The current mining health and safety regulations are below standard and need top priority of upgrading, according to review organized by the Chamber of Mines Namibia.
Veston Malango, CEO of the Chamber of Mines quoted the review that the current regulations are outdated and inappropriate for today’s mining activities and ore treatment process.
An example presented is that there is no coverage for the operation of large mobile diesel equipment in underground mining.
In 2012 Namibia had four fatalities from January to August, which was a higher level than recorded in the previous ten years.
Based on the safety review by Australian engineer Philip Lockyer, his findings are that all companies have safety structures and that the fatalities appear to be related to human behavior.
The Namibian mining industry’s challenge is to continue to engage with its employees and lift their safe work skills and importance of working safely.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy has a resource safety structure but lacks people with appropriate academic qualifications, training and experience to provide the regulatory coverage.
Satish Kumar, the Second Vice President of the Chamber of Mines said the key recommendations made were that the industry needs to keep improving its safety performance and the Chamber of Mines needs means to assist smaller mining companies in safety management.
The few recommendations implemented is the peer review system to visit mining operations to identify needed improvements, a uniform injury classification system, re-introduced the safety competition and to elevate safety improvement on its strategy plan.
Kumar said: “The Chamber will endeavor to work closely with the office of the Chief Inspector of Mines to achieve a zero harm culture throughout the industry.”