Zimplats improves on mine safety
Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings has since 2008 extracted over eight million tonnes of platinum group metals without a single loss of life, demonstrating high standard mining operations in Zimbabwe. Mining operations all over the world present potential risks to employees, particularly those who work underground. Head of Zimplats corporate affairs Busi Chindove said the company achieved four million fatality-free shifts. “Those familiar with the early days of platinum mining and processing in the country will remember that sadly there were several fatalities noted. “The same risks or sources of danger – including fall of ground, mobile equipment and molten material with temperatures of up to 1 600 0C – that caused the unfortunate loss of life then not only exist today, but are significantly amplified by the increased scale of operations. “Against this background the achievement of four million fatality-free shifts early this year was a world class milestone,” she said. The figure is arrived at by adding up the individual shifts completed by all workers at Zimplats since the last incident (June 7, 2008) that resulted in a fatality. Zimplats has, during the period under review, carried out a number of initiatives that have contributed to enhanced safety at its mines. This includes introduction of formal business risk management systems based on international standards such as OHSAS 18001, ISO 14001 and ISO 9001, and the the involvement of statutory bodies like National Social Security Authority and the Mines Inspectorate in its programmes. The company has set itself a target to achieve zero work-related lost time injuries by 2012, which would make it one of the safest mining operations in the world. According to Chindove, on-going expansion, with a constant supply of contractors and new employees, has resulted in the company engaging inexperienced young people from the surrounding rural communities, which has increased the potential for accidents. Zimplats has taken a multi-stakeholder approach to address the risks and put in place necessary measures to minimise harmful work-related incidents.