Occupational Health and Safety in the Mining Industry

Below are extracts from two papers concerning health and safety in the mining industry.  Those who are interested can read further – please follow the links provided to the original articles.


Occupational health and safety in mining—status, new developments, and concerns
by M.A. Hermanus


This paper examines the occupational health and safety performance (OHS) of the South African mining sector against the backdrop of changes in the composition of the sector, international trends in OHS performance, and the agreement on OHS milestones and targets by mining stakeholders at the Mine Health and Safety Summit of 2003. Although OHS performance has improved, progress is slow and there is need for significant rather than incremental change if the targets are to be realized. Since 2003, fatalities and
injuries are 20–25% short of annual milestones and not all commodities show consistent improvement. Statistics on occupational health impacts are unavailable, but noise and respirable dust levels are known to be high in mines, with much work lying ahead to address exposures at source. Trends in regulating and addressing OHS hazards are discussed with reference to the notion of ‘systemsthinking’ and the targets.

Efforts to improve OHS and to respond to changes in the sector are constrained by a lack of training and
consistency in risk management, guidance for junior, small and artisanal miners, and holistic approaches to risk. For example, treating risk holistically would involve taking proper account of contractors and women in the workplace, and attending to human factors and ergonomics.”

Health and Safety

Occupational health and safety challenges…South African gold & platinum mines

Occupational Health Southern Africa


Historically, the mining industry has been a male-dominated sector and it has been a challenge to introduce and ensure full incorporation of women into this sector.1 The employment of women in the South African mines, since 2004, is a relatively new phenomenon.1,2 As such; the South African government adopted a number of strategies aimed at opening up the mining sector for previously disadvantaged individuals, including women as part of its economic empowerment policy, and in line with the mining charter and the Employment Equity Act. 2,3

Compared to their male counterparts, women in mining (WIM) have unique health and safety needs resulting from their anatomical and physiological makeup. Of equal ­importance is the fact that the International Labour Organization has classified women workers as “vulnerable workers” with special occupational health and safety needs 4, and WIM are no exception. This is compounded by the fact that there is a paucity of published data on occupational health and safety (OH&S) issues concerning WIM.

In general, women workers face equal but also ­different OH&S challenges at work compared to men. However, because women workers are vulnerable, they tend to suffer the most from work-related diseases, including musculo­skeletal and reproductive problems, compared to their male counterparts.5 This clearly indicates the need to protect and promote women’s OH&S at work, by addressing issues that are unique to them. In addition, the Safety and Health in Mines Convention C176 of (1995) was ratified by South Africa on the 9th of June 2009, which recognises the desirability to prevent any fatalities, injuries or ill health affecting workers or members of the public, or damage to the environment arising from mining operations.6

In South Africa, Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA), No 29 of 1996 as amended provides for the monitoring of conditions that will promote a culture of OH&S in the mining industry and protect mine workers and other persons at mines.7 However, it has not made specific provision for gender specifications regarding OH&S conditions in the mines. This paper describes socio-demographic characteristics and explores OH&S challenges reported by WIM in two mines. Recommendations are made that should contribute to the improvement of the OH&S of WIM.”

Invisible Fine Dust

Particulate Matter

The Invisible Fine Dust

Environmental Expert

“Apr. 13, 2016
Courtesy of Dr. Födisch Umweltmesstechnik AG

Air is lifeblood. Daily we inhale approximately 15.000 liter. Still, the air contains invisible pollutants, which vary in its composition and concentration depending on the location. Especially the respirable particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 µm (PM 2.5) were considered to be particularly dangerous.

