World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Safety Conditions at South African Mines

Safety Conditions at South African Mines Have Room for Improvement, Says UN Expert

New York, Aug 24 2012 12:10PM Although the Government of South Africa has taken important steps to address working conditions in the country’s mines, there is still significant room for improvement, a United Nations expert said today, following one of the worst incidents of strike-related violence in the country since the end of apartheid.

On 16 August, miners striking at the Marikana platinum mine in South Africa’s North West province were fired upon by police during a protest for higher wages and better working conditions.

<"http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/press-and-media-centre/news/WCMS_187783/lang--en/index.htm">According to media reports, 44 people were killed during the strike, including 34 miners who died when police opened fire on them. Ten others, including two policemen, were also reportedly killed in earlier strike-related violence.


“More efforts could be made to better implement existing mining regulations, especially when it comes to the health and safety of miners,” said Martin Hahn, a mining specialist for the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Mr. Hahn noted that South African miners were frequently exposed to numerous safety hazards ranging from falling rocks and exposure to fine dust particles to intensive noise, fumes and high temperatures. Many miners also suffer from various diseases contracted while on the job, including tuberculosis and silicosis, a potentially fatal respiratory ailment.

Compounding the health and safety hazards, miners’ wages tend to be very low with higher salaries usually reserved for engineers, managers and other high-skilled workers.

“A lot remains to be done in order to create a much-needed preventive safety and health culture in every single mine and for South Africa to attain the goal of zero fatality,” Mr. Hahn stated, adding that working conditions can vary greatly depending on whether the mine in question was new or old, opencast or underground, and on what variety of mineral was being mined.

He noted, however, that the drop in fatality rates showed that significant efforts had been made to improve the safety of South African mines. Following South Africa’s ratification of the ILO’s Safety and Health in Mines Convention, fatalities in the country’s mines dropped from a reported 774 in 1984 to 128 in 2010.

The South African mining industry has boomed over the past few years as demand for commodities has surged around the world, with an estimated 2.7 per cent of the economically active population employed by the mining sector.
Aug 24 2012 12:10PM
________________

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 


UN: UNHCR Chief Urges Better Support For 13 Million 'Exhausted' And Displaced Syrians
UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, has urged greater international support for the more than 13 million Syrians who’ve been displaced in the past 10 years...More>>


>UN: Recent Kosovo-Serbia Tensions Could ‘Unravel Steady But Fragile Progress’

Tensions over vehicle licence plates and anti-smuggling operations, between authorities in Kosovo and Serbia, in recent weeks, may contribute to unravelling “steady but fragile progress made in rebuilding trust among communities” in Kosovo and Serbia...
More>>

ITUC: Nobel Prize In Economics Explodes Minimum Wage And Jobs Myth

The prize was awarded to David Card, Joshua Angrist and Guido Imbens for real-world research in the 1990s that demonstrated, empirically, that the idea touted by conservative economists that higher minimum wages mean fewer jobs is not based on fact... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs


UN: With Clock Ticking, Sustainable Transport Key To Global Goals
From electric cars and buses to zero-carbon producing energy sources, new and emerging technologies along with innovative policy changes, are critical for combating climate change. But to be effective, they must ensure that transport strategies benefit everyone, including the poorest... More>>


COP26: 7 Climate Action Highlights To Remember

A September to remember, a pivotal month for climate action commitments. From the United Nations General Assembly week to the final pre-COP meeting, last month was an important time to build momentum... More>>


UN: Global Leaders Set To Act To Increase Energy Access While Reducing Emissions At First UN Energy Summit In 40 Years

Significant new commitments for financing clean energy, increasing renewables and improving access to electricity are expected to be announced on 24 September at the UN High-level Dialogue on Energy... More>>