The Chamber of Mines works with Government, labour and Small Scale Miner organisations to ensure that mining operations cause no harm or injury to those working in mines. This is done through encouraging mines to develop and implement safety, occupational health and environmental systems at their operations. In this regard the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe works with the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development’s Mining Engineering Department that is responsible for the safety and health inspectorate function. It works with National Social Security Authority which is the lead agency for occupational health and safety in the country. In addition it works with the Environmental management Agency the national authority on environmental management.
The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe established a standing committee of Safety Health and Environment, the SHE Committee, whose mandate is to make recommendation to the Executive Committee on SHE issues in the mining industry. Membership to this committee is open to all members of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe.
The SHE committee is governed by a Charter, the Safety and Prevention of Accidents Charter which will soon be reconstituted into a SHE charter by adding occupational health and environmental functions to the current SPAC Charter.
The SHE Committee is Chaired by a representative of the Association of Mine Managers of Zimbabwe. The deputy Chairman of the committee is drawn from SHE practitioners who make up the membership of the committee.
The SHE Committee runs the following activities as part of its mandate:
- The frequency Severity Competition: This is an initiative to encourage safety performance among members of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe. The objective is to encourage zero harm to employees in the industry. Under the competition data on lost time injuries, fatal accidents, shifts worked in a month and lost shifts arising from accidents are collected. In addition details of each lost time injury are also collected. The output is the determination of Injury Frequency rate, Injury Severity rate and Fatality Free shifts for each competitor. The competitor with the best record for the year for each of the categories is awarded a shield at the annual general meeting of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe.
- Safety Seminars: Based on the analysis of the accidents recorded during a given year, the SHE Committee develops course material for discussion in safety seminars as part of interventions at a sector level. The safety seminars usually targets front line supervisors. By sharing the information accidents that are common in the industry and the basic information of prevention of such accident and sharing experience, this initiative is meant to complement efforts by individual mines to prevent accidents.
- Fatal Accidents Report. Every accident that occurs in the industry is shared with the members of the mining industry. This report provides no mine specific information; how the accident happened, basic causes, remedial action recommended by the investigating team if available. The source of the information is the mine authorities and the Government Mining Engineering Department.
- First Aid Competitions: The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe encourages its members to ensure that all employees are trained in first aid and have a valid first aid certificate. Through the Denzel Dunn Competition those mines that show greatest progress in the number of employees trained and certified in first aid are awarded a trophy. In addition competitions are organised at zone and national level where teams demonstrate their proficiency in first aid. The competitions are meant to ensure that mines have teams that are able to respond to emergencies that are likely to occur within their operations. Such competitions provide networking opportunities for those working in the industry.
- Environmental Audits: The SHE Committee runs annual environmental audits of mines in an effort to encourage the development and implementation of environmental management best practice in the mining industry. It is noted that the standard of environmental management in the mining industry is uneven. Most large scale mines and those that have links to multinational organisations have good systems and are accredited to such organisations as ISO and NOSSA. Those on the smaller end of the market tend to operate without and systems. The SHE committee working with the Government Mining Engineering Department, Small Scale Mining Organisations and the Environmental Management Agency is trying to roll out the implementation of environmental management systems in small scale operations.
The SHE Committee has resolved to integrate a safety module to the current environmental audit protocol. The integrated protocol will be used with effect from the audits of 2011.
- Mine Rescue Association of Zimbabwe: The Mine Rescue Association has been in existence since around 1973. Its mandate is to coordinate mine rescue activities in the country. The work of the association is coordinated through the Mine Rescue Working party. This working party brings together the Chairman appointed by the Association of Mine Managers of Zimbabwe, zone coordinators, the national trained, the national coordinator, a representative of the Chamber of Mines and a committee member. The mandate of the working party is to organise and coordinate activities of the association to ensure that the teams are at all times in conditions to undertake rescues in irrespirable foul atmospheres. The decision to have a mine rescue team rests with the authority of ach operation. Mines that are at risk of underground fires are encouraged to operate mine rescue teams. The Mine Rescue Association of Zimbabwe is organised as follows:
- North Zone: Trojan Mine, Redwing Min
- Central Zone: ZIMPLATS Ngezi, ZIMASCO Shurugwi South Zone : Renco Mine, Gaths Mine, Mimosa Mine
- West Zone : Hwange Colliery 1, Hwange Colliery 2, How Mine
Other teams are encouraged to purchase sets to ensure that the geographic distribution of teams is such that the response time is kept at a minimum.
The profile of most call out incidents is in fresh air. This has led the association to encourage all mines to have rescue teams trained to respond to call outs in fresh air as part of the operations’ emergency preparedness system.
Training of rescue team members is conducted centrally at a facility at Gaths Mine.
The only acceptable level of safety performance from the COMZ perspective is “Zero Accidents”. The COMZ realizes that it is through uniform and systematic reporting, investigation and analysis of accident that safety performance can continuously be improved. This document defines the COMZ guidelines for the Severity and Frequency Competition that must be adhered to by the competing mines at all times. It is realized that different mining houses have adopted different Safety Management systems and therefore this document seeks to create common understanding of procedures and definitions that will make the administration of the competition fair. To guide and assist in this regard reference is made to recommended best practices. It is the duty of all competing mines to understand and apply at all times the guidelines set out in this document