Business & Economy

Tuesday, 11 February 2020 09:36

Minerals Council releases fact sheet on safety in mining for 2019

Written by 

by Kenneth Coster, Partner and Shane Johnson, Professional Support Lawyer at Webber Wentzel

​​​The Minerals Council South Africa (Minerals Council) has recently published its safety in mining fact sheet that summarises the state of safety in the South African mining industry for 2019. The fact sheet also highlights the recent commitments made in the mining industry to achieving zero harm across all mining operations in the country.

Over the years, the implementation of various health and safety initiatives has led to the mining industry experiencing a 92% overall decline in the number of fatalities between 1993 and 2019 as well as a 72% decline in injuries during this same period -

(Source: Minerals Council South Africa Safety In Mining Fact Sheet, January 2020)

Since 1995, there has also been a sharp decline in the number of fall of ground and transport and mining incidents causing fatalities -

(Source: Minerals Council South Africa Safety In Mining Fact Sheet, January 2020)

In 2017, the mining industry experienced its first regression in the number of fatalities in 10 years, as 90 miners lost their lives. A number of new health and safety measures were introduced by the Mineral Council Board to curb this regression in safety.  Amongst these new measures, is the Khumbul’ekhaya strategy which has the following broad aims -

The Khumbul’ekhaya strategy has been implemented in many operations around South Africa and it has contributed to the 37% decline in fatalities since 2017.
An emphasis has also been placed on modernisation as a key driving force to limit accidents occurring at mines.

However, the industry still experienced an increase in the number of incidents relating to seismic activity, fall of ground and fire incidents since 2017. Through collaboration between the Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health fall of ground task team and the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) new and leading practices are being developed to deal with these incidents.

The MHSC has spent over ZAR250 million on research into seismic activity associated with deep-level mining. In addition to this, ZAR40 million was spent on fundamental and applied research and technology transfer. This has resulted in improvements in mine design and underground support methods, which has led to the decrease in fall of ground related fatalities as indicated by the graph above.

If you would like to read the Minerals Council Fact Sheet, click here​.

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