For our people
Whether they are labourers or lawyers, metallurgists or management, our human capital is the bedrock of our business. Our human resource policy is based on attracting and retaining the best talent from our host countries and providing the constant training required to deliver a world-class gold mining business.
Our commitment to have at least 80% of the workforce constituted from host country nationals is central to our business plan and our sustainability. It helps us to maintain our social license to operate, minimise security risks and reduce our reliance on expensive international contractors, which in turn lowers our overall labour cost base. As shown in Figure 6 our policy is to recruit wherever possible from the villages and communities near our mines. If we are unable to find staff with the appropriate skills from the local community, we then look to recruit host country nationals, followed by regional and Africa-based employees, before finally looking to expats.
At the end of 2016 we had a total workforce of 11 659 workers, of which 93% were host country nationals, a 1% increase from 2015. This policy is not limited to labourers but extends all the way to management level. For example our Malian operations have 100% Malian management teams.
All parts of a gold mine’s operations carry health and safety risks. Protecting our workers from these hazards is Randgold’s number one priority.
The aim of our safety policy is to ensure a safe and healthy workforce. This begins with the delivery of a safe working environment, free of fatalities and lost time injuries. We have a target to reduce the LTIFR and the Total Injury Frequency Rate (TIFR) by 10% year on year. To help us achieve these goals we follow a three-pronged approach.
First, we ensure all our operational mines have robust safety systems in place. These are guided
by and certified to the OHSAS 18001 or ISO 45001 international best practice safety standards
and as demonstrated in Figure 7, are based on a risk mitigation hierarchy. This sees us eliminate,
mitigate then manage our safety risks. This applies to all parts of the mine and all possible safety
incidents from falls to fire, contaminant exposure to explosives.
The second prong to our safety approach is training and risk awareness-raising. To ensure our workforce fully understand the risks and safety procedures unique to their jobs, each department runs a toolbox safety briefing at the start of each shift, providing a daily reminder of safety procedures or a focus on a particular topic. Departments also manage pre-shift equipment inspections and use of personal protective equipment. Each department has its own specialised training modules and we also run site and groupwide programmes.
The final prong of our approach is supporting a holistic safety culture that encourages every
person to take responsibility for the safety of themselves and those around them. We do this
through compulsory safety induction programmes for all workers, contractors and visitors and by encouraging employees to challenge people if they think the correct safety equipment or procedures aren’t being used. We also conduct random audits to check our workers understanding of correct safety procedures and condition of personal protective equipment (PPE).
When an incident occurs, the relevant safety, health and environment (SHE) teams assess the incident and ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken. We take care to ensure signage includes local languages and is explained to illiterate workers. All mines have an emergency preparedness and response plan and undertake evacuation drills and equipment testing throughout the year. Following drills, any sub-standard employees’ reaction is addressed through training and awareness work. Our underground projects both have specially trained mine rescue teams on site with specialist equipment.
We have a zero tolerance policy for drug and alcohol use and unsafe behaviour on site, and conduct random breath testing across all sites. Any failure results in disciplinary action.
After a disappointing rise in the LTIFR during 2015, we intensified our focus on safety throughout 2016, and we are pleased to report a 22% drop in LTIFR to 0.46 per million hours worked.
This represents our lowest LTIFR in 21 years of operation, and was bolstered by a group wide LTI
free quarter three. We also recorded a 17% drop in our Total Injury Frequency Rate (TIFR) and, most importantly, we recorded a fatality-free year. However, one disappointment was that Morila and Gounkoto did not repeat their 2015 achievement of an LTI-free year.
Group-Level Safety Performance
We attribute the improvements in safety performance in part to the additional training and awareness raising campaigns provided in 2016. For example at Tongon we ran awareness campaigns on safe scaffolding, motorbike safety and risk assessment, and at Kibali we ran training on first aid, supervisor awareness, defensive driving, basic life support and refresher training for our mine rescue teams. At group level, 146 senior management staff attended the ‘Managing Safely’ training course run by the British Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH).
Many parts of the gold mining process expose our employees to occupational health hazards such as dust inhalation or noise exposure. If left unchecked, these issues can develop into serious health problems for our workers. For example, without proper controls in place long term exposure to high levels of silica or diesel particulate matter can lead to respiratory illnesses like occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis, silicosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – though symptoms may not appear for years.
To prevent and manage these risks we take a number of steps, including regular site risk
assessments, engineering controls such as dust collection systems and ventilation systems and use of PPE. We regularly monitor occupational hygiene levels to ensure adequate control measures are in place, and adjust them where necessary. These efforts are complemented with regular medical checks for all employees, including prior to employment and at exit.
Our annual medical checks monitor for musculoskeletal disorders, loss of hearing, respiratory and breathing issues such as silicosis and tuberculosis. Staff who are potentially exposed to chemicals and heavy metals also receive biological and radiation testing.
Our clinics successfully completed occupationbased specific checks on all prospective workers,
and access to our mines is conditional upon the possession of a valid fitness certificate. We also
continued to raise awareness of the danger of fatigue as a cause of accidents.
