The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) said on Thursday that it was saddened and “highly perturbed” by the continued fatal accidents in the mines.
This comes after two workers died this week, one at the Power Construction site in Malmesbury N7, in the Western Cape, and one at Exxaro Matla Coal Mine in Mpumalanga this week.
The worker at the Power Construction site in Malmesbury N7 was killed by a machine. The other one at the Matla Coal worker was crushed between two heavy truck machines underground whilst pulling a drive belt.
NUM Health and Safety Secretary, Eric Gcilitshana, said in a statement that fall of ground and machinery continued to be major contributors to many fatal incidents.
“We are concerned that these fatalities are increasing unnecessarily. There were 13 fatal accidents last year January to February 17, and this year we are already sitting at 18,” Gcilitshana said.
The union now demands an immediate thorough investigation by both the Departments of Labour and Mineral Resources to establish the causes of these accidents and who were responsible.
It also wants strong disciplinary action against anyone found to have been negligent.
“We call upon employers to put lives of workers first so that we can be able to achieve zero harm,” Gcilitshana said.
“The fact that there was no improvement on fatal accidents in the mining sector can only be interpreted as a sign of a lack of commitment towards zero harm by the mining sector.”
Statistics on the health and safety performance of the mining industry for the 2016 calendar year released in January showed a total of 73 fatalities compared with 77 during the previous year, a five percent improvement year-on-year.
The gold sector suffered 30 fatalities, platinum came second with 27, coal had four deaths, and other mines, including diamonds, chrome, copper and iron ore mines, recorded 12 fatalities combined.
– African News Agency