Category Archives: News

Sources of Dust



The sources of dust here are predominantly from roads and open areas on the site. The dust is generated from the movements of trucks, forklifts, earthmoving machinery and light vehicles.  Typically, the methodologies for limiting fallout dust levels include watering, using dust binding agents, enforcing speed limits and engineering controls.  Training of workers are also able to effectively control dust levels, but this must include the training of all subcontractors that are doing the work on the site.


These are temporary and typically contain a fines component which can become airborne in the presence of wind.  Typically, the methodologies for attenuation include watering, using dust binding agents and covering the stock piles with hessian.


This is dust generated during the construction of residential homes, apartments and other concrete structures.  Typically, the methodologies for mitigation include training of contractors to limit dust during the various small construction activities.  Wetting down of exposed dust sources and covering of exposed dust sources.  Grinding and cutting generates excessive dust levels and localised engineering controls should be implemented to prevent this dust from being liberated into the environment.

Putting sand down on concrete or brick road surfaces for protection and sealing purposes should be limited and dust must be prevented from these road surfaces.

The use of shade cloth barriers to break up the wind speed and to allow dust to settle should be implemented downwind as per the prevailing wind during the months of 1 September to 30 April.  These months have a prevailing wind direction from the south east.  The shade cloth should be 2.2meters high and supported by sturdy wooden poles.  The cloth should be a low-density shade cloth that allows the wind to pass through the cloth, rather than to block the flow of the wind.   The method of attaching the cloth to the fence should limit the movement of the cloth so that the cloth lasts longer and should not have any sharp edges that can damage the cloth.  Repairs to shade cloth should be included in the planned maintenance.


The above was taken from a generic report brought out by DustWatch CC

Sources of dust

Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Happy New Year 2022

Happy New Year!  May it be a blessed and prosperous year for you all.

Mining Related Deaths

This is always an issue that we want to see improved.  The work environment should be kept as safe as possible!
Mining Related Deaths
Source –
“SA was aiming to end mine fatalities – instead, more miners are dying accreditation
Sibongile Khumalo
SA’s mining industry and unions are concerned about an increase in mining-related deaths.
The year 2019 was the safest year on record with 51 deaths.
SA’s deep gold mines, followed by platinum, lead the sector in terms of high fatalities.
Although South Africa’s mining industry has been aiming to reduce mine fatalities to zero, the latest figures instead show an increase.
On Thursday, the Minerals Council of South Africa (MCSA) said a total of 32 mineworkers had died to date this year in the country’s mines – an increase from the rate seen a year ago.
In 2020, as the industry navigated the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic – which hobbled full capacity operations in the initial months of the hard lockdown – some 24 mineworkers were killed in accidents.
While this was progress for South Africa, the International Council on Mining and Metals found, in its 2020 report, that SA had accounted for half its members’ fatalities.
The number of SA mining fatalities in 2018 had stood at 81.
South Africa, which has some of the world’s deepest mines, once had the worst health and safety record in the world. But since 1993, it has gradually been working to turn this around. The year 2019 as the safest on record with 51 deaths.
The country’s deep gold mines account for this year’s highest number of deaths in the period to 5 July, followed by platinum operations.
The MCSA, as well as other stakeholders such as labour unions and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, on Thursday expressed concern at the rise in mine fatalities at a time when the industry was also dealing with a pandemic that had so far killed 480 mineworkers.
What’s causing the deaths?
This year, there has been an increase in “fall of ground” accidents, particularly in the gold sector, with general accidents in mines also being on the upward trend.
The president of the MCSA, Nolitha Fakude, said while Covid-19 – which has devastated the industry for nearly 18 months – was still a challenge, it was crucial not to overlook a deterioration in mining’s safety performance.
“Worse still, thus far in 2021, we are seeing a further deterioration in the fatality trend,” said Fakude, as the council launched the National Day of Health and Safety in Mining.
Themba Mkhwanazi, who is the chairperson the Minerals Council’s Zero Harm Forum, said the situation called for collaborative efforts by the industry in order to arrest the trend.
“The CEOs must drive health and safety improvements from the top by sharing successes and challenges in dealing with occupational incidents,” said Mkhwanazi, who is also the chief executive of Kumba Iron Ore.
In addition to their depth, South Africa also has some of the oldest mines in the world. The sector has over the past year seen a mixed bag of reports in terms of mine-related deaths – as well as other health concerns.
The Chief Inspector of Mines, David Msiza, said while there had been a reduction in occupational diseases, the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss and occupational lung disease was still a concern.
Illegal miners’ battle to survive
While the industry is grappling with safety incidents in regular mining activities, government is also facing the scourge of illegal mining, which often results in deaths, as groups known as “zama-zamas” battle for territory or die in disused shafts.
In June, 20 bodies of people believed to be illegal miners surfaced on a site of a disused mine on Orkney, in the Free State.
Illegal mining deaths are not accounted for in the official incidents.
In addition to safety concerns over unregulated mining activities, Msiza said some illegal gangs were becoming violent.
He said illegal miners who were initially concentrated in the Free State were increasingly becoming active in Mpumalanga and the East Rand.
The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has been driving the sealing of disused shafts in various parts of the country, but the reopening of holes by syndicates has seen officials playing cat and mouse with zama-zamas.
“If we don’t deal with the market, then we will struggle. Our other approach is to promote illegal mining through the issuing of licences to groups that want to operate with the legitimate legal framework, ” he said.
This article has been updated to reflect that the ICMM said 50% of fatalities were among its members. It does not include non-members in its analysis.”
Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Merry Christmas 2021

