A contractor employee has been fatally injured in a shaft related incident at RBPlat’s Styldrift I Project.

All normal underground operations have been suspended pending a full investigation into the incident, which has already commenced in conjunction with the Department of Mineral Resources.

“RBPlat remains committed to the safety of its workforce,” the company said in a statement.

Following this latest incident, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) has again called on employers in the mining industry to improve safety measures.

“It is unfortunate that at this point in time we still continue to have many people losing their lives in the workplace. We are appealing to the industry to apply its systems to ensure that nobody comes with a black bag from underground,” NUM Health and Safety Secretary Erick Gcilitshana.

According to statistics, fatalities in the mining sector have been reducing over time. In 2003, the sector pledged to reduce fatalities by 20% per annum in an effort to reach similar levels to those of mining companies elsewhere in the world, such as Australia, Canada and the US.

At that time, the death toll from mining accidents was 270 deaths for the year, but this was reduced by 24% by 2010, with 128 fatalities that year, according to figures released by the Department of Mineral Resources.

Many illegal mineworkers are also killed every year in South Africa, raising concerns about the dangers of illegal mining in the country.

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