Our operation made significant improvements across all key safety metrics this year. Rössing Uranium has reached a milestone with its AIFR, which has decreased to 0.36 against a target of 0.46. The mine had an outstanding performance with its near misses, crew projects, fire incidents and Critical Risk Management assessment. Potentially fatal injuries reduced from three in 2022 to only one in 2023.

Rössing recorded a year free of fatalities, permanent disabling injuries and significant process safety incidents. We strongly believe that all incidents, injuries and occupational diseases, are preventable and we are striving towards the goal of zero harm.

Below a summary of Rössing’s safety performance for 2023:

* The Rössing AIFR is calculated by multiplying the number of LDI (lost day injuries) + MTC (medical treatment cases) by 200,000 and then divide result by the total number of hours worked.

Highlights and safety initiatives

  • Our near miss recording target was met and exceeded with outstanding performance. The logging of significant housekeeping competition audit findings and “fixed in the field” critical risk actions as near misses were big contributors to this outstanding performance. This demonstrated system maturity and an advancement of the Rössing HSSEC management system.
  • Safety initiatives to make the workplace safer (alias crew projects) 2023 targets were met and exceeded with outstanding performance. Significant and notable safety improvements were made in the workplace.
  • The company has rolled out a housekeeping improvement programme with different monthly themes and participation of the different workplaces was notable.
  • ISO 14001 re-certification audit was carried out successfully in March 2023, with one minor non-conformance reported (NCRs). The latter was closed out. All NCRs were closed out within timeframe and Rössing has been recommended for certification.
  • ISO 45001 first surveillance audit was carried out in March 2023, with 15 minor NCRs reported. All NCRs were closed out within timeframe and Rössing retained certification.
  • First Party Assurance Dashboard sustained.
  • The confined space standard and code of practice was reviewed and implemented.
  • The actions that were identified with the railway audit in 2022 have been implemented and have made a big contribution to rail safety. A Phase 2 approach to long-term actions will take place in 2024.
  • Statutory inspection of lifting equipment and pressure vessels remains important to the company and is tracked monthly via maintenance tactics.
  • A new incident management system was investigated and approved to be deployed in 2024.

Safety initiatives

Rössing Uranium has engaged the professional services of an external consultant to do a deep dive into the mine’s fire safety systems and equipment. This deep dive highlighted the gaps in the fire safety system. Phase 1 of the findings has been identified and implemented while Phase 2 will be implemented in 2024.

An eLearning course on risk management was drafted and uploaded onto the eLearning LMS web base. This learning module will be launched and rolled out to the employees in 2024.

A significant campaign was launched to train and onboard the recently appointed mining contractor. The employees of the contractor have been equipped with training on the following training modules: HSE induction, Critical Risk Management, Integrated Permit to Work systems, Lockout/Tagout/Test out, Silica dust, Heat stress, Open pit induction, and Fatigue Management.

Electronic blasting for our mining operations was investigated and successfully implemented.

A new initiative was applied to vehicle safety. The vehicles and driving action plan for 2023 was successfully rolled out, which included reduction of vehicles leaving site, traffic patrols, the management of traffic in the pit, awareness of safe driving and compliance with traffic rules and regulations.

HSSE document control and communication

SharePoint sustained and co-ordinated the project ensuring all health, safety, security, and environment (“HSSE”) standard instructions, policies and codes of practice are updated, rebranded, and aligned.

Respective HSE management system documents were reviewed in SharePoint. Rössing HSSE electronic forms were rolled out and embedded – the system works very well.

A communications framework is in place (GM’s HSE management meeting, MD quarterly business updates, managers’ monthly comms, HSSE Committee meetings).