We wish all our customers and clients a blessed Christmas season for 2021.

Microscan Assessments of Find Particulate Matter Samples



Microscan Assessments of Find Particulate Matter Samples

Image 1: The microscope currently being used.  UB100i Biological Binocular – 4 eye magnifications. UOP. SKU: SW-70051-BS-UB100i.  See specifications in Appendix A.

  • Introduction
    MicroScans are merely a description of accepted geological and other procedures for the recognition of rock fine material and other airborne material, distributed through-out a captured sample.
    While there are many more accurate quantitative analytical procedures, almost all are extremely expensive and all have limitations as they are designed for one purpose without considering other tests that may need to be done on the sample.
    It is important to interpret the results from such quantitative tests with the assistance of the background knowledge of how the sample was taken and site specific information.
    Often laboratory reports are only of academic value and do not bring new information to the table to assist in interpreting the results. The basics of any analysis is that it must provide additional information that is useful for the interpretation of the data being discussed.
    Spectrographic analysis is fine for the various mineral elements or individually for various compounds and element combinations, but all of the organic matter has to be either ashed or acid digested, and thus unless you have done a huge bulk sample capture, you will use up all of the sample to arrive at the elemental content.
    You will then need more material to be able to look at the organic chemistry type contents and yet a third sample to be able to look at the biological content and so on.
    Again, while not the perfect solution, the MicroScan is an intelligent scrutiny of samples that does not destroy or contaminate the sample.
  • Accuracy and Application

Things of concern in establishing the accuracy of any analytical method, as with field and laboratory geology, the initial recognition of a sample will rely on the colour of the sample, the hardness, form of the material in its normal state, and its propensity to break along fracture planes.  The fact that there is a list of geological materials falling into various hardness categories, which are used to establish how hard the material is, with harder material always damaging material of a softer hardness.
Other features of geology of use are the lustre presented on broken surfaces, and the crystalline structure of most minerals.
No matter how small the particulate may be, this will, in most cases, still display its crystalline form.  The hardness of each will then predict how fine dust material will wear, especially when driven over on roadways, quarries, and on dumps.  As dirt can be exceedingly small, this is the scale we need to work at and thus it is imperative that samples can be viewed at anything from scores, hundreds or even thousands of magnifications.  The advent of the digital imaging and various light sources, permits us not only to make observations but to photograph the noted features and specimens present.
The existence of a microscopic world out there also offers an opportunity to find microscopic life forms, or sub-micronic material and the larger more common pollen spores, algae, bacteria, and moulds which can influence health.  These potential health impacts are a concern and do impact on the health of people exposed to them.
Silicosis is caused by fine silica dust, and anthracosis is caused by fine coal dust.  Other forms of respirable disease are caused by other fine dusts, and the MicroScans enable the identification of fibres as well as fine organic material that can have a health impact.
It is a great big “tiny world” out there and there is no reason to only consider the mass of fine particulate matter, PM2.5 or PM10 or even PM30, but why not look for fibres which are present in airborne dusts, spores, moulds and other material which all have largely been ignored with regarding to their impacts on health.
The fact that collection methods only consider a material that remains after ashing or digestion also misses the golden opportunity of seeing what inaccuracies occur in many of the well-established and accepted methodologies.
The MicroScan technician in this case has to have a skill set and the skill base we work from is the knowledge of geology, occupational hygiene, organic chemistry and finally biology.  There are also some elements of forensics.

  • Sample Preparation

Ideally samples should be in a standard, 47mm petri slides with a tight fitted lid.  This allows the sample to be easily sealed when not being MicroScanned.
FFP1 or FFP2 respirators can be used to prevent the inhalation of fine respirable particulates.
Gloves should not be worn, as the combination of fabrics could cause static and the possible loss of fine material.
Forceps must be used to handle any samples.

