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Press Statement, 18 August 2019
NUM MEDIA STATEMENT ON THE STATE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY POST NAHSCO HELD AT THE NUM COLLEGE ELIJAH BARAYI MEMORIAL TRAINING CENTRE IN MIDRAND
The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) National Health and Safety Committee (NAHSCO) held its quarterly meeting to discuss the state of health and safety across the three sectors it organises in (Mining, Energy and Construction. This committee is the NEC sub-committee and advises the organisation on health; safety; environment and compensation matters within NUM.
Areas of concern discussed and resolutions were taken:
1. Health and Safety Performance:
The leadership of NUM noted the Eskom report - titled Eskom Group Occupational Hygiene and Safety Performance Report, June 2019.
NAHSCO has noted that:
• The Loss time Injuries have increased during the period of 2018/19 with 46 LTI`s when compared to 2019/20 at 54 LTI`s.
• Looking at the trends on Eskom’s report, it seems that contractors have high incidents as compared to Eskom workers.
• Repeat incidents seem to be the main contributor.
• The incidents of slip and fall seem to be one of the main repeat incidents. It is interesting to note that managements seem to portion the blame to workers in this area. We need to investigate this assertion as resolve on how do we respond to this ``challenge`` as NUM.
• Similarly, management seems to blame workers on behavioural related incidents such as risks not assessed; lack of planning; not following procedures.
• The tools that are used during working is also another challenge that seems to contribute to the incidents.
• Hygiene aspects seem to be the lead concern in that compliance regarding heat stress; illumination and noise exposure are still a challenge.
NAHSCO resolved that:
• Eskom`s contractor management plans and compliance strategy needs to be relooked at and address the high trend of incidence experienced by contracted workers.
• Eskom has a responsibility to the contracted workers and should ensure that state of compliance to health and safety across its operations.
• Eskom should not blame the worker's behaviour but work with unions to address identified challenges as the workers are under the supervision and management of Eskom.
• Eskom should allow the full-time health and safety representatives and part-time health and safety representatives, to attend all meetings related to health and safety in Eskom, including the contractor forum meetings to provide workers perspective in those meetings.
• The Department of Labour (DOL) must not be complacent with Eskom and conduct Blitz inspections across Eskom operations, working with unions and other stakeholders.
• The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) should conduct audits of Eskom`s plants and ensure compliance.
• The Construction sector continues to be marginalised in all respects by most stakeholders, this includes the Department of Labour (DOL).
• The working conditions of construction workers have not improved since the promulgation of the Construction Regulations.
• The Construction accord is not fully implemented and monitored by the Department of Labour (DOL).
• We have not had statistics from the DOL in the last 15 years or so.
• Accidents are still being hidden in this sector.
• The DOL Inspectorate is short-staffed.
• An urgent meeting to be convened through COSATU leadership to meet with the Minister and the Executive of the Department of Labour (DOL).
• All stakeholders, including NUM to work collaboratively to improve the conditions where construction workers work in and their socio-economic conditions.
• The construction accord should be implemented and the DOL develops a monitoring tool to ensure that is implemented.
• The Construction Summit, with clear commitments to be coordinated by the construction committee.
• The DOL to urgently address the concern of lack of statistical data across the sector as a whole, including small contractors data.
• The DOL to conduct Blitz inspections, with unions, to assess the state of compliance of this sector.
• It is evident that mine deaths of the current year comparative have declined.
• The decline is not satisfactory to us as NUM, as one life lost is one too many.
• Gold continues to lead in mine deaths; followed by Platinum, which is of great concern.
• The Culture Transformation Framework of the MHSC is not fully attended to at the operations.
• The release of union leaders to attend to health and safety matters has become a limitation for unions to participate fully in the engagements.
• The mines should work effortlessly with unions to improve the state of health and safety in the mines.
• The MHSC stakeholders should revive the Culture Transformation Framework and populate it for implementation at the operations.
• Employers should show commitment towards health and safety of its employees by ensuring that union leaders and health and safety representatives are released to attend to their responsibilities, without being disadvantaged.
2. COMPENSATION MATTERS:
• The recent Silicosis court settlement.
• The MBOD experienced workers strike in the last three months.
• The Compensation process of integration and the legislative review.
• The lack of Campaigns by the RMA; CCOD; Compensation Commissioner and FEM to workers on their services.
• The low payments made to compensate workers.
• The NUM will schedule a compensation multi-stakeholder platform to identify how best to ensure that its former members and current members can claim effectively and fairly during the claim process.
• The MBOD should expedite outstanding claims that were as a result of the strike.
• The RMA; CCOD; Compensation Commissioner and FEM should hold campaigns at workers platforms, working with unions, to advocate their services. These campaigns must be fully resourced.
• The legislative review should take into account that workers get injured and contract diseases at workplaces, not out of their choice. This review should ensure that no workers are subject to poverty as a result of these circumstances.
3. MINING HOUSES TRAIPARTITE FORUMS:
• Anglo American and Sibanye Stillwater have established forums of engagements in their companies to address health and safety and improve stakeholder relations.
• Other Mining houses should follow suit and establish their own forums of stakeholder relations to improve such relations and the state of health and safety in their companies.
4. MINES HEALTH AND SAFETY COUNCIL (MHSC):
• The post of the CEO has been vacant for some time.
• The MHSC Chairperson and the Board to seek finalisation of this matter as of urgency as it impacts on the state of efficient operation of this establishment.
5. VICTIMS OF VIOLENT STRIKES IN SIBANYE OPERATIONS IN JANUARY TO APRIL 2019:
• The victims of the violent strikes that engulfed the Gold sector in Sibanye operation early in 2019 are suffering the loss of their dear ones.
• Family dependents, such as children, that are hospitalised due to injuries sustained, are not receiving proper medical attention due to medical cost challenges.
• Sibanye Stillwater must visit all the victims of the strike and work with the Government and NUM to consider appropriate measures to address their challenges.
• Sibanye Stillwater must show empathy and fund the medical costs of the child in the hospital that is suffering as the parent was a committed employee who went to work during this time.
For more information, Please contact:
Sipho Mungwe,NUM Health and Safety Secretary, 071 325 9720
Duncan Luvuno, NUM Health and Safety Chairperson, 082 335 2250
Mziwakhe Nhlapo, NUM Health and Safety Unit Head, 071 6811454
The National Union of Mineworkers
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