Government call on mines to improve worker safety

GOVERNMENT has urged mining firms in the country to put in place good safety systems that that will ensure the protection and safety of workers.

Mines, Energy and Water Development minister Christopher Yaluma says mining companies should adhere to the regulatory standards and procedures and put in place equipment that would detect any would be catastrophic conditions like ground instability to guarantee worker safety. GOVERNMENT has urged mining firms in the country to put in place good safety systems that that will ensure the protection and safety of workers.

Speaking during the second Health, Safety and Environment Conference at the Mulugushi Conference Centre, Mines, Energy and Water Development minister Christopher Yaluma said mining companies should adhere to the regulatory standards and procedures and put in place equipment that would detect any would be catastrophic conditions like ground instability to guarantee worker safety.

Mr. Yaluma said government was concerned about the occurrences of fatal accidents in the mining industries and expressed his displeasure concerning the recent accident at Mopani Copper Mines in which four miners died.

The Mines Minster was however quick to recognise efforts made by Mopani Copper Mines to increase occupational health safety by engaging with other stake holders at the conference to exchange knowledge on safety and health.

Mr. Yaluma said he was aware that some mining companies have put in place good safety systems that ensure the protection of employees although noting that some accidents were beyond a company’s control.

The Health, Safety and Environment Conference, which started yesterday 30thJuly and coming to an end today 31st July, 2015 is being held under the theme ‘Road to Zero Harm.’

In a speach read on his behalf by director of mines Chipilauka Mukofa, Mr Yaluma said the theme of the conference "road to zero harm" is in perfect harmony with government’s policy on matters involving professional health, safety and the environment.

He noted that the fundamental principle of responsible and sustainable mining demands that the mining activities preserve the integrity and capabilities of the natural environment to meet the needs of future the generation.

“Our mining activities should not be conducted in such a care freeway, therefore elimination of conditions and processes that endanger the lives of our people in the work place or damage the environment should be taken as a priority," Mr. Yaluma lamented.

And Mopani Copper Mines is “deeply saddened by the recent death of its four miners.”

The four miners died at Mopani Copper Mines on Tuesday last week after a rock fell at a shaft about 3,240 meters underground.

The Company’s chief operating officer Chris Vermeulen said, "We regret and are saddened by the death of the four miners who died. Investigations are underway to establish the cause of the accident and the company will learn from the experience and tighten the Company’s safety measures.”

Mr. Vermeulen said the company was working hard to eliminate fatality to protect its employees as well as members of the surrounding community.

He added that mining is a risky industry adding that the company has established an emergency call centre to help the community and its workers during such eventualities.

Mr. Vermeulen said this year’s theme is being used to boost the company’s operations and help Zambia attain its vision of being a middle income country by 2030.
 

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