Underground mining in the South African gold fields presents a number of occupational health challenges for management and employees. Exposure to dust, silica and noise are serious workplace hazards, and may result in occupational lung diseases such as silicosis, pulmonary tuberculosis, and noise-induced hearing loss.
Over the years the South African gold industry, along with important stakeholders, has developed responses to these hazards. The Mine Health and Safety Act of 1996, in seeking to promote a culture of health and safety in the industry, regulates the duties of employers and employees in identifying hazards and eliminating, controlling, and minimising health and safety risks.
At both the group’s mining operations, employees have access to a medical stations that provides primary healthcare and emergency stabilisation services on-site. Primary healthcare includes the provision of all acute and chronic medication, including that for HIV/Aids and TB.
Employees also have access to secondary health services through specialists and private hospitals. Most procedures are performed at the Life Anncron and Lenmed Wilmed hospitals, both in Klerksdorp.
Emergency services provide a 24/7 ambulance coverage to both mines, along with on-site paramedic care.
Occupational healthcare services - including heat tolerance screening, occupational therapy, and physiotherapy - are performed by Laboransan Incorporated at their facility in Klerksdorp.