  • Observations, Digitised Images and Preparation of Report photographs

The samples are scanned, and a representative image selected.  All size fractions are determined using a graticule.  The graticule size starts at 10 Micron and allows for the d50 diameter of a samples to be estimated.
The image is selected for photography if required.  Should there be any features or unusual material in the sample or a biological specimen, then this can be photographed, either in addition to or instead of the predominant particulate on the filter paper.
The photograph can be taken at four magnifications depending on the requirements.


The Microscope has four magnification (mag) settings, 4x, 10x, 40x, and 100x as a field lens.  The eye piece increases the magnification by 10x, and the camera increases it by 100 times.  The camera is fitted to the top of the microscope and the eye piece magnification is not included.

The total length of the gratical in the image below is 1mm from end to end.  Each small line indicates a gap of 10 micron, each medium line is a gap of 50 micron and each long line is a gap of 100 micron.

Image 2:  The above image photographed at a magnification of 4x field lens and 100x optical camera image, totalling 400 magnifications.

Image 3  The above image photographed at a magnification of 10x field lens and 100x optical camera image, totalling 1000 magnifications.

Image 4:  The above image photographed at a mag of 40x field lens and 100x optical camera image, totalling 4000 magnifications.

Image 5:  The above image photographed at a mag of 100x field lens and 100x optical camera image, totalling 10000 mags.
In practise this magnification cannot be achieved as the LED light source is not good enough to illuminate through the clear glass graticule, as can be noted by the image.

Note that the scaling is only applicable if the original image from the microscope is viewed at 100% size, and if the image has not been digitally resized.  The images above have been digitally resized.

There are some unknowns when doing MicroScans as described above and this should be considered when interpreting the results.

MicroScan assessments are a collection of recognised Geological and structural techniques utilised at microscopic level to determine the gross contents and salient features of any sample.  Crystallography also plays a significant part in the structural determination of materials making up the various constituents of the sample.

As the digitised images will also play a part in the recognition of certain constituents these can be further manipulated permitting viewing using polarised light and other means of illumination.

Our initial problem with some samples (unless taken by DustWatch in the field) is a common one shared by most laboratories running any form of assessment or analysis and that is that samples are supplied “blind” without any background information.  This means that we need to start making assumptions about unknown sampling procedures, exposure or capture times, methods or even any unusual circumstances surrounding the sampling conditions.

It is important to not put two samples together in one container as there will be cross contamination during transport and handling.


Gerry F. Kuhn (FMVS, MSAIOH, Grad SE) Chris Loans

(BSc Chemical Engineer, Pr Eng, MSc Public Health)

Doc Number:  0421291124  Date:  29-Apr-21

Appendix A:

___________________Extract from
(Accessed August 2018)_____

Binocular Microscopes > UB-100i

UB-100i Advanced Binocular Laboratory Microscope 
Full sized laboratory standard instrument of modern ergonomic design, robust reliable construction and excellent optical performance.
Equipped with infinity-corrected achromatic optical system. Chromatic aberrations and field curvature of field are both ideally corrected over the field of view. Infinity objectives, with higher numerical apertures, produce crisp and clear images..
Ideal for use in colleges, universities and professional laboratories over a wide range of biological, medical, veterinary, bacteriological and agricultural applications. Highly recommended.

Technical Specification: 
* Magnification range x40, x100, x400 & x1000
* Paired x10 DIN standard high eyepoint, widefield Plan eyepieces. Field 18mm, eyepoint 21mm
* Infinity achromatic objectives DIN standard Parfocal, parcentred x4(0.13),x10(0.30),40R(0.70),x100R(1.25) oil immersion (R=retractable)
* Bright field ABBE condenser (N.A. 1.25) with colour-coded iris diaphragm scale and filter carrier on fully focusing Substage
* Build in 230v, 6v 20w halogen illumination with continuously variable rotary brightness control
* Co-axial coarse and fine focusing with indexed scale and adjustable focus tension
* Smooth action x-y mechanical stage 142x135mm with co-axial drop controls and an adjustable spring arm to accommodate slides of different sizes
* Smooth action x-y mechanical stage 142x135mm with co-axial drop controls and an adjustable spring arm to accommodate slides of different sizes
* Seidentopf binocular head, inclined 30 degrees Rotatable 360 degrees with full inter-pupillary adjustment (52-75mm). Magnification factor x1
* Reversed position quadruple objective turret on sealed ball bearing race
* Complete with dust cover
* Supplied in polystyrene pack
* Dimensions 270x190x340mm
* Weight 6.5kg


______End of Extract from (Accessed August 2018) _

Appendix B

Additional reading material (Links accessible in August 2018 but may have changed since then)

Appendix C

Particle Size Theory

The South African national definition of PM10 particulate size is given as particulate matter of a size less than 10 micron.

