Kuyasa Mining (Pty) Ltd held a successful safety and health day on 13 September 2018 at the Delmas Coal operation which included all employees - underground, surface and services. The theme of the ceremony was “Asiphelelanga” which means “Not all of us are here” and was in honour of fellow employees who had lost their lives through fatal mine accidents and/or occupational diseases in the industry.

Thembeka Mkhize, General Manager and employer representative was the main speaker. She placed special emphasis on employees’ rights and responsibilities highlighting Section 23 of the Mine Health and Safety Act on the right of employees to leave an unsafe work place. Mkhize encouraged employees to exercise their right to leave unsafe work areas and to refuse dangerous work, encouraging everyone to pledge “I shall return home safely”. She also took the audience through the history of the danger of fires and explosions in the mining industry and how the current controls which when adhered to, have reduced the risk of fires. “This history proves that zero harm is achievable if everyone works together.” said Mkhize

Full-time health and safety representative, Baxolele Nongalo and Sam Nkombane, Delmas Coal NUM Branch Chairperson both reiterated the rights of employees to refuse dangerous work or to work in unsafe work areas. They urged employees to assess any possible risks before work is conducted as this would help ensure that every worker returns home after every shift unharmed.

Rock engineer and expert on ‘falls of ground’, Jaco van Vuuren, shared the industry statistics for rock-related fatal accidents. He stated that having controls in place and ultimately people’s behaviour is the best way to eliminate and minimise incidents. “It’s not what you see but what you look for,” he told the crowd.

“Safety and health are not an employment condition but a human right to life and wellbeing” said Dr George De Vos, a medical practitioner. Dr De Vos also spoke about occupational diseases and their effect on the employees’ wellbeing, advising employees on how to manage and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Voluntary counselling and testing was conducted by the medical staff on the day for any employee that wanted it.

Engineering manager, Mpumelelo Saliwa, raised awareness on the importance of looking after one another but also of looking after the “goose that lays the golden eggs” which is the organisation itself and the assets that are provided to employees.

The motivational speaker, Mr Jurgen Tietz, shared a presentation on ‘Disruptive safety and the importance of us all learning from our mistakes and creating a better and safer working environment for ourselves to ensure that we all go back to our families unharmed every day’.

The engineering team conducted a demonstration on conveyor belt safety and shared the critical hazards and risks that accompany the use of this equipment.