Mining firms urged to ensure more safety amidst fatalities
| Updated Nov 21, 2017 at 12:50pm
In Ghana’s mining sector, the expectation of employees is to work to meet production quotas regardless of their individual safety.
In their quest to achieving performance outcomes, they often underestimate risk and engage in acts that do not conform to corporate safety controls and regulations.
In the Upper East Region, the high rate of mining fatalities exposes the level of disregard for safe mining practices by mine workers.
As a way forward, Cassius Mining Limited a fully Ghanaian owned mining company had been advocating for the urgent need for companies to reassert their commitment to the health and safety of their workers.
The call was echoed at a ceremony held at Gbane in the Talensi District to celebrate the company’s 500 days of incident free work.
In Ghana, artisanal and small scale miners are exposed to various health hazards that often result in varying degrees of injury and fatalities.
Though the sector remains a major source of income for majority of the people, fatalities as a result of poor mining practices presents a worrying trend that requires the support of all to provoke some level of sanity to avoid needless deaths especially among the young population.
According to experts, fatalities in the mining sector are partly due to deliberate violation of mining laws and safe work procedures.
Others can be attributed to ignorance, lack of awareness and understanding of mine safety regulations.
In the corporate mining world, safety is not just about saving the lives of workers but rather the adoption of workable strategies necessary to ensuring their total safety and well-being.
In the event where mining safety becomes an option, workers do not only fail to avoid work injuries but also their inability to employ safe work behaviors in their daily operations.
In rare cases, they are found engaging in risk-taking behaviors all of which makes them susceptible to injuries such as fractures and bruises as a result of careless explosion and other negativities.
The development has generated calls for small and large mining companies to put in place effective health and safety management systems to minimize the number of accidents and the harm caused to the environment. Interestingly, the Ghanaian media had been at the forefront in the campaign against illegal mining activities.
One company that is complementing the effort of the media is Cassius Mining Limited, a fully owned Ghanaian company with Australia holding a percentage of shares for the management of its operations.
The company which is based in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region has fine-tuned its operations to provoke healthy working environment in areas where it operates.
At a ceremony to commemorate its 500-days incident free work, the Project Manager, Cripse Andrew said the company has a proven track record when it comes to safety and its leadership has no intention of letting up or becoming complacent with regards to health and safety.
He said rewarding the departments success helps to reinforce workers safety consciousness.
On the operations of the company, Mr Andrews said the company’s regards for safety has enhanced its corporate image and is looking forward to achieving its strategic objective of becoming one of the leading company in the sub-region.
He emphasised that the company’s objective of finding and developing gold deposits not only for the benefit of Cassius and shareholders but also for workers, local communities, the assembly and Ghana as a whole.
It is often said that a safe workforce is a productive workforce.
This obviously means that there is some level of compatibility between safety and production and this has to do with safe working behaviours.
According to the Chief Geologist at Cassius Mining Limited, Willet Agongo, the company does not compromise on safety because production cannot be achieved if workers are not able to perform at full capacity due to fatalities.
He underscored the need for companies, the community and individuals to observe safety regulations.
In the past years, number of fatalities have been recorded at the various mining communities across the country.
One classical example is Gbane, where the sector’s fatal injury frequency rate has increased over the past four years.
Speaking to Radio Ghana, the Assembly member for Gaare/Gbane Electoral Area, John Millim Nabwomya said the assembly had been engaging the various small and large scale mining companies on the issue and how best they can work collaboratively to reduce such fatalities.
Some workers of Cassius Mining Limited were awarded for their hard work and commitment having worked in accordance with the company’s culture of safety.
Story by Radio Ghana's Isaac Asare.