Workshop to tackle mine safety

Kea' Modimoeng

Kea' Modimoeng

The Chamber of Mines will today host a workshop at Gold Fields' Kloof Mine in Johannesburg.

The workshop aims to raise awareness about the mining industry's practice to reduce dust in underground working areas.

This initiative is one of three which have been piloted by the Chamber of Mines since January last year to reduce harm to people from falls of ground, noise-induced hearing loss and from dust.

It is known as the Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health Leading Practice Initiative and is said to be the biggest initiative of its kind undertaken in this country.

At the 2003 Mine Health and Safety Council Summit, it was agreed that there should be an elimination of the occurrence of new cases of silicosis and noise-induced hearing loss by 2013.

Chamber of Mines spokesperson Jabu Maphalala said this workshop was the first step in the Chamber of Mines' industry roll-out of the leading practice on reducing harm caused by silica dust (which leads to Silicosis) to mine workers.

"This dust initiative has been piloted over the past year by the Chamber of Mines and its members. It forms part of the broader Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health Leading Practice Adoption System, which includes addressing harm to people through falls of ground and reducing incidents of noise-induced hearing loss.

"The workshop will also present tools to other industry players in implementing the lessons learned during the piloting process and thereby speed up the process of adopting identified and proven leading practices in militating against harm to people as a result of dust."

The first workshop to address noise-induced hearing loss was held in March this year.

According to the Mine Health and Safety Council, there were 1673 new cases of silicosis in 2007.

National Union of Mineworkers spokesperson Lesiba Seshoka said while the union appreciated the chamber's efforts, implementation needed to take place. "We hope the outcome will be implemented because the industry has a tendency of not implementing the outcomes of such workshops."