Engineering News – Platinum mining company Implats said on Friday that it was ready for a “safe and orderly” start-up once it is given the go-ahead to resume full-scale production at its operations, where Covid-19 preventative safety and health measures had been significantly strengthened.
Internal planning to secure operational resilience during the coronavirus pandemic has been ongoing since January and a systematic increase in labour attendance had been planned at the Impala Rustenburg and Marula operations from 14 April in line with the permissions received from the regulator, the company said in a news release to Mining Weekly.
“We’ve been working tirelessly since the emergence of the virus to safeguard our employees and ensure the sustainability of our company,” Implats CEO Nico Muller stated.
Implats said that its operational strategy was aimed at securing the integrity of key infrastructure and facilitating a safe start-up once operations were cleared to resume.
The South African operations would advance measures to manage a gradual return to work from Friday, 17 April, responsibly, taking the precautionary measures necessary to protect employees. The management team continues to engage with the relevant authorities in this regard.
Regarding preventative measures, Implats said it had implemented and enforced several measures to provide protection to employees at work and had rolled out a number of programmes which have been in development internally since the threat of coronavirus emerged in January.
During lockdown, the following is being done:
- Stock levels of medical protective equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE) have been increased.
- Regular large-scale workplace disinfection is being performed.
- Screening and testing procedures have been implemented for all employees reporting to work to perform essential services.
- A meaningful increase in medical care preparedness has been achieved through enlarging the capacity of internal medical facilities in collaboration with industry peers, public-private partnerships, and local and regional medical institutions.
- Management teams have introduced operating procedures aimed at lowering the risk of viral infections in high-risk work areas and for vulnerable employees through improved hygiene, physical distancing in work and transport, additional PPE provision, and screening and testing procedures.
- The skin temperature of essential services employees is being scanned and where necessary, core temperature screening of employees is taking place ahead of their entry into work areas.
- Employees with abnormal temperatures would be isolated in dedicated areas at the operations and then transported to designated medical facilities for testing and diagnosis and, if necessary, quarantine or hospitalisation.
Implats said that a key part of its return-to-work strategy had been to identify potentially vulnerable employees and to institute additional specific precautionary measures to increase protection.
Such protection included the provision of vitamin and dietary supplements, flu vaccinations and critical medical screening.
In addition, employees had been provided with pre-packaged supplies of chronic medication for a period of six months to ensure high-risk employees did not need to visit hospitals or clinics during the coming six-month period.
Suitable temporary company accommodation was also being made available to employees unable to self-isolate or practise recommended physical distancing measures when not at work.