MBERENGWA-Miners in Mberengwa came out in their numbers last week for the Safety, Health and Environmental (SHE) awareness campaign workshop.
The educational SHE workshop was held at Education Hall at Mberengwa Business Centre.
Zimbabwe Miners Federation provincial chairman, Makumba Nyenje, liaised with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to bring the workshop to Mberengwa following several mining accidents caused by poor safety measures and negligence.
The awareness campaign was also coordinated by the Midlands Provincial Mining office inspectorate team, Zimbabwe Redcross Society and The Environmental Management Agency.
“It has come to our attention that mining fatal accidents are on the rise and the purpose of this workshop is to conscientize miners on the causes of these accidents and how best they can be avoided.
“In the Midlands Province, Mberengwa is the district with most small scale mining activities and artisanal miners with a number of varying mining accidents due to safety negligence in most cases.
“Violence by artisanal miners is also on the increase so we had to come and remind our miners that they should prioritize their safety, health and even the environment around them.
“So far, we have recorded 25 fatal accidents in the whole province,” mining inspector, Engineer Elvis Mavhondo told the workshop.
“When we punish you, it is not because we hate you, when we come to inspect your mines and find out you are violating mining rules and regulations, we will be protecting you.
“We will be concerned about your safety and health. Recently we lost 2 lives here in Mberengwa District because of poor use of gas. Ensure you have gas detectors when entering disused shafts, after using explosives and you all know the stipulated time you should wait after blasting.
“Every mine should have a licensed blaster, a mine manager, avoid use of generators underground as it produces a gas called carbon monoxide if it remains for a long at one place, shaft surroundings should be clean at least 2meters from the shaft collar.
“More importantly for small scale miners on rope snapping; nylon ropes are totally not advisable, you should use steel ropes. Each and every time check the connection between the bucket and the rope.
“We know steel rope are expensive but try to acquire them for your own safety. Lastly be responsible for your community, help those around your mine to uphold community social responsibility mantra,” added engineer Mavhondo.
Rita Tafa from Midlands Redcross Society team talked about first aid measures they can exercise in the event of an accident while waiting for an ambulance.
Ways like stopping the blood flow, words of comfort, how to prevent the situation from worsening and she warned miners on providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on victims of mine gasses as they can be affected also.
Zimbabwe Mining Safety, Health and Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC) executive director as well as ZMF provincial chairman, Makumba Nyenje said that as the organisation that is working on a multi-stakeholder approach to train and capacitate small-scale miners to engage in sustainable mining, its equally important to make the miners aware about SHE.
“We are going to tackle issues to do with formalisation, observation of health principles, observation of safety precautions in mining and issues to do with health principles.
“We are going to offer a lot of training workshops and we are going to be the conduit for safety, health and environmental (SHE) issues in the artisanal and small scale mining sector,” said Nyenje.