JOHANNESBURG (South Africa’s guidelines for a mandatory Code of Practice (COP) to mitigate and manage the Covid-19 pandemic in the mining industry have been gazetted.
Failure by employers to prepare and implement a mine’s COP in line with the guidelines would constitute a criminal offence and a breach of the Mine Health and Safety Act, the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) stated on Tuesday.
DMRE said that the guidelines had been published in terms of Section 49(6) of the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996, after consultation with the Mine Health and Safety Council and including a process of public comments on the draft guidelines.
DMRE cited that the objective of these guidelines was to assist employers, as far as was reasonably practicable, to establish and maintain a Covid-19 prevention, mitigation and management programme.
The purpose of this programme was to ensure that mine employees returning to work – and any other persons at mines – were protected from transmission of the coronavirus at the workplace, and where reasonably practicable, in the community.
This guidance was for all stakeholders and outlined their roles and responsibilities in the management of the virus.
Mining operations were required to prepare and implement a COP on the pandemic that complied with any relevant guidelines and instructions issued by government, DMRE stated in its release to Mining Weekly.
These included regulations issued in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002; directions issued by Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe under Regulation 10(8) of the regulations issued in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, No 57 of 2002; guiding principles on the management of Covid-19 in the South African Mining Industry; guidelines developed by the World Health Organisation, Department of Health, and the Department of Employment and Labour.
The gazetted guidelines can be accessed and downloaded on government gazette website, or www.energy.gov.za and www.dmr.gov.za