Occupational health medicals of mineworkers are done frequently enough in South Africa, affirms occupational health service Working Knowledge International (WKI).
WKI MD Suzette Pelser says that South African mines have not decreased the regularity of medicals as a result of the mining downturn, because mines are still subjected to regular compliance audits and inspections by the Department of Mineral Resources.
If occupational health medicals of mine-workers are not performed properly and as often as required, mining companies are at risk of legal damages, as they run the risk of increased injury to employees.
“The consequences of not doing regular health check-ups are numerous and include the loss of production, poor work performance, increased risk of accidents, reputational risk to the mine, and financial loss owing to broken equipment and unforeseen medical expenses,” Pelser explains.
Mines are expected to provide a service to employees by monitoring chronic conditions. WKI visits mines that it services once a month and all employees with chronic conditions, such as hypertension, diabetes, HIV and tuberculosis, are seen.
The Gauteng-based company provides occu-pational health medicals that are risk-based, for mineworkers and other industry workers. These tests are essential for workers who are daily exposed to dangerous and hazardous conditions as part of their jobs.
“WKI educates miners through information sessions that cover HIV/Aids, hypertension, diabetes, malaria, the importance of treatment compliance, the value of good nutrition, personal hygiene and alcohol and drug abuse,” Pelser says.
If an employee is deemed healthy after all these tests have been performed, WKI issues a medical certificate that deems the employee medically fit.
Employees are referred by their employers throughout the year to the WKI occupational health clinic in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
There is currently only one WKI occupational health clinic; however, WKI has on-site medical capabilities, which allows the company to perform medical examinations and tests at mines, saving the mining company and its employees time and money. It is currently active at six mines across the country, with a steady increase in the number of mines and mineworkers every year.
Mineworkers are, as a result of these on-site services, able to undergo a set of full medical tests and a physical examination at their place of work, which includes hearing tests using a mobile audio booth.
“We have performed on-site examinations as far as Port Shepstone, in KwaZulu-Natal, and at isolated mines in the Northern Cape. If we can’t reach a specific location, we have other service providers that can help. if need be,” explains Pelser.
She says anyone that works in the machinery, construction, mining, transport or steel industries can benefit from the use of the WKI occupational health clinic or on-site medical examinations.
“We are passionate about our clients and their employees. We want to give everyone the best-quality service we can and ensure the early diagnosis and intervention of diseases and life-threatening conditions. We hope to help employees stay fit for the work they are doing,” concludes Pelser.