Rudnik is a privately owned mining company that specialises in the production and processing of lead, zinc and copper ores. Upon privatisation in 2004, the company recognised that its safety and health management systems were inadequate, there was a lack of procedures for occupational safety and health, a lack of safety and health management, equipment was outdated and staff were insufficiently trained and lacked motivation, resulting in sickness, injuries and early retirement. The early retirement of highly skilled workers aged 45-50 was resulting in a further decrease in the level of skills and experience of the workforce. There were also concerns about the work ability of some older staff in their current roles. The company recognised the need to retain workers. Rudnik completely overhauled safety and health practices in the mine. To tackle the loss of skills resulting from early retirement, Rudnik employed 30 experienced professional miners from a neighbouring mine to train new employees and pass on their knowledge and experience of good safety and health practice in a mining setting. In addition, the company established an informal knowledge-sharing agreement with another mine operating in the region, widening the breadth of experience their employees could benefit from. A modern occupational safety and health system that complied with national guidelines was introduced, along with the provision of appropriate personal protective equipment. Occupational safety and health measures were introduced for all, with procedures and permanent improvements, including continuous training and regular risk assessment. A strong link between the company and the competent state authorities was established, ensuring that Rudnik receives ongoing suggestions for improving its safety and health practices. A trade union and an occupational safety and health committee were also established to ensure that employees’ opinions on safety and health matters would be heard. In addition to bringing conditions in the mine into line with best practice guidelines, Rudnik also wanted to invest in its employees to ensure their continued safety and health and, where possible, to reduce early retirement. Rudnik has implemented a voluntary insurance policy to cover occupational injuries and illnesses. The company created a health-monitoring programme and performs regular medical screening for all workers. In addition, Rudnik has an agreement with a designated medical provider to manage occupational injuries and illnesses. Finally, Rudnik also marks Serbian Miners’ Day and, with the participation of the local authorities and the media, uses it to raise awareness of the importance of occupational safety and health in the mining sector. • A training system for miners was developed. • Occupational injuries have decreased significantly and no instances of occupational illness have been reported since privatisation. • Since implementation of the interventions, age at retirement has increased. • Implementation of safety and health practices has increased the attractiveness of the company as a workplace, with the rate of staff turnover decreasing as a result.
Level of Education: Continuing vocational education and training