Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe has called for increased vigilance on health and safety in the sector.

This follows three fatalities which have been reported at mines this week.

The fatalities bring to 22 the total number of fatalities recorded in the first quarter of 2018.

Health as well as safety is among Minister Gwede Mantashe’s key focus areas and immediate priorities since assuming office.

In this regard the Minister urges employers and labour to continue to work with the Department in finding solutions to health and safety matters at the mines, through established structures including the Mine Health and Safety Council.

In 2017, fatalities increased for the first time in ten years, where 88 mine workers lost their lives, compared to 73 in 2016.

Turning the tide on fatalities in the sector is the responsibility of all social partners – Government, labour and business – and is critical for the sustainability of the mining industry in the long term.

Mine Health and Safety Council

The Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) is a national public entity (Schedule 3A) established in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act, No 29 of 1996, as amended.

The entity comprises a tripartite board represented by State, Employer, and Labour members under chairmanship of the Chief Inspector of Mines.

The MHSC is funded by public revenue and is accountable to Parliament.

The main task of the Council is to advise the Minister of Mineral Resources on occupational health and safety legislation and research outcomes focused on improving and promoting occupational health and safety in South African mines.

The Council also oversees the activities of its committees; promotes a culture of health and safety in the mining industry; arranges a summit every two years to review the state of occupational health and safety at mines and liaises with the Mining Qualifications Authority and any other statutory bodies about mining health and safety.