According to a current study conducted by the Max Planck Society, worldwide 3.3 million people annually die prematurely due-to consequences of air pollution. In the European Union, the exposure with fine dust and ozone causes up to 180 000 deaths each year, of which alone 35 000 die in Germany. (Source) Various examinations have proven that dust polluted air indoor and outdoor damage the heart, lungs and brain resulting in an increased infarction and stroke risk and rising attacks of asthma. At the latest since the Volkswagen emission scandal and the fine dust alert in Stuttgart, the topic gained presence. It is a fact that the emission of fine dust and nitrogen oxide in exhaust gases is not entirely caused by road transport vehicles. Not only in Stuttgart, but also in other areas in Europe the particulate matter concentrations are too high. Also tyre abrasion on the roadway as well as aviation and railway related PM2.5 emissions contribute to a rising fine dust concentration in the environment. The promotion of small-scale firing plants in recent years intensified the problem and demonstrates nowadays its full impact. Biomass power plants and industrial incinerations were the main emitters of fine dust particles.

European emission limits and emission guidelines should control the respirable dust pollution. Since 2015 exist a limit value of 25 µg/m³ in the annual average throughout Europe. This value will be reduced in 2020 to 20 µg/m³. The conformation of the limitation values were controlled by 170 regulatory measuring stations of the Federal Environment Agency in Germany. According to their results, the fine dust pollution has diminished over the last few years at both national and regional level, but the trend stagnated since 2013. (Source)
Comprehensible to everyone is that fine dust pollution rises in urban and suburban spaces, whereas in rural areas the values decrease.
To combat causes is more difficult than the responsible persons thought.

No matter what the weather is like: The fine dust measurement fits

Weather-related influences adversely affect the measurement. Regulatory measuring stations, as required to gain reliable measuring values, are technically sophisticated and cost-intensive. Currently six regulatory measuring stations in Stuttgart were installed.

Through the compact fine dust sensor FDS 15 from Dr. Födisch Umweltmesstechnik AG, a smart fine dust measuring instrument enters now the market that determines the fine dust concentration (PM2.5) in a similar way. Previous trials in Germany and China correspond well to the regulatory measuring stations. Every two seconds, a measuring signal is transmitted to the receiver. Depending on the customers’ requirements the determined values can be averaged over minutes or hours. Due to the continuous measuring principle, the values contain a high level of information density and have therefore also a great expressiveness.

Moreover, through the WLAN-capability and the connection of several sensors, it can be defined precisely, where and when the fine dust pollution comes from. This is shown by the evaluation of our test results.”


For the full article, please follow the link provided.

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

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2019

Good day

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is in January 2019 in Rustenburg and the other dates at this venue and the Pretoria venue are shown below for the 2019 year.


14 – 18 January 2019 – Rustenburg
08 – 10 May 2019 – Rustenburg
24 – 26 July 2019 – Rustenburg
11 – 15 November 2019 – Rustenburg
12 – 14 February 2019 – Pretoria
9 – 11 April 2019 – Pretoria
11 – 13 June 2019 – Pretoria
8 – 10 October 2019 – Pretoria


The costs are in the attached files, R4400 per person per day.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email chris@dustwatch.com or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.


Chris Loans

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2019

Habits that are bad for your indoor air quality

5 Habits that are bad for your indoor air quality

Environmental Expert

Nov. 20, 2017
Courtesy of Allerair Industries

“School is starting, but warm weather means we are still spending more time outside and keeping windows open as much as possible. However, it doesn’t mean we are safe from poor indoor air quality at home. In fact, indoor air may be more polluted in the summer months than in the wintertime. The reasons include high humidity, pollutant buildup, pesticides and VOCs.

There are certain habits in particular that put our health and well-being at risk in the summer and fall, but awareness and a few tweaks in these habits can help combat poor IAQ this time of year.

Forgetting to Monitor Humidity

In winter, it’s easy to take an interest in humidity levels, since low humidity could lead to nasal irritation and discomfort. In the summertime, humidity is often high and can make its way indoors through open windows and cracks in the building.

The problem is that high levels of humidity can lead to mold growth and a multitude of health problems. It often starts in the basement, where cold walls react to warm air or saturated soil around the home, which leads to condensation and increased humidity.

Humidity levels should stay between 40-60% in the summer, and they should not get much higher than 60% before mold growth becomes a concern. Most homes need a dehumidifier in the basement to regulate humidity, but increased air circulation and monitoring also help.

