ZIMSHEC, MSU partner for ASM SHE training
By Ndanatsiwa Tagwireyi
The Zimbabwe Safety Health and Environmental Council (ZIMSHEC) and Midlands State University (MSU) under the Tugwi Mukosi Multidisciplinary Research Institute (TMMRI) have partnered to conduct the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) training for artisanal and small-scale miners in Zimbabwe.
The training is the first of its kind and is scheduled to commence in August 2022 to promote sustainable mining practices among small scale miners. It is on record that lack of effective occupational safety and health strategies is the reason behind high levels of mining workplace accidents especially in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sector.
In its workplan, ZIMSHEC notes that the ASM sector continues to be marred by never ending accidents resulting in fatalities and serious injuries with some estimates stating that the sector records at least three mining accidents per day. A cross sectional survey in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector published in an article titled, “Accidents, Injuries and Safety among Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Miners in Zimbabwe,’’ indicate that the prevalence of accidents and injuries in the ASGM sector in Zimbabwe is at 35.0% and 25.7% respectively.
Speaking to the Mining Vision Magazine ahead of the SHE training commencement, ZIMSHEC Executive Director Makumba Nyenje said the most notable occupational health hazards in the ASM sector include poisoning, lack of complete or absence of Personal Protective Equipment, getting trapped underground, poor lighting and ventilation, explosion, dust and fumes among others. He urged ASM players to leverage on the upcoming 3 months training to gain knowledge on safe and sustainable mining practices and reduce rampant mine accidents.
“The SHE training will go a long way towards formalization of the ASM sector, all mining sites should have SHE officers to direct SHE issues around,” Nyenje told the Mining Vision Magazine. “It is going to be a maximum of 50 miners per intake, the training will be continuous with one intake after the other as we are targeting thousands.”
Nyenje added that: “All ASM players are welcome, automatically they become our (ZIMSHEC) members through the registers, we will make sure they get preference for more courses to be availed.”
Meanwhile, TMMRI of the Midlands State University Research Assistant Josephine Mwafuka encouraged those in the mining sector to enroll in the program holding that: “It is a strategic imperative as it ensures utmost provision of the much-needed tailor-made technical support, capacity building and handholding to promote innovation, quality and sustainability mining activities in Zimbabwe.”
“The aim of the program is to offer optimum contribution to mainstream sustainable development mining processes in Zimbabwe,” Mwafuka told the Mining Vision Magazine.
“It recognizes efforts by the Government of Zimbabwe and other partners in the mining industry in promoting and supporting small-scale mining activities in the country.”
Those eligible to participate in the SHE training should be involved in the small scale mining sector and must have the ability to read and write. After completion of the SHE training, competency based certification will be done by the Midlands States University Registry.