The South African Chamber of Mines has called on all stakeholders to re-affirm their commitment to and to remain focused on achieving ‘zero harm’, by ensuring that employees return home safely to their families at the end of every day.
The industry lobby group was responding to a ‘picket’ at its offices on Thursday by a small group of members of Cosatu and the National Union of Mineworkers.
Addressing fall of ground incidents, particularly at deep-level mines, the Chamber said, “Great strides have been made towards achieving the collective goal of zero harm. Between 1993 and 2016, the number of fatalities across the industry declined by around 88% while fatalities as a result of fall of ground incidents declined by 92% over the same period.
“Other safety indicators improved at similar rates.”
The Chamber noted that fall of ground incidents remain an area that joint industry efforts have focused on most intensively over the past several years.
“Through the Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC), significant resources have been invested and far-reaching research has been done to address this.
“Over R150 million has been invested in falls of ground research and more than R250 million has been spent on research into the seismicity associated with our deep-level mines. A further R40 million has led to new mine designs methods.”
The Chamber said it would continue to engage with all its tripartite partners including the Department of Mineral Resources and organised labour on various platforms to identify and address safety challenges.
“As employers, the industry fully accepts its role and responsibilities in achieving the goal of zero harm. Ensuring the safety and health of all mining employees requires active collaboration between management, employees and regulators,” the group concluded.