees.
While Merafe’s (as apposed to the Venture's) employees are not unionised,
we consult with them in advance of any significant changes to our business.
Engagement and resolving disputes amicably plays a very important role in
labour relations. The Venture undertakes to consult with its employees and
their recognised representatives in advance of significant operational changes
in an effort to reach consensus about any necessary business actions.
Collective bargaining and freedom of association are considered a
fundamental right for the Venture’s employees. Collective agreements,
particularly around terms and conditions of employment and company
benefits, are negotiated between the parties with due regard to the relevant
legislation. The Venture seeks to reach agreement with the unions on annual
wage increases for implementation in July each year.
The Venture is committed to treating all its employees with dignity and in a
manner that is culturally sensitive. Unfair discrimination on the basis of race,
gender, religion, political or sexual orientation, national extraction or social
origin is not tolerated.
Disciplinary and grievance policies and procedures are in place at Merafe
and the Venture.
Industrial action at the Venture in 2019
There were no protected or unprotected strikes during 2019.
In 2018, the Venture signed three-year wage agreements with the western
mines, the western smelters and the eastern smelters.
The Venture has recognition agreements with NUM, NUMSA and Solidarity
and approximately 73% of its workforce is unionised.
See our online Integrated Annual Report for 2019 for more information on the Venture’s employee relations, engagement, remuneration, benefits and labour relations.
KEY POINTS – 2019
16% of the Venture’s workforce in 2019 was female
Merafe had a total workforce of 7 employees and the Venture 7 368 employees
at 31 December 2019
Key focus of the Venture is on retention strategies with specific reference to junior and senior management HDSAs
The total workforce of the Venture by employment type*
Full time employees
Temporary/fixed term employees
The numbers are the 2019 average numbers. The number of full time employees and
fixed term employees at 31 December 2019 was 7 368.
Maximising local employment
When hiring employees we give preference, where possible, to members
of the local community and, in some instances, we offer training
opportunities to community members to develop the skills they need
to become our employees.
Diversity and equal opportunity
Management and site employment equity committees monitor employment
equity in the Venture’s operations every month and report the results to the
Venture, which in turn reports to Glencore and Merafe.
We base our employment equity policies on providing equal opportunities
to all potential and existing employees.
Maximising local employment in the Venture;
Achieving employment equity that is supported by everyone in the workplace;
Making careers in mining more accessible to women in the Venture;
Engaging with the Venture’s employees and the trade union through open communication channels to achieve labour peace; and
Providing a workplace that is free of discrimination.
Venture workforce by employment and gender type at 31 December 2019
The term diversity used in this section of the report is based on the Mining
Charter Scorecard’s definition of historically disadvantaged South Africans
("HDSAs"), which includes African males and females, coloured males and
females, Indian males and females and white females. Ongoing transformation
is a priority and is discussed at all levels. The Venture is again focusing on its
retention strategies with specific reference to senior management HDSAs and
Venture employment equity
Diversity in Merafe
Top management (includes Board)
Senior management (Exco)
There are no junior managers employed by Merafe.
Merafe achieved a Level 5 B-BBEE status under the Codes of Good
Practice in 2019. A copy of the certificate is on the Company website together with an explanation and reasons for the rating.
Human capital: training and development
KEY POINTS – 2019
The Venture invested R149 million in training (2018: R144 million)
An average of R13 008 was
invested in training for each member
of the Venture’s workforce
(employees and contractors)
(2018: R9 057)
1 074 884 Venture total training hours (2018: 1 032 429)
R51 million invested in artisan
and apprentice training (2018: R47 million)
R8.7 million invested in bursaries and scholarships (2018: R7 million)
70 average training hours
per permanent employee
550 970 training hours for contractors (2018: 539 814)
138 average training hours per external contractor employee
The Venture provides full time adult education and training (AET) for its employees and portable skills training that equips
employees for careers beyond the Venture.
Development and training
Both Merafe and the Venture are committed to meeting their human resource
development targets and retaining and developing their skilled employees.
The Venture provides:
development and training opportunities for HDSAs that will help them to further their careers;
career development opportunities that allow it to develop and retain high potential employees;
training that addresses risk-tolerant or ingrained behaviours that impact negatively on our operations; and
training in its Code of Conduct and Sustainable Development Standards and HSEC Standards and Protocols.
It continually evaluates its training methods and the best way to
communicate with the various age groups and cultures in its workforce.
Total training hours
1 074 884
1 032 430
Total training hours for permanent employees
Average training hours per permanent employee
Total training hours for contractors
Average training hours per contractor
Number of health issues training sessions
Number of safety issues training sessions
Number of human rights issues training sessions
Number of environmental training sessions
Community health training
Community environmental training
Community human rights training
Number of contractors: 3 994 (average).
Development of staff was a key focus in 2019 across all sites. Increased
focus on computer-based training made training more efficient and structured.
The Venture invites senior managers whom it has identified as having
leadership potential to participate in leadership programmes at universities.
The Venture also provides them with additional training, support and
career development opportunities. In all, 50% of senior management level
employees who participated in a senior leadership programme were HDSA;
80% (2018: 72%) of middle management level employees who participated
in development programmes in 2019 were HDSA; and 80% (2018: 81%) of
junior leaders who attended a programme to enhance their supervisory skills