Slacking Off on the Regular Cleaning Schedule

Hey, we get it, everyone is busy, and cleaning sometimes takes a back seat to hanging out with friends, getting some exercise or attending an outdoor event. But it might be a good idea to keep vacuuming and mopping regularly. Going in and out many times throughout the day means more dirt ends up inside, pets shed just as much as usual (if not more) and dust mites also like to multiply in these conditions.

Going Overboard with Renos and Projects

During the spring, summer and fall, many people move homes or start on a renovation or restoration project close to their heart. And warmer months are great for these activities, as many projects can be done outside or with open windows to maximize ventilation and to minimize exposure to harmful chemicals. Still, taking on too much could wreak havoc with the indoor air quality, and poorly planned projects also bring more headaches than joy. Focus on one project at a time, include the weather forecast in your planning and buy the least harmful products possible.

Leaving the A/C on Continuously

If you are living in a warm region, constant high temperatures are worrisome and can lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but leaving the air conditioning running all the time is also problematic. That’s because when the A/C is on, windows stay shut, and pollutants from everyday products and building materials as well as those brought in from outside remain trapped indoors, building up to unhealthy levels. It’s much better to run the air conditioning during the hottest hours in the day and to open windows at night for optimum air circulation.

Using Pesticides to Combat Bugs

Warmer temperatures mean more insects – a common complaint during the summer – and they like to find their way indoors during fall. Mosquitoes, flies, spiders, ants, and co. will make their appearances, wanted or not. But spraying pesticides is not a good idea, as these chemicals are not only harmful to insects but also to humans, and children in particular. Using screens in windows and on patio doors helps to keep bugs out. Boric acid can help combat ants in the home, and it’s much safer than chemical pesticides.

Try natural bug sprays with citronella and essential oils of lavender, thyme and mint to keep bugs away. Certain plants around the doors and deck can also help: Basil, lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender, rosemary and marigold, for example.”


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

New Botswana Coal Mine

New Botswana coal mine development under way – Minergy

Source – Mining Weekly



“Work is under way on the new Masama coal mine, which Botswana Stock Exchange-listed Minergy expects to commission in January, ahead of its primary listing on London’s Alternative Investment Market (Aim) in the first half of next year.

The 390-million-tonne Masama, located in the Mmamabula coalfield, 50 km north of the capital city Gabarone, has the potential to produce 2.4-million tonnes a year of thermal coal as Botswana’s only opencast low-strip mine.

The first saleable product is scheduled to be available from February 2019 for export to South Africa and mainly Asian markets. The Mmamabula coalfield is considered to be a western extension of the Waterberg coalfield in the Ellisras basin in South Africa.

“We’re are now able to break ground and invite contractors to start work immediately,” Minergy CEO Andre Bojé said in a release to Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly Online.

The 33% increase in the thermal coal price over the past 18 months has made the mineral one of the world’s five highest-performing commodities at a time when Botswana and Minergy have an opportunity to respond to Africa’s increasing demand for coal; the four-million tonnes exported from South Africa to the African continent in 2016 is forecast to grow to 38-million tonnes by 2030.

Masama is close to existing rail, road and water infrastructure, with distance advantages over competing suppliers to regional customers, and arising at a time when Transnet Freight Rail sees Botswana as a potential provider of additional rail traffic on its coal line.

“Investors looking to invest in coal have lots of opportunity now. The price of coal is rising, there is a deficit in supply and a strong demand, especially in the developing world, which is driving up the prices and keeping them high. In my experience, there’s never been a better time to invest in coal,” said Boje.

Minergy, which has raised an additional P26.9-million capital to meet its commitments, is engaging with local communities on job creation and upliftment programmes, including improving the school and the clinic at the Medie village, as well as bringing in electricity.

