2015 sees ‘lowest-ever fatalities recorded in the mining sector’
The mineral resources ministry has said a total of 77 miners lost their lives last year‚ an 8% decrease from the 84 who died in 2014. At 33 deaths‚ the gold mining sector accounted for the most fatalities followed by platinum mines at 22 fatalities‚ coal mines at nine while other mines reported 17 deaths.More miners‚ 3116‚ were injured at work last year compared to the 2700 in 2014‚ with most injuries recorded in the gold mining sector at 1243.This is followed by the platinum sector with total of 1331 injuries‚ followed by coal mines with 207 injuries‚ with other mines reporting 350 injuries.Releasing the figures in Pretoria on Thursday‚ mineral resources minister Mosebenzi Zwane said he was encouraged by the figures as there were high mine fatalities‚ injuries and occupational diseases figures in the sector before 1994.He said over two decades before 1994 there was on average 800 fatalities and 12000 injuries per year in the mining sector.“It is noteworthy that 2015 saw the lowest-ever fatalities recorded in the mining sector. This is encouraging and an indication that our combined efforts as stakeholders are bearing fruit‚” he said.Furthermore‚ Zwane said the SA mining sector was currently comparing favourably in terms of the fatality rates when compared to countries such as US and Canada.He said general and fall-of-ground accidents have in the past been major contributors to fatalities.More to be done“We cannot rest until every mineworker returns from work unharmed every day‚” the mining industry‚ represented by the Chamber of Mines‚ pledged in a statement.Through the Mine Health and Safety Council‚ it said‚ more than R250 million has been spent on research into the seismicity associated with our deep-level mines. “The research outcomes led to new mine designs and methods. The number of fatalities associated with seismicity has fallen from 48 in 2003 to four in 2014.”The Chamber of Mines said the work of the MOSH Learning Hub‚ which it established in 2009 to help companies learn improved safety methods from one another‚ would continue its work unabated. “Among the success stories of this work are various improvements in underground support methods that have resulted in fewer fatalities attributable to fall of ground incidents.”The industry was also placing priority on the health‚ hygiene‚ safety and security of women in mining‚ particularly those working underground. “The work ranges from issues of appropriate design of personal protective equipment for women‚ to taking all possible steps to deal energetically with the challenges of sexual harassment.”At a glance:General accidents declined by 31%‚ from 29 fatalities in 2014 to 20 last yearFall-of-ground fatalities reduced by 12% from 25 in 2014 to 22 last yearFatalities due to explosions decreased by 33%Nationally‚ Silicosis cases decreased by 24%Pulmonary tuberculosis increased by 9%Silico-uberculosis decreased by 27%Snoise-induced hearing loss increased by 5%Coal workers pneumoconiosis cases decreased by 23%Asbestosis increased by 50%.