De Beers’ Venetia diamond mine has opened a new on-site heat tolerance screening (HTS) facility as part of its ongoing efforts to ensure the safety of its workers.
The new facility, which was built by a local small business, will dramatically reduce the amount of time spent travelling to other facilities, as well as lost production time, said Sean Haupt, Occupational Hygiene & EMS Manager at the Venetia Underground Project.
“The completion of our new HTS facility is a significant milestone on our journey to building a world-class mechanised underground mine. To ensure that our people are fit enough to handle hot and humid conditions underground, they must undergo strict testing, which involves a heat tolerance test as well as various functional fitness tests,” said Haupt.
South Africa’s largest diamond mine, Venetia is currently transitioning from being an open pit mine to an underground mine in a project that will extend the life cycle of the mine by around 25 years.
The primary objective of HTS is to identify inherent heat intolerance – that is, an individual’s inability to shed body heat when working in hot and humid conditions. These levels of heat intolerance could be either temporary or permanent, and the test allows medical personnel to make those distinctions, and provide a measure of physical fitness. This ensures that high-risk individuals will not be exposed to the underground working environment.
The opening of the new HTS comes ahead of Anglo American’s Global Safety Day, which is part of the company’s ongoing approach to safety, celebrated under this year’s theme of Safe to Always be Safe. Its goal is to create an injury and fatality free workplace, looking at innovative solutions to fully unlock every employee’s potential.
The facility was built by a local small business, Ravhuyani Construction and Projects, which did all the construction work, together with the services and landscaping in the area. In the process, valuable skills were transferred to the community.