THE STATE OF MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA

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CHAPTER 2 OVERVIEW OF MINING HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA

Chapter 2 provides the background to the main factors that have shaped mine health and safety policies and practices in South Africa. An overview of relevant health and safety legislation is presented. The current state of health and safety in the South African mining industry is discussed.

INTRODUCTION

South Africa’s current mining safety order is largely the result of the Leon Commission’s in depth investigation into conditions at mines in 1995 (Van Rensburg & De Lange, 2011). The Leon Commission concluded that the mining industry had not taken adequate steps to protect workers from work related injuries and diseases (Stanton, 2003). Major legislative restructuring in conjunction with the allocation of greater resources to enforce mine health and safety standards were recommended (Stanton, 2003). This and other recommendations, such as upgrading standards for measuring workplace exposure and medical surveillance, lead to the promulgation of the Mine Health and Safety Act No 29 of 1996 (MHSA).

THE MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT NO 29 OF 1996

The MHSA replaced the Minerals Act No 50 of 1991 as the main legislation for governing mining health and safety in South Africa (Masilo & Rautenbach, 2008). The MHSA also replaced the Sections of the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act No 78 of 1973 that regulated the control of occupational health hazards. Subsequently, the provisions for dealing with occupational health and safety in mines were consolidated into a single statute (Masilo & Rautenbach, 2008)
Since its promulgation, the MHSA has been amended by the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Act No. 72 of 1997, the Skills Development Amendment Act No. 31 of 2003, the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act No. 28 of 2002 and the Mine Health and Safety Amendment Act No. 74 of 2008. For the purpose of this study any reference made to the MHSA means as amended by the above.

Objectives of the MHSA

Broadly speaking, the overall objective of the Mine Health and Safety Act No 29 of 1996 (MHSA) is to make provisions for the protection of the health and safety of employees and other persons at mines. The specific objectives of the Act are listed in Section 1 of Chapter 1, namely:

  • To protect the health and safety of persons at mines;
  • To require employers and employees to conduct hazard identification and risk assessment;
  • To give effect to the international law obligations of the Republic concerning health and safety at mines;
  • To provide for employee participation in health and safety matters through health and safety representatives and committees;
  • To provide for the effective monitoring of health and safety conditions at mines;
  • To provide for the enforcement of health and safety measures at mines;
  • To provide for investigations and inquiries to improve health and safety at mines; and
  • To promote health and safety culture, training, co-operation and consultation in the mining industry.

The main principles of the MHSA

From an analysis of the Act it can be concluded that the main principles that feature in the MHSA are:

  • Responsibility;
  • Duties, rights and powers; and
  • Reasonable practicability.

The MHSA places the primary responsibility for ensuring a healthy and safe working environment on the employer i.e. the owner of the mine. Subsequently, the steps that the employer must take to ensure the health and safety of employees and other persons are set out in detail.
The MHSA also places a responsibility on employees to protect their own and other’s health and safety while at work. The Act sets out employees’ duties and rights in order to achieve this.
The Minister of Minerals and Energy in conjunction with the Mine Health and Safety Inspectorate (MHSI) is responsible to enforce the requirements of the MHSA. The duties and powers of the Minister and the MHSI to achieve this are set out in the Act.
The duties assigned in the MHSA are usually qualified with the words “as far as reasonably practicable”. However, what is considered to be “reasonably practicable” is not clearly defined. Whether it is reasonably practicable for an employer to implement a health and safety measure can be determined by the following factors (Masilo & Rautenbach, 2008).

  • The severity and scope of the hazard or risk;
  • The information available about the risk and the measures to eliminate or minimise it; and
  • The cost and benefit of eliminating or minimising the risk.
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The requirements of the MHSA

In order to highlight the practical implications of the MHSA the following overview of its requirements is presented in terms of the duties, rights and powers of the four main role players namely the employer, employees, MHSI and the Minister. Other important provisions of the Act are also briefly discussed.
The duties of employers
The MHSA places the main responsibility for health and safety at mines on the employer. Various Sections in Chapters 2 and 3 set out the specific responsibilities of employers as listed in Table 2.1 below.

  • Ensure safety at a mine

Section 2 requires the employer of every mine that is being worked to ensure that the mine is designed, constructed, equipped and operated in such a way that employees can perform their work without any danger to their own or any other person’s health and safety. This section also requires the employer of a mine that is not being worked to takes steps to ensure safety at the mine until a closure certificate is issued.

  • Appoint managers and other persons

The employer may appoint managers and other persons to assist with performing its functions as required by the MHSA. However, these appointments do not relieve the employer of any duty or responsibility imposed on employers by the Act.
The chief executive officer is charged with the duty to ensure that the employer’s functions in terms of the Act are properly performed. The chief executive officer may also entrust any function to another person under his control (Section 2A). The employer must appoint one or more managers to be responsible for the day to day management and operation of the mine (Section and may appoint any other person to perform any function of the employer according to Sections 2 and 3 (Section 4).

  • Maintain a healthy and safe mine environment

The duty of employers to maintain a healthy and safe mine environment (Section 5) is twofold. Firstly, the employer must provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees. Secondly, the employer must ensure that persons who are not employees but who may be affected by the mine’s activities, are not exposed to any health and safety hazards.

  • Ensure adequate supply of health and safety equipment

Section 6 specifies the employer’s duties in terms of health and safety equipment. Every employer must supply and maintain all necessary health and safety equipment and facilities to each employee. Employers must also ensure that sufficient quantities of the necessary personal protective equipment are available so that all who is required to use it is able to do so. Employers must further take reasonable steps to ensure that employees are instructed in the use, limitations and maintenance of personal protective equipment.

