Proactive management of employee health and safety has been elevated to a new normal due to Covid-19.
In South Africa, as previously suspected, the national Covid-19 testing capacity in both the public and private sector has come under severe strain as the pandemic progresses across the country. In response, Exxaro has invested in opportunities to increase the private testing capacity by setting-up two (2) Covid-19 PCR testing laboratories, one at Grootegeluk Mine’s Marapong occupational health facility in Lephalale, Limpopo; and the other at Matla Coal Mine’s occupational health centre in Kriel, Mpumalanga. These laboratories will be used for testing employees free of charge (as the company will cover the costs). In the event of an active case, isolation, and quarantine facilities in both the Limpopo and Mpumalanga have been made available.
Exxaro CEO Mxolisi Mgojo explains, “we are pleased with the commissioning of the two Covid-19 testing laboratories. The Exxaro Covid-19 laboratory at Matla will serve our operations in Mpumalanga, and the Seriti Coal Operations (New Denmark Colliery, New Vaal Colliery and New Largo Coal). Eskom has indicated an interest in testing their employees from the Matimba and Medupi Power stations in Lephalale, and at the Matla and Kriel Power stations in Mpumalanga. We envisage that these facilities will also support the local public health departments in our host communities.”
As of 31 August, the total number of Covid-19 tests conducted through these testing labs surpassed the 100 mark. Mgojo adds that the diversified resources company is employing risk assessments across all operations to ensure that Exxaro remains focused on the zero-harm vision – which forms part of the business’ Khetha Ukhuphepha campaign – and sustains the current record safety performance of 41 months without any fatalities, whilst systematically ramping up production.
These testing Covid-19 laboratories form a critical part of Exxaro’s Health and Wellness Strategy, which has identified early diagnosis of Covid-19 as a critical intervention in managing the pandemic. This will help to avoid and contain the spread of this contagious virus.
“Whilst the national infection rate trend is encouraging, we need to remain vigilant, and not drop our guard, especially considering the further easing of lockdowns to level 2. Let us continue to be responsible in adhering to the protocols that have been instituted by government, and those we have established at our various operations. It is only through working together that we will overcome this pandemic,” concluded Mgojo.