Mining safety statistics figures for 2016 have improved by 5% against the previous year, said the DMR.
There were 73 fatalities, compared to 77 the previous year, said Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane in Randfontein in January.
Gold mines suffered 30 deaths; platinum mines 27; coal mines four; and other mines 12 (see injuries and other mining safety statistics, in an earlier report on Sheqafarica.com, here:
Zwane said major gold and platinum mines remained the main contributors to fatal incidents. “This is regrettable, as we believe that these mines should be at the forefront in terms of the development of appropriate systems and expertise to enhance health and safety,” Zwane said.
The platinum sector reported an increase in the number of fatalities by 29%, from 21 to 27 in 2016.
Zwane said he had “serious concern that we continue to experience loss of lives in the mining sector. Already there are four fatalities that have been reported since the beginning of 2017,” referring to an incident in January.
He welcomed the decrease of 15% in the number of injuries, from 3138 to 2662 in 2016.
Mining occupational diseases reduced
It was encouraging that occupational diseases reported by the gold, other, and coal sectors, had reduced by 15%, 8%, and 4% respectively. Mining employers maintain several initiatives to enhance health and safety.
Minister Zwane said mining health and safety inspectors would “monitor and enforce compliance to health and safety measures at mines”, including “group audits and inspections.”
Mining group audits focus on the effectiveness of control measures, such as safety management systems to prevent rock falls, rock bursts, and transport equipment accidents.
DMR audits also evaluate mine management systems for preventing exposure of employees to noise and dust, against noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) and silicosis, both priorities to the department.
Mining inspectors also evaluate mining TB, HIV and Aids programmes, to ensure improvements.
“Mine inspectors are also checking whether employers are complying with Mining Charter commitments for improving living conditions of employees, and conversion of single gender hostels.”
Research had revealed that poor living conditions exacerbate Tuberculosis, HIV /Aids, and other health and safety challenges.