In the workplace and beyond
Strategies and Policies
In order to perform to the best of their abilities our workforce needs to be healthy, and more than this they need to be free from worry about the health and wellbeing of their families and communities. This provides a compelling business case for us to invest in much needed local healthcare facilities and initiatives when it comes to both occupational and community health.
Our health policy is to provide free basic healthcare to employees, their immediate family and community members within a 10km radius of each mine. In order to achieve this we build a number of health clinics on each mine and in surrounding communities – with the aim being to pass control and responsibility for the community clinics over to local authorities once they are established.
Washing away preventable disease
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa was one of the biggest international news stories and public health crises of the last two years. Ebola is highly contagious and can be passed on through contact with contaminated body fluids. Therefore one of the strategies we introduced at our West African mines to help prevent and protect our workforce from the outbreak was to introduce compulsory hand washing at the gates of each mine.
At sites where handwashing measures were introduced we noticed there was a radical drop in the number of employees seeking medical attention for diarrhoea. Confirmed cases of diarrhoea in the six months post implementation of hand washing measures dropped on average by 22% at our Loulo and Gounkoto in Mali and over 30% at our Morila mine.
Globally it is estimated that nearly five billion work days are lost every year to diarrhoea, and it is linked to 1.5 million deaths each year according to the World Health Organisation, most of which occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Therefore a drop in diarrhoea rates is not only good for the individuals and the community it is also good for business. It reduces absenteeism and improves productivity.
Regular handwashing has now been introduced across all our sites and we are also working to raise awareness in our communities of the important impact this simple step can have.