By Joel Scanlon
Mining is no longer the high mortality profession that it once was in South Africa. The Chamber of Mines has recorded a 24 % drop in mining related deaths in 2010.
There were just 128 cases of fatalities and last year is being seen as the safest year in the long history of mining in the country.
The reduced accidents and deaths were attributed to the commitment of members of the chamber in cooperation with the Department of Mineral Resources and the leadership of organized labour and mine workers by the chamber's new CEO, Bheki Sibiya.
Bheki Sibiya said that all had contributed to the issues of health and safety of the mine workers. He said that while the numbers of death had fallen they were deeply saddened by the death of so many of their colleagues.
In an effort to improve mine safety in future years a set of 40,000 health and safety representatives would be trained by 2013 along with shop stewards at the Learning Hub. Sietse van der Woude, the safety and sustainable development advisor for the Chamber of Mines said that a 20% improvement per year was the annual milestone desirable.
Stanford Malatji who is the head of the Learning Hub at the chamber of mines wants to learn what went wrong in mining accidents so that it does not happen again. Much effort is being put in by the Chamber to improve conditions for the miners.