  • Staff the mine with due regard to health and safety

Every employer must institute the necessary health and safety measures, take reasonable steps to ensure that every employee complies with the requirements of the Act (Section 7) and provide appointed persons with the means to comply with the Act or any instruction from an inspector. When staffing the mine, the employer must consider an employee’s training and capabilities before assigning any task to that employee. The employer must ensure that work is performed under the general supervision of a person with the relevant training and authority to deal with the hazards associated with the work. Sections 7.2 and 7.4 again provide for the employer and the manager to appoint persons to perform any of their functions without relieving them of any duty imposed on them by the Act.

  • Establish a health and safety policy

Every employer must prepare a health and safety policy that describes the organisation of work as well as how the health and safety of employees and non-employees will be protected (Section 8). This policy must be consulted with the health and safety committee and be prominently displayed in the workplace for employees to read it.

  • Prepare and implement codes of practice

According to Section 9 any employer may prepare and implement a code of practice on any health and safety matter that may affect employees or non-employees. The Chief Inspector of Mines may require specific codes of practice and then it must be compiled and implemented according to the guidelines issued by the Chief Inspector. The employer must consult with the health and safety committee on the preparation, implementation and revision of any code of practice.

  • Provide health and safety training

Every employer must provide employees with any information, instruction, training or supervision necessary to enable them to perform their work safely and without risk to their health (Section 10). This must include training about work related hazards and risks and the measures that must be taken to eliminate, control and minimise the hazards and risks. It must also include job related training such as the procedures to be followed to perform the work and relevant emergency procedures. This training must be provided before the employee starts work, at intervals determined by the employer and before significant changes are made to mining procedures, equipment, material or the nature of the employee’s work

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Declaration
Acknowledgements
Summary
CHAPTER 1 SCIENTIFIC OVERVIEW OF THE RESEARCH
1.1. BACKGROUND TO AND MOTIVATION FOR THE RESEARCH
1.2. PROBLEM STATEMENT
1.3. AIMS OF THE RESEARCH
1.4. PARADIGM PERSPECTIVES
1.5. META-THEORETICAL CONSTRUCTS
1.6. THEORETICAL MODELS
1.7. CENTRAL RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
1.8. METHODOLOGICAL CONVICTIONS
1.9. RESEARCH DESIGN
1.10. RESEARCH METHOD
1.11. CHAPTER LAYOUT
1.12. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2 OVERVIEW OF MINING HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA 
2.1. INTRODUCTION
2.2. THE MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT NO 29 OF 1996
2.3. THE MHSA REGULATIONS
2.4. THE MINERALS ACT REGULATIONS
2.5. THE STATE OF MINE HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.6. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 3 SAFETY CULTURE 
3.1. INTRODUCTION 6
3.2. THE CONCEPT OF SAFETY CULTURE
3.3. SAFETY CULTURE MODELS
3.4. TYPES OF SAFETY CULTURE
3.5. KEY ELEMENTS OF SAFETY CULTURE
3.6. IMPROVING SAFETY CULTURE
3.7. BARRIERS TO SAFETY CULTURE
3.8. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 4 SAFETY LEADERSHIP 
4.1. INTRODUCTION
4.2. THE CONCEPT OF SAFETY LEADERSHIP
4.3. THE ELEMENTS OF SAFETY LEADERSHIP
4.4. SAFETY LEADERSHIP MODELS
4.5. IMPROVING SAFETY LEADERSHIP
4.6. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5 EXECUTIVE COACHING 
5.1. INTRODUCTION
5.2. THE CONCEPT OF EXECUTIVE COACHING
5.3. THE EXECUTIVE COACHING PROCESS
5.4. DEVELOPING A COACHING PROGRAM TO IMPROVE SAFETY LEADERSHIP
5.5. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 6 DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS METHODS: EMPIRICAL STUDY 
6.1. INTRODUCTION
6.2. THE AIM OF THE STUDY
6.3. MIXED METHODS RESEARCH
6.4. THE QUANTITATIVE STUDY
6.5. THE COACHING INTERVENTION
6.6. THE QUALITATIVE STUDY
CHAPTER 7 REPORTING AND INTERPRETATION OF QUANTITATIVE RESULTS 
7.1. INTRODUCTION
7.2. DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE OF THE SAMPLE
7.3. VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF THE QUANTITATIVE STUDY
7.4. SAFETY LEADERSHIP DIMENSIONS
7.5. DETERMINING THE CUTOFF SCORE
7.6. PRE-TEST OVERALL SAFETY LEADERSHIP PROFILE
7.7. PRE-TEST MEAN SCORES COMPARISONS
7.8. PRE-TEST AND POST-TEST COMPARISONS
7.9. DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
7.10. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 8 REPORTING AND INTERPRETATION OF QUALITATIVE FINDINGS 
8.1. INTRODUCTION
8.2. DESCRIPTION OF THE PARTICIPANTS
8.3. STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF THE RESEARCH
8.4. REFLECTIVE STATEMENT ON THE DATA ANALYSIS PROCESS
8.5. REPORTING OF THE FINDINGS
8.6. SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENT
8.7. DISCUSSION
8.8. EVALUATION OF THE COACHING PROGRAM
8.9. CHAPTER SUMMARY
CHAPTER 9 CONCLUSIONS, LIMITATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
9.1. CONCLUSIONS
9.2. LIMITATIONS
9.3. RECOMMENDATIONS
9.4. CHAPTER SUMMARY
REFERENCES
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