Workers union fumes after Jena Mine employee dies through suffocation

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By Staff Reporter

MINE workers groups are up in arms with Jena Mine after an employee last week accidentally died in the line of duty in a suspected case of suffocation from carbon monoxide.

Godfrey Ganagana, according to the Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU), died due to Jena Mine’s negligence and lack of attention to workers’ security.

“The Zimbabwe Diamond and Allied Minerals Workers Union (ZDAMWU) has learnt with sadness the death of Godfrey Ganagana at Jena Mines.

“He died in a suspected case of suffocation after inhaling dangerous gas emissions whilst conducting inspections underground,” ZDAMWU General Secretary Justice Chinhema said.

Ganagana, who was a gang leader, met his death after he had gone to inspect the passage safety for his colleagues after the mining blast on September 3, 2020 at the Mine’s N15 Section and was at level 210 metres from the ground.

“It is believed he died from carbon monoxide after he entered a zone with broken pipes containing compressed air and water, further exposing himself to serious occupational hazards,” Chinhema said.

The union leader said it was disturbing that the victim was forced to perform a task without the required gas monitoring devices which are used to detect the presence of dangerous gas emissions in underground mine shafts.

“This negligence on the part of the employer for failing to provide such life-saving equipment amounts to committing constructive murder and the mine authorities should be held accountable for the death of this innocent worker who has left behind two children,” he said.

Chinhema said employers should stop prioritising profits at the expense of workers’ safety.

ZDAMWU is calling on the company to institute an independent investigation by inspectors from the National Social Security Authority and officials from the trade unions to establish the exact death of the employee.

Meanwhile, Chinhema said over 10 workers have, since the beginning of this year, died through occupational accidents among both conventional and artisanal miners across the country.

“Nothing meaningful is being done by relevant authorities to address these callous acts which have not only taken away innocent lives but have robbed families of their bread winners.

The mine workers’ representatives have strongly warned employers to prioritise workers’ safety.