A DMR mining health and safety inspection blitz in the first quarter of 2015, respondes to predicatable fatalities and injuries in January to March.
The first SA mining death of 2015 was early on 2 January. Mpumalanga principle inspector of mines, Elliot Letsoko, said more than 40% of fatal and injury incidents occur in the first quarter, or ‘silly season’ of the year.
ADT fatality on 2 January 2015
At 2am on 2 January 2015, an articulated dump truck (ADT) operator in a mine in Mpumalanga on a down ramp to the loading area, hit the left sidewall with a front wheel. The vehicle swayed to the right, crossed over a berm, and rolled five times to the bottom benches. The cabin caught fire and the operator died.
Some mines did not take a festive season break from about 24 December to about 5 January as customary, but continued working all shifts.
Moving machinery remains one of the highest risks in mining, despite a series of interventions by operators and Chamber of Mines structures.
Last year, first quarter operations claimed four of the nine lives lost in mining in Mpumalanga during the year, while there were no work deaths in the last quarter.
Letsoko listed causes of incidents as including;
 shift fatigue
 alcohol or drugs abuse
 supervision slack on overtime
 production incentives pressure
 complacency or lack of focus
He advised employers to manage shift scheduling or workers, test for alcohol and drugs, raise supervision on night shift, reduce production incentives pressure, co-operate with organised labour, and maintain focus on health and safety management.
• Source; SA DMR Mpumalanga.
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