Eskom’s safety principle is that no operating condition or urgency of service justifies exposing anyone to injury or safety or environmental risks arising out of Eskom’s business. This principle applies to all levels of the company, the public and the environment. Eskom’s safety performance is assessed in terms of the number of fatalities among employees and contractors for the year, and its lost-time incidence rate. The lost-time incidence rate is a proportional representation of the occurrence of lost-time injuries over 12 months per 200 000 working hours.

Safety performance indicators

Indicator and unit
Lost-time incidence rate (employees only), index 0.24   0.36   0.31   0.401   0.41    
Fatalities (employees and contractors), number 0   0   23   19   24    
Fatalities (public), number 0   0   33   29   34    

1. Two late classifications of LTIR incidents resulted in the LTIR for 2012/13 changing from 0.39 to 0.40.

Eskom’s internal safety measures are having a positive effect, with its lost-time incidence rate decreasing to 0.31 in 2013/14, from 0.40 in 2012/13. The company’s fatality count, however, remains high at five fatalities.

Regrettably, there were 18 contractor fatalities, six of whom died in an accident at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme in October 2013. Seven contractor employees were also seriously injured. Eskom is concluding an internal investigation into the incident. All work on the inclined high-pressure shaft has been stopped in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act (1996) pending review by the mine health and safety inspectorate. The statutory processes and reviews regarding this accident are still in progress. Refer to page 121 for more information.

Contractor management is one of Eskom’s occupational hygiene and safety strategic elements. Given the strategic importance of contractors across Eskom, substantial efforts are required to introduce safe systems of work across the entire organisation to ensure continual safety performance improvement in Eskom’s drive for zero harm.

A contractor safety performance analysis was conducted between April 2012 and December 2013. Historical workplace health and safety key performance indicators, covering contractor fatalities and lost-time incidents, were used as lag indicators to identify problem areas. The analysis highlighted motor vehicle accidents, falls from elevation, and “struck-by” incidents as the most common causes of incidents. The next step is to ensure that the contractor management strategy is aligned to address the areas identified.

Summary of main causes of fatalities for 2013/14

Cause of death
Vehicle accident, number 3   4   11  
Electrical contact, number 1   1   18  
Other causes (such as being struck by an object, caught between objects, falls), number 1   13   4  
Total fatalities, number 5   18   33  

Employee and contractor fatalities

Causes of employees and contractor fatalities during 2013/14
Causes of employees and contractor fatalities during 2013/14
Causes of employees and contractor fatalities during 2012/13
Causes of employees and contractor fatalities during 2012/13

Altogether 33 members of the public died in incidents linked to Eskom’s activities. Of these, 11 deaths were the result of motor-vehicle accidents, while the remaining fatalities were related to electrical contacts, including those as a result of criminal activities.

Eskom’s “zero harm” drive continues. Safety initiatives to mitigate the risks faced by employees, contractors and members of the public include:

Conducting safety audits of principal contractors every month as opposed to every six months
Devising contractor-management plans with safety performance targets
Improving procedures for reporting safety incidents and identifying root causes
Detailing specifications for personal protective equipment
Using simulators to train truck drivers in defensive and all-terrain driving
Running campaigns to improve driver safety awareness

Eskom continues to implement its industry-supported safety drive by restricting the transport of coal by road between Friday night and Sunday morning, as most coal transport-related road fatalities occurred between these times. Compared to previous periods, a decline was seen in the number of fatalities occurring over this period, with the majority of incidents caused by the public and not truck driver behaviour.

Life-saving Rules
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Nuclear safety

The social, ethics and sustainability committee is responsible for scrutinising safety at Eskom’s nuclear facility to ensure that it exceeds all regulatory and internal requirements and aligns with international best practice. The committee also makes recommendations on policies, strategies and guidelines relating to nuclear issues.

A nuclear safety review board, consisting of experienced international nuclear power experts was established in 2014 to provide an additional and independent expert view of the management and performance of the Koeberg nuclear power station. The chairperson of this review board provides a report on a six-monthly basis to the board social, ethics and sustainability committee.

All aspects of electricity production at the Koeberg nuclear power station are the responsibility of the Generation group executive. The nuclear safety assurance function is a separate department in the Generation division, with its own technical experts reporting directly to the Generation group executive. In line with global best practice, Eskom has a three-tier system of nuclear safety governance. The next international peer review will be in July 2014.