So far this year 17 fatalities and 881 injuries on duty have been recorded in the mining industry, compared to 35 and 1,056 respectively the previous year. While safety is improving, Zero Harm and the sentiments that one injury or death during mining operations is one too many is still some distance off.
The fatality frequency ratio of deaths per million hours worked in South Africa in the first quarter of 2019 was 0.04. This is double the number reported by mining countries such as Canada at 0.02 and four times that of Australia at 0.01.
The Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) has taken steps to ensure miners are kept safe. These steps include training in seismology so seismic activities underground can be detected before they spell danger. More innovative thinking and ideas are needed to ensure safety for workers while increasing production and creating more jobs.
Mine safety is not only a job for the DME but also the responsibility of all stakeholders, including organised labour and the mining companies themselves. “No one wants to invest where people die,’’ Peter Major, head of mining at Mergence Corporate Solutions said in a Daily Maverickreport. It is in the interest of mining companies to reduce/eliminate incidents that make them unattractive to investment from would-be investors. They have a reputation to maintain.
So, let’s all work together to make mining safer, increase production and create jobs.
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