The definition of any particle size has to include the density and the shape of the particle.  To understand PM10 particulate (or any particle size definition) additional definitions need to be understood and taken into account.

  1. PM10 – Sampling of atmospheric dust where the aerodynamic d50 diameter is 10μm.
  2. Aerodynamic diameter is the diameter of a spherical particle that has a density of 1g/cm3 and which has the same terminal settling velocity as the particle of interest.
  3. d50 – In a sample of dust the d50 diameter is the diameter above which fifty percent of the particles are larger, and below which fifty percent of the particles are smaller.
  4. d90 – In a sample of dust the d90 diameter is the diameter below which 90% of the particles are smaller.
  5. Terminal settling velocity is the fastest velocity that a particle can fall by gravity taking into account the shape and drag of the particle.

WRAC – Wide Range Aerosol Classification

TSP – Total Suspended Particulate

“The percentage of total aerosol mass less than 10 micron varied from about 50 to 90%, depending on the sampling location and sampling conditions.”  (R. M. Burton & Dale A. Lundgren (1987) Wide Range Aerosol Classifier: A Size Selective Sampler for Large

Particles, Aerosol Science and Technology, 6:3, 289-301, DOI: 10.1080/02786828708959140

To link to this article:

“PM10: The mass concentration of particles smaller than 10 μm. In practice, PM10 samplers do not provide perfectly sharp cuts at 10 μm. Instead, size-dependent collection efficiencies typically decrease from 100 percent at ~ 1.5 μm to 0 percent at ~15 μm, and are equal to 50 percent at 10 μm.” Referenced from

From the above it is important to note that larger particles can be collected if they have a low density as is the case with organics.

Gold Bearing Areas

Let’s learn about how do identify gold bearing areas from ( )

Gold Bearing Areas

“How to Identify a Gold Bearing Area

Updated April 25, 2017
By Chiara Sakuwa

Gold prospecting and identifying gold-bearing areas have become increasingly more feasible, due to research developments on the geological process of gold formation. (See References 1.) Gold bearing areas, mostly throughout the western United States, have drawn and sprouted entire communities based on prospecting. (See Reference 1.) Various hypotheses exist on how gold is formed as it surfaces in numerous types of volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Gold is mainly found in two types of deposits: lode (hard rock veins) and placer (surface). Locating the richest gold bearing areas primarily involves research, planning, dedication and funds. In other words, those who study geological surveys, land formations, rock structures and gold prospecting history prior to prospecting may have a better chance of finding desired amounts of gold. (See References 1 and 3.)

Research the geological properties of a particular gold-bearing area of interest. These properties include the rock formations, structure, fault lines and the primary mineral content of the area. Also, study the mineralization process of gold in general to determine which segment of a particular area may yield gold. (See Reference 1.)

Assess whether the area of interest is a lode deposit or placer deposit to determine proper equipment and prospecting methods. A lode deposit, consisting of hard rock usually found in a mine, mine dump or quartz vein will require a pick axe, hammer and chisel. Prospecting in a placer deposit, usually a stream, gravel lot or beach, requires a pan or dredging equipment. (See Reference 3.)

Plan your prospecting excursion according to your research. Gather the appropriate equipment. Map out the area and pinpoint the exact location you plan on prospecting for gold. Also, check state and local government regulations on gold prospecting respective to that particular region. (See Reference 2.)

Things You’ll Need
Dredging equipment
Geological survey map
Gold pan
Pick axe
Rock hammer

Due to the fact that gold is more weather-resistant than the rocks containing it, gold nuggets and fine particles can be washed down to concentrated placer deposits, or “pay streaks” by gradual erosion. (See Reference 1.)

Prospecting for gold often requires a large amount of funds for travel, accommodations and off-roading vehicles, without real promise of a good find, in most cases. In other words, a prospector must hope for the best, but be financially and psychologically prepared for the worst. (See Reference 2.)

Some gold-bearing areas, including national parks, are closed to prospecting. Violations may accrue major fines and in more serious cases, possible jail time. (See Reference 2.)

If a gold-bearing area is on privately-owned land, be sure to obtain permission from the owner in writing prior to prospecting. (See Reference 2.)”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Generic Report

Below is an example of a generic report that DustWatch produces for it’s clients.





