Safe and well at work

We rolled out health assessments for staff nationwide in a holistic approach to the health and wellbeing of our people, starting with physical health. This programme has awakened personal attention on fitness and wellness, at work and in daily life.

Over the last two years we have helped some of our workers identify potentially serious health problems through a fit-forpurpose mining medical assessment system that we developed. This was a natural progression from the passing of the Health and Safety at Work Act in 2015 and its General Risk and Workplace Management Regulations in 2016.

Early on we realised we held limited data on our employees’ personal health risks such as acute and chronic diseases that may create safety risks within the workplace. So we created a health baseline for our workforce, and asked ourselves whether unmanaged health conditions were bringing safety risks into the workplace. We developed a risk profile for an ageing workforce, and a study of how health risks to these people had changed since they started working at our sites.

We set a vision: people must be fit for their role, especially for those undertaking tasks where the risk to themselves or others is higher, should they experience a health issue.

The results

This time last year we had covered 75 percent of the workforce. We now have key results for the majority of full time and parttime employees at operational sites as at 30 June 2020. The fitness for work categories from initial results were:

  • A (fit for work) – 56.1 percent.
  • B (fit for work with conditions) – 39.2 percent.
  • C (temporarily unfit for work) - 4.3 percent.
  • D (permanently unfit for work) - 0.4 percent.

Categories B and C have health management agreements drawn up to support the person’s health. That can include assignment to light duties until the person has improved their fitness for work status.

Encouraging people to talk about their health raised awareness of specific conditions. We know that for some people this was truly life altering, especially for heart disease cases that were identified. To date the programme has identified ten people who required surgery, including several for coronary angioplasty (stents).

Overall, the most common medical conditions among our employees are heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and sleep apnoea.

Spotlight on obesity

The Body Mass Index (“BMI”) is a measure of the proportion of body fat to total body weight. In our workforce, 28.5 percent have a BMI of more than 30, which means they are obese. This is slightly less than the New Zealand population estimate of 30.9 percent.

We are actively improving obesity rates among our people with individual mine managers applying their own proactive measures. These measures vary site to site, and include providing free fresh fruit and bottled water at work, holding an annual weight loss challenge, and encouraging worker participation in local fun runs and mountain biking events.

Raising the health awareness of our people has been truly life altering.