The mining contract has been awarded to Jarcon, a joint venture between South African company IPP and Botswana company Giant Plant, and the build-own-operate-transfer contract for the washing plant to Pentalin Processing. Contracts for the provision of site and bush clearing, civil works, power reticulation, water and waste management, road construction and weighbridges are in various stages of appointment.

Given the impending Aim listing, the granting of the mining licence to Minergy by the Botswana government further reduces the risk for any potential investors and underpins the investment case.

With the first phase of the development fully funded, the company could come to the market for its expansion.

Despite the global move away from using fossil fuels for energy in favour of cleaner sources, coal remains the world’s second most used fuel after oil, with many developing countries locked into its use.

A number of traders have already reportedly engaged Minergy on offtake agreements. Trading-savvy Boje, the founder and former CEO of Wescoal, has many years of experience in coal trading under his belt.”


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


Rare sandstorm hits Chinese city of Zhangye

Watch a video of this rare event that happened a few days ago – http://www.asiaone.com/china/watch-rare-sandstorm-hits-chinese-city-zhangye 

“A sandstorm hit Zhangye, Northwest China’s Gansu province, on Sunday, carrying strong winds.

Zhangye launched an emergency plan and the sandstorm gradually alleviated by the time of publication.”

Rare sandstorm hits Chinese city of Zhangye

Emergency Medical Equipment

Mining safety is of paramount impotrant.  Have a look at this article regarding emergency medical equipment.


Emergency Medical Equipment and Mining Safety


“Mining across the globe is under close scrutiny with regards to standards of safety. This has never been brought more under the spotlight than with the “2010 Chilean Mining Accident”. This well documented rescue effort highlighted the importance of cooperation between government, mining authorities, and medical response and rescue teams.

Most important in any mining operation is the protection of human life. It is however also not disputed that lives lost has a significant impact on the financial sustainability of a mine and even the ability to continue with mining operations.

This is why emergency medical response is such an important component in mining safety. Even with the best training and safety standards in place mining accidents will still occur. Underground tremors and other forces of nature can be devastating for those working 4,000m below ground. In the unfortunate event of these and other accidents it is of the utmost importance that miners will be able to receive the best possible treatment in the golden hour after the accident.

On the Mining Safety website we have also shared information on Emergency Medical Response and Mining Safety and would like to add to this discussion by sharing some information on the equipment required by paramedics for emergency medical response at our mines.

We decided to raise a few questions with ER24, one of the most professional emergency medical response providers assisting mines across Africa in Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Democratic Republic Congo and Liberia.

We wanted to focus on the analysis of emergency medical equipment required by the paramedics and the importance of these equiptment.

When ER24 is involved in the analysis of emergency medical response requirements at the Mines – does this also include deciding on the equipment required?

It is extremely important to analyse which equipment will be required on a specific site. Certain sites require paramedics to assist underground where others might only have a requirement towards a primary health care clinic.

Once a risk assessment is completed for the client, the Site Based Medical Services Manager – a Medical Doctor, will propose certain equipment in order to assist with emergency fast and efficiently. In certain cases the client provides the equipment on site. Should this be the case, the Site Based Team will evaluate the equipment to ensure that it is usable and in good order.

Who is responsible for the providing or availability of equipment? Does ER24 provide the equipment or does the mine have to provide for this?

As mentioned above, some clients prefer to supply their own equipment. However, ER24 also provides equipment related to the client’s needs. We have accredited suppliers that supply us with approved quality equipment. It is also important to understand which equipment will be used in order to ensure that the paramedic on site is trained in the specific item.

Does this requirement of the equipment required differ from mine to mine?

Yes, it depends on what type of mine it is. Certain mines may require the paramedics to be part of their proto team or have full control over the proto team. It also depends on the location of the mine and how soon the patient can be evacuated from the site.

Should there be a significant time delay before a patient can be evacuated; the paramedics will require extra equipment to assist with the patient’s basic life functions.

Does the nature of the mining activity – open pit, underground etc play a meaningful role in the decision of which equipment is required?

In most circumstances equipment are standard, but extra equipment based on the risk analysis might be required. The equipment will also be adjusted depending on the role the paramedic needs to play on the site.

