Connect with us:
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable gold mining

Health, Safety & Wellness

Our promise that “if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine” stands. We remain determined to demonstrate that gold mining, whether carried out above ground or below ground, can be carried out at less risk to employees, bearing in mind that mining has inherent risks to health and safety. We will continue to work towards minimising these risks.

All our regions are required to have health, safety and wellness strategies and associated action plans in place. The strategies and plans include the following key elements:

  • Occupational safety
    – Occupational Hygiene
    – Occupational Medicine
  • Occupational health
    – Lifestyle
  • Community Health and Wellbeing
  • Safety
  • Structures and Resourcing
  • Reporting


Gold Fields continues to uphold its promise, ‘if we cannot mine safely, we will not mine’. This reflects the need to minimise any potential negative impact on our employees and contractors, maintain operational continuity and protect the Company’s reputation. Gold Fields’ Group annual performance bonus contains a significant safety component. Furthermore, maintaining safe and healthy working conditions is a key compliance issue for the Company.

As stated in our Occupational Health and Safety Policy, Gold Fields strives for ‘Zero Harm’ at all of our operations and to minimise occupational health and safety hazards. All of the Group’s operations are certified to the OHSAS 18001 international health and safety management system standard.

The work on safety and wellness is integral to our operational discipline and is accepted as the foundation for improved operational performance. As such, there is no conflict between pursuing safety and productivity at the same time.

Safety Management

Gold Fields remains vigilant and continues to introduce and monitor proactive measures to build on progress made in our safety performance.

Tragically, one fatality occurred during the year when Vakele Thafeni, an employee learner miner, was killed after a 1.5 magnitude seismic event caused an underground rock burst at our South Deep mine. Subsequent to year-end we had two further fatalities at South Deep. Thankslord Bekwayo, a dump truck operator, was killed in an underground accident on 1 January involving the truck he was driving, while Nceba Mehlwana, a locomotive driver, was fatally injured during a tramming accident on 16 February. Our heartfelt condolences go out to the families, friends and colleagues of Messrs Thafeni, Bekwayo and Mehlwana.

Our target for 2016 was to improve the safety record by 10% and work towards zero harm by implementing and tracking behavioural-based safety programmes. Our safety performance shows a 33% improvement in the Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate (TRIFR) to 2.27 incidents per million hours worked in 2016 from 3.40 in 2015. This is a significant achievement and is the lowest TRIFR rate at Gold Fields since 2013 when the International Council on Mining & Metals adopted the measure as the most accurate gauge of safety performance. Our TRIFR rate in 2013 was 4.14, while the number of recordable injuries since then has declined from 181 in 2013 to 124 in 2016. Of the 124 injuries, 76 were employee injuries (2015: 100) and 48 were contractor injuries (2015: 74).

During 2016, each of our eight operations reported an improvement in their TRIFR rate, a tribute to the behaviour-based safety programmes in place across the Company. Our work at embedding these into our day-to-day performance, along with visible management leadership on the ground, continues.

For more details view our latest Integrated Annual Report 2016.

Health and Wellness

Gold Fields is committed to reducing the exposure of its employees to occupational health risks, including those associated with air quality, silicosis, tuberculosis, diesel particulate matters and hearing loss. As such, each region has implemented occupational health and hygiene monitoring for diesel particulates, respirable and silica dust, other airborne pollutants, radiation and noise. Particular emphasis is placed on managing the underground working environments in Gold Fields’ Australian and South African operations, due to the heightened health risks that underground mining poses to workers.

All of Gold Fields’ regions run dedicated wellness programmes, tailored to both the national and local context of each mining operation. These programmes aim to identify and manage chronic medical conditions within the workforce, whilst also maximising its productive capacity and reducing absenteeism.

For more details view our latest Integrated Annual Report 2016.