South Africa gazettes new COVID-19 guidelines

South Africa has gazetted new guidelines for a mandatory COVID-19 code of practice for mining companies, as the confirmed number of cases in the industry increases.
South Africa gazettes new COVID-19 guidelines South Africa gazettes new COVID-19 guidelines South Africa gazettes new COVID-19 guidelines South Africa gazettes new COVID-19 guidelines South Africa gazettes new COVID-19 guidelines

South African miners 'comfortable' with observing guidelines: MCSA

Staff reporter

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The Department of Mineral Resources and Energy announced new guidelinesy, which require miners to implement a code of practice to mitigate and manage the outbreak of COVID-19.

It said a failure by employers to prepare and implement a code would constitute a criminal offence but did not specify any penalties.

The guidelines outline sterilisation, screening and testing measures, require miners provide flu vaccinations, allow physical distances of 1-2m and provide relevant PPE for areas of mass transit or close contact.

The guidelines also stipulate employers must follow the process regarding compensation for occupationally-acquired coronavirus, referring to the amended Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

The new rules come as the number of COVID-19 cases in the industry has almost doubled, from 23 on Friday to 41 Tuesday, according to the Minerals Council South Africa.

The guidelines were developed following consultations with stakeholders in line with a recent Labour Court ruling, after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union sought binding regulations to protect mineworkers as the industry was allowed to start ramping up during the nationwide lockdown which had begun in March.

Openpit mines have since been allowed to resume at a 100% capacity as the country entered level four restrictions this month but underground mines were to remain at 50%.

The minerals council said the guidelines were "largely compatible" with its Standard Operating Procedure and the version of the SOP used as the interim basis of regulation since the court judgment.

"The Minerals Council believes the industry will be comfortable about observance of the guidelines," it said.