JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Minerals Council South Africa (MCSA), previously known as the Chamber of Mines, on Friday launched its National Day of Safety and Health in Mining 2018, which will see 66 MCSA member companies hosting safety and health days at each of their operations in the next month.
The launch of the National Safety and Health Day in Mining 2018 reaffirms the industry’s commitment towards the zero-harm goal and ensuring that all employees can go to work in the knowledge that they will safely return home every day.
The campaign launch follows after the regression in the industry’s safety performance since 2017, despite having achieved an 88% decrease in fatalities between 1993 and 2016.
Fifty-eight people have been killed in South Africa’s mines, so far, this year.
The MCSA believes the current situation is unsatisfactory, and is further intensifying its work with its members to address both the spate of recent accidents, and the need to go further towards the elimination of all accidents and incidents at work.
The recommitment and reaffirmation is “much more than the dedication of a single day to health and safety”, said MCSA CEO Roger Baxter, who added that the multiple fatalities from disasters have compounded the industry’s safety performance this year.
In turn, this had led to the MCSA increasing its focus on critical engineering controls to effectively address these events.
MCSA VP Andile Sangqu, meanwhile, said that through the work of the Mine Health and Safety Council, the MCSA has set targets that need to be achieved by 2024 in relation to safety and health.
“On this day, as we launch the safety and health day campaign, we publicly commit ourselves to our goal and to the goal of our tripartite partners of zero harm, which is that all employees must go to work in the knowledge and expectation that they will return home, every day, safely and unharmed”.
While an active collaboration is needed between management, employees and regulators, Baxter pointed out that a Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health Fall of Ground task team has also been established.
This task team, he explained, is developing leading practices on rock bursts, also called fall-of-ground incidents, which are the main cause of fatalities in the industry.
Addressing fall-of-ground incidents, particularly at deep-level mines, is an area that joint industry efforts have focused on most intensively over the past several years.
This focus is reflected in the more than R250-million that the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) has spent on research into seismic activity associated with deep level mines.
The research outcomes have led to new mine designs and methods and, until last year, continuous improvements in outcomes.
Further, in reaffirming its commitment to the campaign, CEO Zero Harm Forum chairperson Chris Griffith on Friday explained that the forum has continued its focus on fall-of-ground aspects, transport, machinery, as well as improving underlying health and safety cultural issues.
“As the CEOs of the mining industry in South Africa, we remain committed to sharing and learning from each other and to rapidly deploy best practice to ensure that we can achieve our goal of sending all our employees safely home to their families at the end of each working day,” he said.