Wednesday, 8 April 2020

COVID-19 and Staying Safe

Veronica bucket donated to host community to assist with hygiene

Golden Star values and is committed to safety and employee wellbeing. Our people are our greatest asset and our management of the current COVID-19 pandemic must, to the greatest extent possible, protect our people and our host communities from the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as a result of our operations. As a major employer and therefore catalyst for rural economic stimulus in our host communities, we share the dual burden of knowing that our continued operations are also critical to the health and wellbeing of our workforce and the thousands of people that they support both directly and indirectly.

In recognition of these responsibilities, our COVID-19 management is highly prevention focussed and proactive. As a company we are working to provide leadership in COVID-19 management to our business partners, as well as working closely with our partners in the Ghana Health Services for the purposes of integrated management. Here is just some of what we’re doing:

Management Planning and Preparedness
  • Epidemic and Pandemic Management Plan updated prior to World Health Organization declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
  • Dedicated Ghana based Emergency Management Team established with Crisis Management Team established for oversight.
  • Daily situation monitoring supported by International SOS.
Chief Medical Officer meets with logistics team to discuss COVID-19 controls in their supply chains

Education and sensitization
  • Wide-spread education to workforce and host communities.
  • Open communication with Ghanaian Government and Union leadership.
COVID-19 education posters in the workplace

Access, Screening and Travel Restrictions
  • Site access and screening protocols in place since February have been effective in preventing access to our mines by people from known outbreak regions.
  • Proactively stopped international travel ahead of government travel bans.
  • Stopped in-bound travel into Ghana before any cases identified in Ghana.
  • Proactively required returning Ghanaian citizens and residents to undertake self-quarantine, prior to this being implemented as a Government initiative.
  • Proactively stopped travel between mine sites and Ghanaian epi-centres ahead of government lock-down of Accra, Kumasi and Kasoa.
  • Proactive cessation of all non-essential travel and transport by company vehicles.
Thermal screening has been implemented since the first case identified in Ghana

Hygiene and sanitation
  • Enhanced facilities for hand washing and sanitation implemented for Ebola have been maintained.
  • Employees who are ill are encouraged to stay at home.
  • Compulsory hand sanitizing stations.
Compulsory hand-sanitisation when getting on to company bus
  • Support to community including water tanks and Veronica buckets for hand washing.
  • Practicing physical distancing:
    • stopped non-essential meetings and gatherings; 
    • holding pre-start meetings outdoors wherever possible; 
    • additional buses to reduce bus seating density; and
    • additional eating areas and meal rosters to allow for greater distancing.
New hand-washing station established at Wassa underground

Medical preparedness
  • Primary medical preparedness activities implemented ahead of any cases in Ghana.
  • Targeted training for at-risk personnel (underlying medical conditions) and flexibility to enable them to self-quarantine as applicable.
Holding facility established at site for case management in event of suspected case

Flexibility and Wellbeing
  • London office started work from home ahead of UK government lock-down.
  • Proactively moved Accra office to work from home ahead of Ghana government lock-down.
  • Encourage employees to discuss flexible working or stay at home options, with leaders.
  • Leaders’ guidance documents to assist in communications with teams.
  • Extending leave for employees already on leave.
  • Supporting and providing access to programs for mental wellbeing of people working from home or in voluntary or imposed quarantine.
Hand washing at our Wassa underground

Let’s hear from the team about these controls and their importance.

Philipa Varris, EVP & Head of Sustainability
All over the world, leaders are struggling with how to protect the health and safety of their people from COVID-19, whilst at the same time, also protecting the health and safety for those same people that comes from livelihoods – the wellbeing that having work brings, the social security it creates and the wealth generation to lift people out of poverty.  In Ghana, and in Golden Star, we understand all these dimensions of health.
Within the Golden Star team, we also have these over-lapping responsibilities – to make sure everyone goes home safe and healthy every day, by ensuring that our operations do not bring COVID-19 into our host communities; and at the same time, to try and maintain our operations. 
This is something we could not do without the dedication and commitment of our team. It is because the Golden Star team have applied all the controls we have asked, that we are becoming stronger and more prepared. Thank you to you all. Ye betumi aye!

Dr. Solomon Dowdall, Chief Medical Officer – International SOS
Golden Star is taking a very proactive approach in tackling the potential harm of COVID-19, should it reach our region.
Education is a key preventative measure, with ongoing instruction on hand-washing and safe distancing, handling of goods and human interaction. Everyone at the operations are subject to ongoing screening of temperatures, symptoms, travel histories and contacts to ensure any potential cases are identified and managed early.
Our medical team is continuously updating our knowledge and strategies to be able to provide the safest workplace possible. Transit of people and goods are strictly monitored and minimized to reduce any risks of transmission into the area.
It is a pleasure and a privilege to work with such a focused team, with everybody doing their part to halt the march of this pandemic.

George Amankwah-Kumi, Group & Community Health Coordinator
It is very great to be involved in mobilizing our employees, their dependents and the catchment communities at large to protect themselves and practice basic personal hygiene such as frequent hand washing with soap and running water, the use of alcohol based hand sanitisers; and social distancing. 
It is amazing to observe the enthusiasm and swiftness with which these target groups have accepted these preventive measures as a way of life. 
I am more than convinced that together we will defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and stay healthy if we continue to keep to these basic preventive measures.




Boatemaa Hammond, Group Corporate Affairs Superintendent
The COVID-19 pandemic is not like anything we have seen before. Information keeps coming in and we have to modify our behavior to protect ourselves as well as those around us. 
As a team we need to try new things to reach employees and demonstrate our commitment to their safety and well-being. 
One of the new things we have been doing is making videos of our leaders where they talk about the current situation, the measures to be taken as a company and what each of us can do to ensure that we are safe. Everyone strongly believes that “we will come out of this is a stronger Golden Star”! Ayekoo to that! The videos have been so well received that we will likely continue this after COVID 19. 


If you'd like to find out more about Golden Star and its approach to CSR, please visit www.gsr.com/responsibility

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