1 JUNE TO 28 JULY 2018


1     Introduction

This report covers a 57-day period.

The unit design and methodology are based on the ASTM D1739 standard.

Additional information is available in the DustWatch manual.  Please contact us to enquire about the latest version of the manual;

The area of the bucket used in the calculations is 0.022966m2.

There are three units installed and operating on site.  (GPS positions and a map will be added when they are available)

  • Unit 2 – Evac –
    Unit 3 – Carport –
  • Unit 4 – Francis –


Generic report - DustWatch cc

Figure 1:  Location of the units.

2      Comments on the result

There are three single bucket units installed and operational at the site, namely the:

  1. Unit No. 2 – Evac (SB2)
  2. Unit No. 3 – Carport (SB3)
  3. Unit No. 4 – Francis (SB4)

The fall-out dust standards from National Dust Control Regulations, 2013.

Restriction Areas Dustfall rate (D) (mg/m2/day) – averaged over 30 days. Permitted frequency of exceeding dust fall rate
Residential area D < 600 Two within a year, not sequential months.
Non-residential area D < 1200 Two within a year, not sequential months.

Table 1:  Acceptable Dust Fall Rates – National Dust Control Regulations, 2013.

  • The Evac unit yielded 299 mg/m2/day in this period. The result decreased and is compliant in this period.
  • The Carport unit yielded 290 mg/m2/day in this period. The result is not a concern.
  • The Francis unit yielded 290mg/m2/day in this period.

The results are below 1200_mg/m2/day and are not a concern.

Unit name Residential or Non-residential Area Applicable Compliance – Dustfall rate (D) (mg/m2/day) – averaged over 30 days. Non-compliant or compliant.  Two within a year, not sequential months.
Unit No. 2 (SB2)
(Non-residential) D < 1200 Compliant in this period.  Compliant for the year.  Exceedance in January.
Unit No. 3 (SB3)
(Non-residential) D < 1200 Compliant in this period.  Compliant for the year so far.
Unit No. 4 (SB4)
(Non-residential) D < 1200 Compliant in this period.  Compliant for the year so far.

Table 2:  Compliance Table 2018

Chris Loans

(BSc Chemical Engineer, pr eng)

Cape Town, Doc Number:  0718191208: Date:  19-Jul-18


Weather Information – Weather


2018 Temp. (°C) Dew Point (°C) Humidity (%) Visibility (km) Wind (km/h) Precip. (mm) Events
May high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum
2 18 14 11 15 13 11 100 88 71 19 10 0 32 13 39 2.03 Fog , Rain
3 23 18 12 14 11 10 94 67 39 31 19 10 27 16 0.00
4 29 18 8 11 8 6 93 58 15 19 17 10 14 6 0.00
5 21 16 11 14 9 4 88 61 30 31 24 19 35 14 0.00
6 23 17 10 14 12 9 100 79 40 31 20 7 21 6 0.00
7 23 18 13 15 12 5 94 63 26 19 13 10 48 16 1.02 Rain
8 17 15 13 13 12 9 94 80 62 31 11 4 52 32 63 2.03 Rain
9 19 14 10 11 9 7 88 69 39 31 14 8 23 14 0.00
10 20 14 8 11 9 6 94 77 31 31 21 19 16 6 0.00
11 19 14 9 12 10 7 100 81 41 19 12 6 27 11 0.25 Rain
12 20 17 13 14 12 11 100 81 52 31 13 10 23 14 0.51 Rain
13 19 13 8 13 12 9 100 81 58 31 13 2 27 13 40 0.00 Fog
14 21 17 13 14 12 11 94 76 48 31 23 10 29 16 0.00
15 23 16 8 14 11 6 100 85 40 19 6 0 13 6 0.00 Fog
16 29 19 9 13 9 6 94 62 16 31 25 19 16 8 0.00
17 23 19 16 15 14 11 94 73 47 31 23 10 21 16 0.00
18 29 20 12 15 12 9 94 67 23 31 21 19 16 8 0.00
19 24 19 13 13 12 9 88 68 35 31 26 19 23 8 0.00
20 21 18 15 15 14 11 94 80 64 26 13 7 34 18 0.51 Rain
21 18 17 15 15 14 13 94 87 75 19 9 2 40 31 9.91 Rain
22 19 17 13 14 12 11 94 76 50 26 12 4 39 26 0.00 Rain
23 19 17 14 15 14 13 88 79 62 31 12 6 50 29 0.00 Rain
24 17 16 14 16 14 10 100 87 68 19 9 3 39 24 5.08 Rain
25 19 13 8 12 11 7 94 78 48 31 15 10 19 10 0.00
26 21 13 6 13 9 6 100 82 40 31 13 1 14 5 0.00 Fog
27 22 14 7 13 9 6 100 79 32 31 19 0 10 5 0.00 Fog
28 18 14 12 14 13 12 94 86 74 19 10 3 47 23 58 5.08 Rain
29 17 13 9 12 10 7 94 79 49 31 13 6 19 10 0.00 Rain
30 17 12 8 12 9 8 94 80 58 19 12 10 27 13 0.76
31 17 14 13 13 12 11 94 83 68 26 10 2 61 32 72 23.11 Rain
2018 Temp. (°C) Dew Point (°C) Humidity (%) Visibility (km) Wind (km/h) Precip. (mm) Events
Jun high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum
1 17 13 10 13 9 6 94 69 39 31 11 3 60 34 80 0.00 Rain



