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Guidelines for a COVID-19 Code of Practice in Mining Released

May 20, 2020

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy

Guidelines for a mandatory code of practice (COP) on the mitigation and management of the COVID-19 outbreak in the mining sector are in place.

The mineral resources and energy department published the Guideline in Government Gazette 43335.

They were drawn up in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act.

The Guideline flows from a Labour Court order granted on 1 May 2020 instructing employers in the mining industry to prepare and implement a COP on COVID-19.

The court order also called on the Chief Inspector of Mines to publish guidelines on the COP in the Gazette by 18 May 2020.

The objective of the Guideline is to “assist employers as far as reasonably practicable to establish and maintain a COVID-19 prevention, mitigation and management programme at mines”.

It also provides minimum requirements and best practices for the compilation of a COP for the prevention, mitigation and management of COVID-19 outbreak.

“The aim is to ensure that mine employees returning to work and any other person/s at mines, are protected from transmission of the Coronavirus at the workplace, and where reasonably practicable, in the community, whilst providing guidance to all stakeholders regarding their roles and responsibilities in the management of COVID-19 outbreak.”

The intention is to ensure good health and safety of employees on and after the return to work.

The Guideline applies to all mines or part/s thereof, employees, irrespective of employment category, and in the local mining industry that might be exposed to COVID-19 in the performance of their duties.

Included in the Guidelines is status of mandatory code of practice; risk management; risk assessment; start-up procedure for mines; COVID-19 mitigation and management programme; compliance with the code of practice and access to the code of practice and related documents.

The Chief Inspector of Mines regards the Guideline as a “living document which may need to be updated as new developments on the prevention and management of COVID-19 emerges”.

The Guideline comes into effect on 25 May 2020.