Will the location of a mine and especially the distance from the nearest hospital play a role in the equipment needed on site?

As mentioned above the distance plays a big role in evacuating a patient as soon as possible. For example in a situation where a local ER24 ambulance can on site within a few minutes the patient can be evacuated to an appropriate facility without necessarily invasive equipment.

However, in certain areas where a patient needs to be evacuated with fixed wing or rotor wing, the paramedic might require ventilators as well as infusion pumps etc, until the medevac arrives.

What are the most important emergency medical equipment needed – if you could list approximately the 10 most important pieces/ types of equipment…?

The basic life support equipment are always the first prize as this saves lives. The paramedic needs equipment that can assist the patient in airway and breathing such as, oxygen, disposable oxygen masks, ventilators, endotracheal tubes, etc.

Circulation must also be maintained and a paramedic requires disposable stock to stop bleeding, CPR equipment, defibrillator, etc.

Obviously it depends on the paramedics protocol, but medical drugs ranging from basic life support oxygen up to advanced life support morphine may be required on site.”


For the full article, follow the link above.

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

Dust Control

Here is an interesting article on the controlling of dust.  It is quite intensive so only a brief portion has been posted below.  Please follow the link to read the full article.


Dust Control – Science Direct

“Handbook of Conveying and Handling of Particulate Solids
M.E. Fayed, in Handbook of Powder Technology, 2001

5.1 Technology
The solution of a dust control problem should be handled as an engineering problem. The successful solution of a dust control problem is achieved through knowledge and experience. The knowledge is not only related to the dust control methods and devices but also to the process in which the material is handled. The experience is usually gained in a specific industry in which the person is employed. For example the dust control in pharmaceutical and mining industries is a different experience. The experience may vary even between companies in the same industry.

The control of dust in powder handling and processing operations should not be treated as an isolated design problem. The solution of a dust control problem should include a thorough analysis of the parameters associated with the handled material, the main process and dust control equipment with the goal to achieve optimum results. Knowledge and experience are the most invaluable assets not only because they help achieve optimum solutions but also they maintain the interest and enthusiasm of company personnel committed to a long-term solution of any dust control problem.”


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

NASA Monitors Sand Flying From the Sahara to the Amazon

This amazing video from Time shows how NASA monitors sand blown from the Sahara Desert to the Amazon jungle.

Click the link here to see the original article and to watch the video.


“A NASA satellite has been monitoring the movement of sand from the Sahara Desert in Africa to the Amazon rainforest in South America.

The space agency’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) is tracking the massive plumes of dust particles that make the Atlantic crossing from the great African desert to the largest rainforest in the world, where the particles settle and aid plant growth. The phosphorus content of the African dust is an important nutrient in the Amazon.

On average, 182 million tons of dust leave Africa each year, of which 27 million tons is deposited in the Amazon basin, according to data collected since CALIPSO launched in 2006. The amount varies each year, however.

“Using satellites to get a clear picture of dust is important for understanding and eventually using computers to model where that dust will go now and in future climate scenarios,” NASA research scientist Hongbin Yu says.”

NASA Monitors Sand Flying From the Sahara to the Amazon

An Opportunity for students to attend a Dust fallout Training Course at no cost!

An Opportunity for students to attend a Dust fallout Training Course at no cost

Last one for 2018 Dust Watch cc is calling for students that are in their postgraduate level to attend a Dust fall out training course at no cost in Pretoria.

The course is scheduled as follow: Date: 13 – 15 November 2018

Venue: 570 Rutgers St, Morella Park, Pretoria East, Pretoria, South Africa

For more information contact via text or on the contact details below: Cell: 072 688 7758 (Cell and Whatsapp) Email: lutendo@dustwatch.com cc: Chris@dustwatch.com Feel free to visit our website: www.dustwatch.com and our Facebook page: DustWatch cc https://lnkd.in/ep7kz5q

NB: There are limited seats