We use various metrics such as the International Labour Organization’s ‘Recording and Notification of Occupational Accidents and Diseases’ to measure and track safety performance and record all reported incidents for both the BMSC employees and our contractors. We classify reported injuries as return-to-work incidents, lost-time injuries (LTIs) or fatalities.
We instruct employees, as part of their site induction training, to report all injuries, incidents, and ‘near misses’. The Health and Safety department oversees safety induction training, injury monitoring, and long-term safety planning. As of December 31st, 2015, the Company had a total of 310 days (6.1 million hours) without a lost time injury.
We have not experienced a work-related fatality or any occupational disease at the Bisha Mine during construction, development, or operation. We are pleased to report that the Bisha Mine had only one lost time accident in 2015. In the Bisha Mine clinic, we attended to 11,464 sick employees throughout the year, 1,863 of whom required sick leave, for a total of 4010 missed days in 2015. This equates to 2.1 days per employee and remains the same as of 2014. These numbers are normal for remote locations with the on-site presence of a medical facility.
We recognize how important protecting worker health is to our organization. During our materiality assessment exercise, we sought, and received feedback from BMSC employees regarding issues pertaining to hydration, sun, and heat fatigue. While there were no recorded incidents of personnel requiring medical attention or needing to leave work for these reasons, we took steps to address their concerns. We gave safety talks on preventative measures to educate workers on the importance of staying hydrated. We installed ice machines, provided portable water jugs, and distributed urine colour charts to help workers recognize signs and symptoms of dehydration. An action plan was created in November 2014 to address matters pertaining to fatigue. The Company can indicate that this plan is being monitored and evaluated regularly and is found to be very effective.
The Government of Eritrea’s Internal Review Committee (IRC), a multi-departmental regulatory body, has directed the Company to focus on issues such as musculoskeletal illnesses, dust, and noise monitoring. The Company has taken steps to address these issues by introducing a modern physiotherapy unit at our health centre that will be operational in the future. The necessary equipment has been purchased and occupational health personal dust monitoring has started.
The IRC undertakes quarterly inspections, and we will continue to implement and monitor these aspects in the coming year.