File photo: Reuters.

JOHANNESBURG - Minerals Council South Africa on Tuesday launched a CEO-led strategy on health and safety aimed at driving and sustaining the industry’s pursuit of zero harm during operations.

The objectives of the Khumbul’ekhaya strategy are to promote a holistic approach to the elimination of fatalities, develop a system of understanding occupational deaths in and beyond employment and adopt methods for more effective and competitive training, for example through centralisation and modernisation.

The name "Khumbul’ekhaya" means "remember home” and was chosen in recognition that mine fatalities have the greatest impact on the victims' loved ones at home, the council said.

"Khumbul’ekhaya is a ‘rallying cry’ for a step-change in safety and health performance, driven at the highest levels of our industry, and with a vision that we share with all our stakeholders – employees, unions and government – to ensure that every mineworker returns home from work unharmed, every day," it said.

It said while improvements in safety and health performance over the past two decades had been significant, executives recognised that a step-change in health and safety was required to be able to achieve zero harm and the 2024 mine health and safety council milestones agreed by companies, the government and labour. 

"This deep and intense introspection was prompted by a plateauing of the fatal injury rate and, sadly, an increase in fatal accidents recorded in 2017 for the first time in a decade, the council added.

Overall, data shows that mine fatalities have declined by 53 percent to 81 in 2018 from 171 in 2008.

- African News Agency (ANA)