At the recently ended Institute of Quarrying South Africa’s (IQSA) 50th Annual Conference, Chief Inspector of Mines David Msiza noted that health and safety trends are improving on South African mines.
He noted that fatalities recorded between 1 January 2019 and 8 April 2019 had decreased by 57% compared with the same period last year. A total of nine fatalities have been recorded thus far, compared with 21 during the same period in 2018.
Injuries have seen a 19% reduction between 1 January and 8 April 2019, compared with the same period last year. A total of 546 injuries have been reported during the period this year, compared with 676 during the same period last year.
In terms of fatalities, the gold sector has seen a huge 80% reduction. The sector had recorded two fatalities by 8 April this year, compared with 10 during the same period last year. The platinum sector saw a 25% reduction, with three fatalities this year, compared with four during the same period in 2018. Fatalities in the coal sector went down 75%, from four last year to one this year (by 8 April 2019).
In terms of injuries, the gold sector has also seen a significant 52% reduction in its numbers during the period from 1 January to 8 April 2019. A total of 125 injuries have been recorded this year, compared with 261 during the same period last year. The platinum sector, however, saw a slight increase in its injury incidents, from 283 last year to 287 this year. The coal industry’s incidents have also gone up 18%, from 56 last year, to 66 this year.
Moving into a third consecutive year without a fatality, members of surface mining industry association, Aspasa, are leading the way as far as health and safety at operations is concerned. The association’s members have played a significant part in reducing injuries and fatalities as part of the industry’s journey to Zero Harm by 2020.
Traditionally, Aspasa represented members in the sand and aggregates industry only, but in recent years membership has been broadened to include all surface mines. Currently, the association mainly represents members in the non-precious metal, stone and coal industries.
“The DMR will continue to collaborate with all the tripartite stakeholders in implementing effective measures to ensure that the goal of Zero Harm by 2020 is achieved,” says Msiza.