Modern Mining October 2021

The health and safety mile- stones agreed on at the biennial OHS Summits by stakeholders from government, business and organised labour have contrib- uted to the improvement of the industry’s safety performance. In 2009, the Minerals Council established the MOSH Learning Hub to facilitate the adoption of leading practices to prevent fall of ground and transport related fatal accidents. Three years later, the council established the CEO Zero Harm Leadership Forum which meets quarterly to lead health and safety improvements. “In 2019, our member com- pan ies convened the CEO Heartfelt Conversation Workshop on Heal th and Safety,” says Phakathi. “This in turn gave rise to the Khumbul’ekhaya Health and Safety Strategy, a holistic, CEO-led approach to eliminate fatalities in mining. The Minerals Council has con- ducted an analysis of the safety performance regression in 2020 and, upon reflection on the safety performance trends, its CEOs and board approved the development and implementation of action plans to focus on the prevention of fall of ground and transport fatalities and injuries in the next three to five years.

Figure 1: Number of fatalities by causes, 1999 – 2020. Credit: Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

Figure 2: Number of injuries by commodity, 1999 – 2020. Credit: Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

Phakathi says the national days of Health and Safety in Mining held in 2020 and 2021 focused on the improvement of health and safety during the era of COVID-19. The theme for 2021 was “Renewed Focus for Our New Normal”. “As the Minerals Council, we have been working with our committees to address behavioural safety through a set of Khumbul’ekhaya initiatives aimed at transforming the culture of health and safety in the industry.” He says these initiatives include multi- disciplinary peer reviews of accident and incident systems and analysis; the Just Culture Accountability Model Framework; learning from incidents, and the digitisation of safety data. Initiatives “The Minerals Council is committed to tripartite col- laboration towards the improvement of health and safety in the mining industry. The industry has made great strides in reducing occupational fatalities, inju- ries and disease over the years through tripartite collaboration,” says Phakathi.

He says the Minerals Council CEO Zero Harm Leadership Forum agreed at the end of 2020 that eliminating fatalities to zero remains the target despite the challenges that still persist. “We believe it is possible to achieve zero harm as has been demonstrated by some mining compa- nies operating for significant periods of time without fatalities.” Fall of ground action plan Despite the progress made in reducing fall of ground (FOG) related fatalities in mining due to initiatives such as the adoption of leading practices including mining with nets and bolts, Phakathi stresses that one fatality is still one too many. He says FOG safety performance has plateaued in the last three years and that the Minerals Council has therefore made an investment of R46-million over the next five years into the implementation of the Elimination of Fall of Ground Fatalities Action Plan, launched during the National Day of Health and Safety in Mining on 8 July this year.

October 2021  MODERN MINING  21

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