CLIENT: gaositoe mmoledi Period Exceeds 40 Days SAMPLING PERIOD    –  1-Jun-2018 28-Jul-2018
SB2 Evac 1-Jun-2018 28-Jul-2018 206 X501 299

Table 3: Fallout Dust Results

CLIENT: gaositoe mmoledi   SAMPLING PERIOD    –  28-Jun-2018 28-Jul-2018
SB3 Carport 28-Jun-2018 28-Jul-2018 200 X502 290

Table 4: Fallout Dust Results

CLIENT: gaositoe mmoledi   SAMPLING PERIOD    –  28-Jun-2018 28-Jul-2018
SB4 Francis 28-Jun-2018 28-Jul-2018 200 X500 290


Table 5: Fallout Dust Results

Calibration and SANAS Information

The calibration is shown to four decimal places of a gram and is accurate to 0.1 mg.



 Appendix – Ligno Sulphate Information – Chryso Eco Dust 200D

DustWatch can provide quotations for this product if required and also provide advice on optimized application for different area requirements.  Gravel Roads, Haul Roads, Unpaved open areas, Stockpiles and Berms.  On site advice is available for site specific requirements and optimization.

The application spreadsheet is available here if required.


Notes:  (This page has intentionally been left blank)

Occupational Health and Safety

Safety is ever a concern in the workplace.

Occupational Health and Safety

Source –

“Labour report shows long road ahead for improving occupational health and safety
Khulekani Magubane

Claims to the Compensation Fund reached over R4 billion in 2016/17 and medical costs account for 66% to 71% of claims.
Mining industry reported injuries declined to a rate of 1 incident per 150 employees per year.
The highest health and safety compliance rate was noted in construction while the lowest compliance was in manufacturing and retail.
There is a worrying lack of compliance with occupational health and safety standards in some sectors, and the Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted some of the critical gaps in keeping employees safe.

This is according to a new report on occupational health and safety by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). South Africa is a member of the International Labour Organisation, and the report was jointly commissioned by the ILO and DEL.

Launching the Profile of Occupational Health and Safety South Africa report on Friday, the DEL said safety was still a key concern in some sectors.

According to the report, the monetary value of claims to the Compensation Fund under the department has been rising over the years and reached over R4 billion in 2016/17.

Medical costs account for 66% to 71% of claims.

Worrying compliance levels

According to the report, the number of workplace inspections by the department has grown steadily from 180 818 in 2014/15 to 218 919 in 2018/19. The number of inspectors per employees has also been increased.

However, it raised the alarm regarding compliance with health and safety standards seen in inspections, saying the lowest compliance was in the manufacturing sector with only 241 out of 542 employers in the sector complying, followed by retail, with 996 out of 1897 employers complying.

The highest was in the construction sector, with 3 919 out of 4 725 employers complying; and agriculture, with 461 out of 622 inspected employers complying.

The mining industry reported that injuries declined from 3 036 injuries in 2015 to 2 350 in 2018, amounting to a rate of 1 incident per 150 employees per year. However, fatalities remain a challenge, the report said.

In July, the Minerals Council of South Africa (MCSA) said a total of 32 mineworkers had died to date this year in the country’s mines – an increase from the rate seen a year ago.

Apart from differences between sectors, occupational health and safety specialist Spoponki Kgalamono said there was still a critical gap in SA when it came to the informal economy and work changes introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“During the pandemic it was evident that the national…system was disjointed. As noted by the department and work streams and academia, the efforts of strengthening these systems have allowed us to protect workers, particularly during outbreaks,” said Kgalamono.

Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment Boitumelo Moloi said a lack of recorded data on diseases was a critical gap.

