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Safety & our people

A message from Graham Birch, Chairman of the CSR Committee

Our people and their safety remain our highest priority and this is reflected in everything that we do. The Board and management are committed to ensuring that employee safety is an integral part of measuring the successful implementation of corporate strategy. We continue to invest in operating controls and processes to ensure that the highest standards of safety are met, and we have initiatives in place to raise the profile of safe working practices and  we provide comprehensive and ongoing safety training at all of our operations.  

It is with great regret that the accident that was announced early last year was followed, in July 2017, by a second accident at Arcata, which claimed the lives of two drill workers. These incidences brought to an end three consecutive years without any fatalities.

The Board conveys its deepest condolences to the families of those involved. The Board, and indeed, the CSR Committee are wholly committed to doing all we can to ensure that safety comes first. For this reason, we wholeheartedly support management in the implementation of the Safety Culture Transformation Plan. This is a multi-faceted strategy to meet our Zero Accident target.

In light of the findings into the causes of the two serious accidents during the year, a programme comprising short-term actions and longer-term actions, to be implemented over three years, was put in place.

Immediate Action Plan

  • Messaging from senior management on the non-negotiable zero tolerance to accidents
  • Safety top management leadership meetings
  • World-renowned consultancy, DuPont, were engaged to conduct a safety culture assessment with the participation of 750 employees. Concluded that HOC had the potential to achieve industry-leading status
  • Increased safety supervision implemented
  • Clinical psychologists recruited at all sites
  • Re-allocation of work between employees on the basis that ‘expert workers are safer workers’