Last month, the Department of Mineral Resources and its tripartite stakeholders concluded the Mine Health and Safety Summit with a commitment to strive for zero harm.
The objective of the summit was to review the health and safety performance of the mining sector and to develop strategies to accelerate the achievement of the goal of zero harm.
According to the department, the ten years to 2017 were positive for the sector, as it recorded a downward trend in fatalities.
The upward movement seen at the end of 2017 is therefore concerning and requires decisive intervention.
Unfortunately, while the summit was in progress, five workers lost their lives owing to mine accidents.
This means that 74 workers have lost their lives this year.
The department has since dispatched a team of inspectors to the respective sites to commence with in-loco inspections.
These most recent accidents challenge the stakeholders to work with even more urgency in resolving the challenges the industry faces that impede it from reaching the goal of zero harm.Historical data on mine accidents has revealed that above 27% of occupational fatalities reported on an annual basis occur during the last quarter of the calendar year.
As we move towards the end of the year, it is critical that employers, employees and the department remain extra vigilant, says the department.