COVID-19: MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY ISSUES DIRECTIVE TO MINING OPERATIONS ON START-UP PROCEDURES

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COVID-19: MINERAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY ISSUES DIRECTIVE TO MINING OPERATIONS ON START-UP PROCEDURES

Recent amendments to regulations published in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 (“the Regulations”) stipulated that mining operations, excluding collieries that supply Eskom, shall be conducted at a reduced capacity of 50% during the lockdown period, and, thereafter, at increasing capacity as determined by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy. Click here for our previous newsflash.

The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (“the Department”) has issued a directive to all mining operations to ensure safe start-up procedures as the sector prepares to ramp up to 50% of capacity. For a copy of the media statement click here.

The directive is issued to ensure compliance with Section 5(1) of the Mine Health and Safety Act 29 of 1996 (as amended), which requires that every employer must as far as reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a safe working environment.

The start-up procedures must also address measures to be taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as actions to provide a safe working environment, especially following the prolonged closure of some operations.

These measures, in line with the latest Regulations, should include:

  • Rigorous screening of all employees, including contractors, prior to accessing the mine;
  • Testing of employees with symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Adequate social distancing;
  • Provision of quarantine facilities for employees showing signs of COVID-19;
  • Establishment and maintenance of a personal hygiene programme; and
  • Provision of appropriate Personal Protective Equipment including face masks.

The directive also encourages employers to systematically phase in workers at the mines.

In line with the directive, mining companies must, in consultation with labour unions in the respective operations, develop the start-up procedure, and provide a copy to the Department, prior to ramp-up of operations.

The nature and extent of the COVID-19 pandemic is dynamic, unpredictable and changes almost daily as new scientific research about the virus becomes available. This calls for an equally dynamic response from Government and society as a whole.

The Department will therefore continue to introduce specific and appropriate measures for the sector when required. Stakeholders are urged to continue participating in this process as they have done to date, through the established consultative forums.

The Department continues with scheduled and unannounced visits to mining operations to monitor compliance with the Regulations, guiding principles on prevention and management of COVID-19, as well as the start-up procedure.

How can Shangoni assist with compliance at your operation?

Shangoni focus on managing operational risks and ensure that such is integrated in and aligned with hazards and unwanted events that employees and other workers may be exposed to. As such, we can assist organisations with:

  • Updating of existing risk assessments and mitigation plans to reflect the risk that COVID-19 has had on organisations. This relate to the new hazard but also how COVID-19 action plans are affecting other control measures required to manage other operational risks;
  • Developing of action and response plans (based on management of change principles) to facilitate the return to work (start-up) process;
  • Developing of personal hygiene programmes; and
  • Developing awareness material to ensure that all workers are aware of the new control measures required to maintain a safe workplace, temporary measures required to mitigate site incidents and emergencies, and other aspects of the business affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

For more information or assistance please contact Corrie Potgieter at corrie@shangoni.co.za

Inhance, one of Shangoni’s business partners, provides an application that can be used for the tracking, monitoring and reporting of the effect COVID-19 has on organisations. The services offered by them include:

  • Logistics planning of staff to and from work daily;
  • Self testing and information logging;
  • Screening of staff before boarding provided transport; and
  • Facilitate the management of 3rd party transporters and ensure they comply with government and company regulations.

For more information or assistance please contact Ken Osler at Ken.osler@inhancesc.com

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