Department of Mineral Resources and Energy
Mining companies must develop start-up procedures for the mining sector in consultation with trade unions in the respective operations.
The mineral resources and energy department has issued a directive to all mining operations to ensure safe start-up procedures as the sector prepares to ramp up to 50% of capacity.
Recent amendments to Disaster Management Act Regulations stipulated that mining operations, excluding collieries that supply Eskom, shall be conducted at a reduced capacity of 50% during the lockdown, and, thereafter, at increasing capacity as determined by the mineral resources and energy minister.
In a statement, the department indicates that copies of the start-up procedures must be provided to the department prior to ramp-up of operations.
The directive is issued to ensure compliance with Section 5(1) of the Mine Health and Safety Act of 1996, as amended, which requires that every employer must, as far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a safe working environment.
“The start-up procedures must also address measures to be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as actions to provide a safe working environment, especially following the prolonged closure of some operations.”
Measures include rigorous screening of all employees, including contractors, prior to accessing the mine; testing of employees with Covid-19 symptoms; adequate social distancing; provision of quarantine facilities for employees showing signs of COVID-19; setting up and maintaining a personal hygiene programme and provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment including face masks.
Due to the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department plans to introduce specific and appropriate measures for the sector when required.