Convention No 176 (Concerning Safety and Health in Mines)

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Employment and Labour

10 November 1999
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Meeting report

10 November 1999

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International Labour Conference


Mr Kettledas (Deputy Director General) began his briefing by referring to the 1995 Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) which focused on the precautionary measures that should be taken with regard to the health and safety of mine workers. There were 174 member states that had attended the Conference. Convention No 176 is designed to translate what was agreed on at the Conference to our own laws. New legislation concerning Mining Safety has been implemented and it is in full compliance with Convention No176. The objectives of the Convention are to provide a culture of health and safety in the mines, and to set comprehensive minimum standards that are going to protect the miners from the dangers that might occur in the mines, as the nature of the work is hazardous and risky.


Convention No 176 Aims

- Employers must provide supervision of the mine and they must know who is underground at all times

- The employers must prescribe health and safety measures

- Workers must be given the right to select health and safety representatives

- Employers are required to take all necessary measures with regard to the health and safety of workers

Recommendation 183

This elaborates how to give effect to the Convention and to implement the Convention into our own law and practice.

Mr Kettledas finalised his discussion by pointing out, where they are in terms of the Law and practise and what effect will they give to the Convention and how will they implement it. In conclusion he said, "they have to pilot the new Legislation concerning the health and safety in mines".

Question and Comments

Mr Maphalala (ANC) asked whether there are competent inspectors, and do workers have communication in the mines and how far are we in the implementation of the Convention? He also mentioned that mines experience many fatalities, and sometimes this is due to employers who do not warn the workers about the dangers that they could encounter when they are underground.

Mr Kettledas replied that they do have the legislation that deals with the health and safety of mine workers and they do have trained mining inspectors who supervise in the mines and are able to identify hazards and there are also health and safety representatives.

Mr Rasmeni (ANC) said that we don't want to deal with the Act and Convention without knowing its practicality, and how far do we monitor this Convention.

The Chairperson said that it is clear that the committee needs to have a follow-up session with the Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs and we have to take this responsibility, and lastly it is up to us not the Department

Mr Mzondeki (ANC) said that we need to move with speed because people are dying rather ratify or not

Ms Thabethe (ANC) asked what do they mean about "co-operation" in Article 15, what measures will be taken, and how will you enforce the implementation to ensure that we have better results.

The Chairperson replied that the Laws are meaning less because they are written on paper, we as a Committee we have to exercise our Laws hence we are the representatives of these people.

Mr Durant (NNP) expressed his surprise surprised that the Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs is not here to do their presentation, speaking from his own experience "he can assure the Committee about the Co- operation in the mines that it does take place with regards to Article 15. The ILO regulations are similar to what we have on Health and Safety in mines, and finally the inspectors are doing the excellent job because they do visit the mines.

Mr Bell (DP) asked how well the Act and Convention have been implemented? He referred to the Northern Province victims of Asbestosis. He argued that people are ending up as the victims in the mines because of the lack of safety measures

Mr Kettledas responded that everything that deals with Health and Safety has been accommodated in the legislation.

The meeting was adjourned.


Appendix 1:


Safety and Health in Mines (Convention No.176, Recommendation No.183)

- Purpose

The purpose of this Convention is to provide for protection of the health and safety of employees and other persons at mines.

- Convention No.176

All mines are covered by the Convention, Total or partial exclusion of particular categories of mines may be permitted after consultations with the representative organisations of employers and workers concerned, if the Convention's application to them would raise particular problems of a substantial nature, and if the overall protection afforded at these mines under national law and practice is not inferior to that which would result from the full application of the provisions of the Convention. The measures for ensuring application of the Convention shall be prescribed by national law and regulations and shall designate the competent authority to monitor and regulate the various aspects of safety and health in mines. The Convention provides that national law should inter alia provide for the supervision of safety and health in mines; the inspection of mines by designated inspectors of the competent authority; the procedures for reporting and investigating of fatal and serious accidents; the compilation and publication of statistics on accidents, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences; the competent authority to suspend or restrict mining activities on safety and health grounds until conditions giving rise to the suspension are addressed; and worker consultation on matters related to safety and health in mines.

- Recommendation No.183

This Recommendation supplements the provisions of Convention No. 179 with regard to requirements relating to the supervision of safety and health in mines; the standards equipment and appliances used in mines; and to mine rescue and first aid. The Recommendation also provides for operating plans and procedures with regard to emergency situations at mines and the rights and duties of workers and their representatives.


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