South African
mines minister
Susan Shabangu
Cape Town, South Africa — 07 May 2012 – The month of April has seen the lowest number of mining fatalities ever, according to mines minister Susan Shabangu, who attributed this to the Mining Inspectorate’s intensified enforcement measures.

Miningmx reports that, speaking to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), Shabangu said three employees had died at work last month.

“There has been a significant improvement on health and safety since the department has intensified enforcement measures at mines,” she stated. “In fact, the month of April 2012 has recorded the lowest fatalities ever of three deaths, when compared with other historical monthly figures which were generally more than 11 deaths per month.”

South Africa has lost 39 lives in the mining industry so far this year, compared to 42 during the first four months of 2011, Shabangu added. Deaths at mines for the whole of 2011 totalled 123.
Shabangu said the number of injuries had also reduced so far this year; down 35% from 1,024 during the comparative period of 2011 to 668 in 2012.

This address was the latest occasion on which she defended her department’s tough action on mine safety, shrugging off criticism from especially the platinum and gold sectors that the inspectorate was acting rashly when issuing so-called Section 54 stoppage notices.

Shabangu said CEOs should do more to improve health and safety at mines, calling for more visible leadership at mines.

“This will also go a long way in demonstrating the value of caring for mine employees, which they always talk about,” she said. “The CEOs are urged to be more involved and visible within their respective mining operations, including when there is a fatal accident.”

Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.