There were two new cases of occupational health conditions across the group in 2016, both were musculoskeletal disorders and are undergoing treatment. There were also two new cases of tuberculosis with remedial measures undertaken including immediate isolation and treatment and medical surveillance of co-workers. We also began screening for Hepatitis B as detailed in the case study on page 129 of the Annual Report 2016.
Recruiting and retaining the best talent from our host countries
One of the most important bonds in our partnership with host countries and communities is the high level of national residents we employ. We have a group target for at least 80% of our workforce to come from host countries, and we support the development of talent that can lock in the world-class skills needed for sustainable development goals to succeed in Africa.
It is a strategy that helps create an effective and loyal workforce at a relatively low cost base,
cements strong community relations and fosters a secure environment for our mines.
To recruit the best candidates from our host countries and communities we use tools such as psychometric tests that match competencies with the right roles. And to support high retention rates we provide shared ownership schemes, support and respect local cultures and drive a formal and informal training programme to nurture careers and employee excellence.
The Randgold workforce is an essential partner in the business. We have high retention rates with a voluntary staff turnover of less than 2% in 2016, and we take pride in the number of employees who feel that Randgold is ‘my company’. Randgold also supports several initiatives to foster a culture of shared ownership and shared responsibility.
These include share and bonus schemes for both senior and ordinary employees. Senior employees share ownership of the company through a share system based on a three-year vesting policy. Ordinary employees are awarded a range of incentives such as an efficiency bonus - based in part on safety performance, production and excellency bonuses.
A key milestone achieved in 2016 was the launch of our In Reach programme to improve the flow of information to employees and create ambassadors within the business. It aims to further increase both shared ownership and workforce communications. The owner mining initiative highlighted in last year’s sustainability report continued its progress at Loulo’s underground mine in 2016.
Training and Succession Planning
Excellent training is key to our sustainability. We manage a variety of formal and informal training programmes designed to deliver the skills required to run a world-class gold mining business.
Informal training is constant in the Randgold culture and includes skills shadowing, mentoring
and on the job training. Formal training includes partnership arrangements with top ranking global universities such as Harvard School of Business, London Business School and the Graduate School of Business in Cape Town, as well as executive development certifications such as our ‘finance for non-financial managers’ course.
Prioritisation of skills development is based on our succession planning – including a board approved matrix that develops workforce skills to plug emerging gaps. We constantly monitor and re-assess both employees and our own training programmes, and support the cross-pollination of opportunities across the group operations.
There was a sevenfold increase in the number of employees receiving formal training in 2016 with 2 218 employees receiving training (approximately 19% of our workforce), compared to 302 people in 2015. We invested over $870 000 in these programmes.
Alongside formal training, our workforce received significant informal training – such as skills
shadowing. The value of this can be difficult to quantify, however, we estimate that each full time employee at our mines receives approximately 24 hours of informal training and skills development every year.
We also welcomed approximately 600 local student stagiaires to participate in practical training sessions across all our operations.
The right to freedom of association is enshrined in law in all our countries of operation and we welcome all forms of labour union representation among our workforce. Our partnership approach underpins all our industrial relations.
Union representatives participate in the leadership of our mines for example by attending each mine’s quarterly board meetings, and are able to view and comment on management’s presentations and voice any general issues of concern. They also participate in management cost reviews and regular dialogues with each mine’s general manager.
A key policy in our prevention of strikes and stoppages is the signing of a Mine Level Agreement
(MLA) at each mine that is reviewed every three years. MLAs are agreed between the local unions and management and set out mutually agreed rules for each mine on detailed items such as salary increments or the parameters of acceptable behaviour in a strike situation.
We estimate that approximately 85% of our employees are union members with the remaining
15% set apart only due to a long term incentive programme we introduced for senior employees.
The MLAs for both Loulo and Tongon mines were signed and renewed for another three years in 2016. A small number of positions were retrenched in 2016 as part of closure planning for our Morila mine, which is due to cease operational life in 2019.
Randgold is an equal opportunity employer, and we have transparent non-discrimination policies in place and actively encourage women to apply for jobs with us.
We find, however, that attracting women to mining in our countries of operation tends to be difficult as gender norms, cultural traditions and legislative barriers can all deter women from working in the extractives sector.
In 2016, our workforce (including contractors) included 624 women, employed in positions such
as geologists, electricians, procurement, accounts and operations. In total, 131 women or 21% of
our female workforce are at management and supervisory level and 493 are general workers.
Women make up 5% of our total workforce and they have pay parity with men.
Plans and priorities for 2017
Despite the positive progress on safety this year, we want to continue to raise the bar and drive
performance towards our goal of zero lost time injuries in 2017. This is a top priority for 2017 and
will require constant renewal and awareness-raising of our safety culture by all members of the workforce daily.
Next year will see the full results of our occupational health hygiene surveys published at Loulo,
Gounkoto and Kibali and we will develop critical control management plans (CCMPs) to ensure our workers exposure to contaminants is minimised based on these results, both at Loulo and across the group. We will also continue to roll out screening for Hepatitis B as required.
Building on our stable industrial and labour relations in 2017 will include the introduction of an employee satisfaction measurement survey at Kibali and across the group. Recreating Kibali’s successful relocation of the ASM community at the Loulo-Gounkoto complex will be another major challenge for us in 2017.