Health and Wellness
Kinross has developed a comprehensive set of standards and guidelines to assist our operations in minimizing potential occupational health risks at our mines.
We provide training, instructions, procedures and protective equipment to address such issues as hearing and respiratory protection, thermal stress, industrial hygiene, ergonomics and occupational health. We regularly monitor our employees and contractors for exposure to occupational health hazards.
Each of our sites is required to conduct regular risk assessments of potential health issues. When issues are identified, formal occupational health and industrial hygiene programs are developed and implemented. For example, we provide basic testing for tuberculosis at our Chirano, Tasiast and Fruta del Norte sites, which are located in regions where tuberculosis is endemic. At Chirano, we provide malaria prevention and treatment services to our employees and the community. For more information, see Case Study 6: The Chirano Malaria Control Program.
To ensure safe working conditions across our global operations, regular testing of workplace air quality is supported by biological monitoring campaigns for workers with duties that potentially increase their risk of exposure to workplace contaminants. Operations set thresholds for contaminants of interest that are much lower than the basic international standards in order to take precautionary actions to protect workers’ health. For example, in 2011, two contract workers in the independently operated assay lab at Tasiast exceeded this conservative early warning for blood levels of lead but did not exceed the applicable international standard. In fact, all workers at the Tasiast assay lab have consistently tested within internationally accepted safe limits for blood lead levels. As a precaution, the affected workers were temporarily removed from the area of potential exposure and re-assigned to other duties while they and their colleagues were re-tested. Three doctors have independently confirmed that the results for all employees are within safe levels and that no laboratory employees are at risk. Since that time, Tasiast has commissioned a new assay laboratory equipped with state-of-the-art workplace ventilation.
In addition to these programs, our operations at Kupol, Tasiast and Fruta del Norte are supported through memberships with International SOS, which helps us manage health care through guidance, programming and staffing. In 2011, International SOS undertook a baseline health risk assessment at Tasiast. The results provided input into our pre-access medical assessments for employees and informed the development of a new medical clinic. The new facility dramatically increases the level of health care at the site and provides acute medical care for members of the local nomadic community.
We provide emergency medical assistance (including evacuation) to out-of-country employees and contractors in remote locations and, in 2010, we implemented a fatigue management standard to address on-the-job fatigue that can occur in high-altitude locations or result from shift work.
Our employee assistance program offers a full range of counselling services regarding emotional well-being, family issues, addiction and recovery, financial planning and retirement. This program is available to our North American and expatriate employees at no cost.
Early in 2010, we began the implementation of a wellness program to raise awareness of, and advocate for, the importance of good nutrition and exercise. In addition to making this and other health and wellness information available at our mining operations, most of our sites offer a range of wellness programs that are specific to their unique needs and priorities.
In 2011, our U.S. employees were offered several wellness tools to help them reap healthy living rewards. In conjunction with their Consumer Driven Health Plan and Health Savings Accounts, a U.S. employee receives incentive points by participating in wellness-related activities. For example, early in 2012, employees were able to earn incentive points if they ate a healthy breakfast every morning for one month. A second challenge motivated employees to switch from caffeinated drinks to water. When a specific number of incentive points are accumulated, the employee receives a reduction on health premiums for the next year.