South Africa's mining industry has recorded a 3% decrease in the total number of occupational diseases reported nationally for 2017 compared with the previous year. "We are sure that one reason for the improvement is the effectiveness of the Masoyise iTB campaign, where government, organised labour and the industry are working closely to increase screening and testing for tuberculosis and HIV not only among employees but also in the communities where they live," Fin24 reports the Minerals Council said.
Mine workers are at a higher risk of contracting TB due to prolonged exposure to silica dust, poor living conditions, and high HIV prevalence in mining communities.
The report says the main goal of the Masoyise iTB campaign is to achieve a TB incidence rate in mining that is equal to or better than the country’s incidence rate. Significant progress is being made towards meeting that goal, noted the Minerals Council.
In 2016, TB incidence in the South African mining industry was 900 cases per 100,000 of the workforce, down from 1,200 cases per 100 000 in 2013. The report says this is still higher than South Africa’s general TB incidence rate which was 781 cases per 100,000 people in 2016. The report says the industry has set itself the target of being at or below the South African TB incidence by 2024.
"The Minerals Council and the industry as a whole remain committed to continuing to work with our social partners on all matters of health and safety towards minimising injury and illness to our employees’ work," said Minerals Council vice president Andile Sangqu.
The report says the council also acknowledged the historic class action silicosis and TB settlement reached last May involving gold miners. "We note that there are certain legal conditions that need to be fulfilled before the settlement agreement can be implemented."
Chief inspector of mines at the Department of Mineral Resources, David Msiza, announced 81 fatalities in 2018 compared to 90 in 2017. The report says he congratulated to the platinum sector for a "59% improvement in fatalities". "Over the past 10 years and even 25 years, we agreed as a sector that there can be no improvement if we don’t work together. The measures introduced have allowed for a 90% improvement in the past 25 years," said Msiza.
Responding to the release of the figures, the Mineral Council said: "No loss of life is acceptable and we always remember that the passing of a mineworker has a massive impact on family members and colleagues."
[link url="https://www.fin24.com/Companies/Mining/mining-giants-make-progress-in-tackling-crippling-tb-epidemic-hiv-20190303"]Fin24 report[/link]