Safety – a Business Imperative


  • Kobus de Jager



advocacy, governance, safety, sustainability, systems, leadership, risk management


The safety performance in the South African mining industry has been a contentious issue for decades when compared to international benchmarks. Although mining safely has always been part of the mining business proposition, a step change was required as the unacceptable safety performance threatened the sustainability of mining. The South African mining industry has in recent times made significant inroads in improving safety as it is viewed as a business imperative to ensure long term sustainability. Fatalities reduced from 219 in 2007 to 73 in 2016, however, the industry recognises that much remains to be done as one fatality is one too many. Research was recently conducted to determine the emerging themes that resulted in the improved safety performance of six major South African gold and platinum deep level mines, between 2007 to 2016. It was concluded that the leadership of the mining companies followed a multi-tiered approach in order to reduce safety related incidents in mines. It is imperative to appreciate the element interdependencies of the ‘Zero Harm‘ safety approach in order to sustain the safety culture that is evolving in the South African mining industry.