Making changes

The release of the OHS report is part of developing a comprehensive strategy and policy for the prevention of occupational health and safety hazards for employees and reforming the inspection and compensation regime.

Labour and Employment director general Thobile Lamati said the report was not just about occupational health and safety, for which the Department of Employment and Labour is responsible, but also covered all aspects of occupational health and safety in South Africa.

“We are now on the cusp of the development of the fifth OHS Act which I believe will revolutionise the current health and safety practises and offers greater protection for workers, while equally protecting complying employers.

“This bill was the culmination of years of stakeholder and partner interaction at Nedlac. The bill has been approved for public comment by the Cabinet of South Africa,” said Lamati.

Lamati said all government departments and entities, state and non-statutory institutions responsible for occupational health and safety had contributed, as well as business and unions.

Inspector-General of inspections and enforcements at the Department of Employment and Labour Aggy Moiloa said there was also an economic benefit to ensuring employees are kept safe.

“It should not be misconstrued that these are just limited to the human element. It can be argued that a sound national OHS profile would bode well for the health of the economy as well,” said Moiloa.

Business Unity South Africa board member Deidre Penfold said employees have responded positively to efforts to improve occupational health and safety. The report gave useful guidance on where OHS could be improved, Penfold said.

But Black Business Council CEO Gregory Mofokeng noncompliance remained unacceptably high and welcomed the opportunity to address problems.

“We want to work with government and hold accountable all of the businesses that merely pay lip service to occupational health and safety. We will dedicate our resources to realise a reduction of the incidences we are seeing in workplaces,” said Mofokeng.

Mofokeng said healthcare sector improvements were essential to creating complete coverage for injured and ill workers, along with movement in capacitating the National Health Insurance.

Federation of Unions of South Africa general secretary Reifdah Ajam said the report was long overdue.

Cosatu deputy secretary general Solly Phetoe agreed, flagging difficulties with compensation claims.

Compensation Fund commissioner Vuyo Mafat, however, said “the priority should remain to prevent, decrease and eradicate occupational health and safety hazards in the workplace”, adding that illness and injury resulted in a loss of skills to the economy.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

How to get involved in the mining industry

Now that we’ve looked at various mining activities in South Africa, maybe you are keen to be involved.  Here’s how you can make a start.

How to get involved in the mining industry


How to get involved in the mining industry
October 30, 2020

In the startup scene, few entrepreneurs will look to the mining sector. The industry is a giant and competes on the world stage. But because South Africa is so confident in its natural reserves this sector offers ample opportunity to innovators and self-starters.

South Africa has rich natural reserves

The mining industry in 2016 attributed to 8 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And the mining sector is considered to be the fifth largest mining sector, in terms of GDP, globally. South Africa has the world’s largest reserves of manganese and platinum group metals and is home to some of the biggest reserves of gold, diamonds, chromite ore and vanadium.

The gold and diamond mining industries are one of the most important foreign exchange earners for the country and gold accounts for more than one-third of the exports. South Africa can also boast enormous coal and chrome production. And, there’s still potential for more exploration in some untapped areas thought to be deposits of more precious metals and types of minerals.

Now tapping into this industry may feel overwhelming

You can’t just simply begin mining and most entrepreneurs would believe that setting up a mining company is a capital-intensive exercise. Of course, if you’re planning on embarking on an exhaustive exploration mission then sure you’re going to need some serious funding to cover the excessive costs. But you don’t need to do that to be involved in this sector.

The mining industry makes use of advanced technologies

The mining sector cannot afford to reject new technologies and advanced processes. It is too big an industry to continue with old hat methods and if mining companies don’t embrace modern technology they are likely to fail. New technologies such as data collection, cloud-based networks, wearable technologies, and drones are all types of examples of products and industries assisting the mining sector. And if your company is aligned with this type of technology then becoming involved in the mining sector is easy enough.

Environmental concerns are a big deal in the mining sector

Reducing energy consumption and cultivating renewable energy sources is top of mind in just about every industry. In the mining industry, in particular, running an environmentally responsible operation results in cost savings as well as benefitting the planet.

By employing energy efficient technologies and automating various processes which optimise energy consumption mining companies are able to enjoy major savings. According to a report by Deloitte last year, some mining companies have seen a saving of up to 40 percent in expenses. An environmentally aligned startup can tailor their offering to the mining sector and enjoy major success.

