In August the Minerals Council South Africa launched the National Day of Safety & Health in Mining 2018 campaign as part of the mining industry’s recommitment to the shared goal of Zero Harm.
While the Minerals Council acknowledges an 88% improvement in South Africa’s fatality rates over the last 20 years to 2017, it is concerned that the trend has been reversing since 2017.
This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 9 2018
“Ensuring that all our colleagues return home safely and unharmed at the end of every day is and must be our industry’s top priority.
"Together with employees, unions and with the support and guidance of the Department of Mineral Resources, we can change this around and head back towards our ultimate zero harm objective,” comments the Minerals Council CEO, Roger Baxter.
The National Day of Safety and Health in Mining 2018 campaign, launched on 17 August 2018, will be followed over a period of one month in which all member companies will commit to a day of safety and health in mining to reaffirm their commitment to achieving zero harm.
“All stakeholders have a common interest in eliminating fatalities and serious injuries because of the tragic impact they have on all employees and their loved ones.
"Working collaboratively with other stakeholders to achieve zero harm is the primary focus of the Minerals Council and its members. Our industry cannot rest until this goal becomes a reality. We, at the Minerals Council, commit to playing our part,” notes Baxter.
Minerals Council VP Andile Sangqu highlights that the Minerals Council takes the relationship it has with its regulator, employees, the trade unions and all other stakeholders seriously and therefore commits itself to working collectively and collaboratively in defeating this problem that is besetting the industry.
“Through the work of the Mine Health and Safety Council we have set targets that need to be achieved by 2024 in relation to safety and health and we pledge our commitment to work tirelessly towards achieving these targets,” he notes.
In addition Sangqu explains that with the launch of the safety and health day campaign the Minerals Council publicly commits itself to its goal and to the goal of its tripartite partners of zero harm.
Collectively committed to safety
Chairman of the CEO Zero Harm Forum, Chris Griffith, firmly believes that safety and health is a core value and that every person working at a mine has the right to return home without harm.
“It is inherently about care and respect for people,” he states.
“As an industry, we understand the importance of safety and health and many of us have placed great emphasis on it as part of the way we work.
"Even though we have made significant progress in safety over the last two decades, we are still falling short of our milestones and know we’re not where we want to be.
"We know that our leadership needs to be visible to everybody involved in the mining industry in order to make a lasting impact,” comments Griffith.
“We have to set the example from the top down to inspire our people and make it known that we as leaders only want safe and healthy production. It is not about production at all cost.
"As far back as 2012, we as CEOs agreed that collaboration is the key to a step-change in safety and health and so a decision was taken back then to lead by example,” he adds.
“The industry’s performance shows that if we want to enhance our credibility as a caring industry, we must, more than ever, now step up to make a further difference.
"As the CEOs of the mining industry in South Africa we remain committed to sharing and learning from each other and to rapidly deploying best practice – to ensure we can achieve our goal of sending all our employees safely home to their families at the end of each working day,” he concludes.