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Health and Hygiene

Protecting the health of our people is as vital as their safety.

In the SSHE Performance Standard, MMG defines what is required for managing exposure to harmful agents, endemic disease, fatigue management and employee health and wellbeing. Health and hygiene management includes health surveillance and hygiene monitoring.

The key processes for the planning and management of Health Exposure Risk is the annual review and update of each operation’s Exposure Assessment (Health Risk Assessment).

Following the annual Exposure Assessment, Similar Exposure Groups (SEGs) are reviewed and the annual Occupational Hygiene Monitoring Plan is developed and executed. In addition, health surveillance requirements are reviewed and updated.

Our operations are also required to develop and maintain site-specific Endemic Disease and Pandemic management plans, as well ongoing induction, training and education for employees and contractors regarding health and hygiene site factors.

We concentrate on higher-level controls with the view to eliminating, controlling or mitigating the hazard source as well as our people’s potential exposure to carcinogens.

Some examples include:

  • Sulphuric acid mist: polypropylene balls added to chemical tanks to breakdown bubbles, reducing likelihood of being released into the air
  • Diesel particulate matter: low sulphur fuels, engine selection and ongoing preventative maintenance, exhaust filtration systems
  • Respirable crystalline silica: ongoing site dust suppression via watering or sprayings, enclosed cabin plant and equipment, exhaust ventilation systems, vacuum usage instead of blowing compressed air
  • Welding fumes: mandatory respiratory protection including training
  • Surface lead testing programs in conjunction with atmospheric testing programs

We operate in countries where the prevalence of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid, dengue fever and other tropical diseases is high. All of our workplaces are required to maintain and implement risk-based Exposure Management Plans.

Our Kinsevere operation continues to manage our employees’ occupational health exposures, key among them is exposure to radiation and malaria. All projects have dedicated medics on site to help the workforce manage health-related issues. Radiation exposure surveillance is undertaken regularly according to strict government guidelines and monitored results are submitted to relevant Congolese regulatory bodies.

In 2021, our Dugald River operation engaged an external medical consultant to assist with the roll out of updated medical surveillance processes in accordance with amendments to the Queensland Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Regulation. As of September 2022, employees will be required to undertake periodic medicals to identify any changes in lung function or to identify early signs of lung disease. The change requires the Site Senior Executive to arrange respiratory health surveillance for workers prior to commencing work, and then at least once every five years.

The medical examinations for respiratory health surveillance must include:

  • a chest X-ray dual-read by qualified radiologists to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standard
  • spirometry tests and comparisons with previous spirometry tests where available
  • any examination deemed necessary by an appropriate doctor to support the early detection of injury or illness to the person’s respiratory system (e.g. high-resolution computed tomography scan)

This update has been communicated to the entire workforce including contract partners.

Las Bambas has also implemented an annual occupational medical exam for all employees at our designated Antawasi Medical Centre facilities. Occupational health surveillance is an ongoing process that consists of caring for the health of our employees, using identification, assessment, analysis, interpretation and communication methodologies and techniques. To prevent risks, accidents and occupational diseases, we have developed an occupational health surveillance system called SIVISO that involves the following:

  • Surveillance of the occupational health management of our strategic partners.
  • Audit of occupational medical exams at standardised occupational clinics.
  • Occupational medical certificates of fitness in less than 24 hours.
  • Occupational health statistics for appropriate epidemiological surveillance.
  • Follow-up of medical cases.

As part of the progressive improvement and timely healthcare, we have implemented support medical units at the XP and Charcascocha camps.

Examples of our initiatives can be found in our Sustainability Reports and on wemineforprogress.com.