Health and safety services are paramount to the mining sector’s performance

In South Africa, health and safety on mines are extremely important. HIV and TB are two diseases directly affecting mineworkers in South Africa. It is such a problem that this year the government introduced a National Strategic Plan to run a course of five years so that it may reduce the mortality rates. Mining companies must make provisions for people catching these diseases and face up to what is happening amongst its workers on site. Sex education and access to family planning and medication are crucial for the mines to be considered safe and secure work. This National Strategic Plan outlines the framework for a multi-sectoral partnership to be formed. This will specifically focus on accelerating the reduction of morbidity and mortality directly associated with TB, HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Furthermore, occupational health and safety cannot be more important than in the mining industry. Mining companies are held to strict guidelines and legislation that’s in place to prevent workplace fatalities and injuries.

Health and safety practice, personal protective gear, clean up operations and critical training courses are all ways of getting your foot in the door of the mining sector as a small business. As an entrepreneur, if you decide to create a company that offers training or products and services that address either the concern around HIV and TB or you offer something that aligns with occupational health and safety, you’ll find yourself quickly entrenched in a dangerous sector.

Once you have an idea that fits in within the needs of the mining sector you will need to create a business plan. You’ll likely be able to get funding from a government grant if you are able to jump through the hoops supplied. Alternatively, you can apply for capital from the bank. Mining equipment funding is available to entrepreneurs who wish to enter the sector.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Women in Mining

To continue our mining theme, let’s take a look at woman in this challenging industry.

Woman in mining - image from article source (see link)


Rosond celebrates its incredible team of women in mining
July 27, 2021

The mining industry has traditionally been a male-dominated environment. Nowhere is this more evident than in exploration drilling, where handling the drill rods alone requires substantial physical strength and dexterity, in addition to being able to load and unload heavy equipment from the drill rigs itself. However, when drilling technology solutions provider Rosond of Midrand designed and developed a next-generation drill rig that automates this arduous and dangerous process, an opportunity arose for several women to be deployed at Kumba Iron Ore in the Northern Cape. Recruiting and training this team formed part of the company’s tender with Anglo American, explains Rosond MD Ricardo Ribeiro.

“What I enjoy most about my job is that we always work as a team. This truly creates a family environment where everybody is there for each other. I feel empowered, because for many years only men were allowed to work in the mining industry. I would like to thank Rosond for giving me such a big opportunity. I know I still have much to learn, which is why I am so excited about this job and being part of women in mining,” says Bolokang Innocentiah Mere, who lives in Kathu. Her role as a Grade Control Drill Assistant is to ensure that all samples taken are labelled correctly, and to assist with set-up when relocating to the next exploration site.

Drill Assistant Lesogo Mavis Kanon, who works at Kuruman, agrees that women like herself are paving the way for increased gender equality in the mining industry. “What I enjoy most about my job is acquiring the knowledge to overcome the challenges I face on a daily basis. Rosond has taught me that people should not be judged on gender alone, but on skills and competency. I am blessed to be in my current position, as this opportunity has shown me that anything is possible, and that we can indeed bring about a positive change to the industry.”

Reabetswe Prudence Kaekae comments that her position as Drill Assistant has allowed her to not only operate the machinery itself, but also to think out-of-the-box and be more multitasked. “It is quite challenging yet interesting at the same time. It is a different working environment that you become used to as time goes by.” Her vision is to learn more about the mining industry so she can become an instructor herself one day, teaching the next generation of women about the latest drill rig technology being developed by Rosond.

Diamond Drill Assistant Agness Sethunya has a wide range of tasks, from washing core samples to general paperwork. “I enjoy learning new things each and every single day, but mostly I enjoy the challenges I have to tackle as a woman working with drill rigs and other heavy equipment.” Her future plan is to become a Safety Officer and ultimately a qualified engineer.

Mercia Monwe is an assistant on the Ros 8II EX drill rig, and says she enjoys learning from her fellow drill crew members, who are highly mindful of safety and efficiency while on the job. “At first it was a challenge, but at the end of the day I learned that even working in a male-dominated industry, I can achieve anything.”

Being able to work in the mining industry is an incredible achievement, says Drill Assistant Palesa Cheraldine Buneditte, adding that she now has access to opportunities for personal and career growth that were simply unavailable to her before. Even Letlhogonolo Moricho, who works as a cleaner at Kolomela, has been inspired by what her fellow female colleagues have achieved. “I am very excited to be a part of the mining industry, which has put me on a path to learn more and one day maybe even get to work on the drill rigs themselves.”

Rosond has supplied 28 next-generation drill rigs to the Kolomela and Sishen mines as part of a R2 billion, five-year tender to ensure Anglo American is up to date with the latest drilling technology as it modernises its geoscience operations. The drill rigs feature increased safety due to the fact that they are largely automated, and include control cabins with air-conditioning and ablution facilities attached.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.