Red Flag As 15 Employees Die In Mine Related Accidents

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By Staff Reporter

A MINE workers group says Zimbabwean mines continue to be unsafe spots for employees as 15 miners are said to have lost their lives in mine related accidents since the beginning of the year.

In a statement to mark the International Health and Safety Day Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) general secretary Justice Chinhema said working conditions for mine workers were increasingly becoming deplorable.

“Since the beginning of the year, we have seen several accidents in small scale mines with over 10 workers losing lives and several injured.

“In big mines, fatal accidents have happened as well with five workers losing lives and some injured,” Chinhema said.

Big mines have also not been spared in terms of related accidents.

“In big mines, we have witnessed accidents at Zimplats, Jena Mine, Sabi Gold and recently an employee at South Mine was burnt at the workplace and only to be dumped by the employer at Hwange Hospital on Workers Day.

“We only thank God that he is alive,” he said.

He said a lot of mines were increasingly becoming unsafe for workers.

“As ZDAMWU, we are worried that most mines are not safe, many abandoned mines have been heavily panned by artisanal miners and we have seen the weakening and ultimate destruction of pillars.

“We have also witnessed big mines failing to develop their mines and not fully observing safety regulations.”

Apart from the Covid-19 pandemic, ZDAMWU is currently compiling in detail, other hazardous incidents or causes of accidents in order to prescribe solutions on how to reduce them.

“In addition, we are also advocating for the formalisation of artisanal and small-scale mines so as to regularise their operations and maybe reduce accidents.

“We also think there is need to do more awareness campaigns by unions, government and EMA in small scale operated areas,” he said.

The World Day for Safety and Health has been observed since 2003 on 28 April.

“It is an International Labour Organisation (ILO) initiative meant for the prevention of accidents and diseases at workplaces and also raise awareness of occupational safety and health.”

The day is also commemorated as International Day for Dead and Injured Workers.

Amongst other things, the day is aimed at promoting occupational safety and health globally while raising awareness on the magnitude of work-related deaths and injuries.