The law and the Miners' Health and Safety: A critique
Mukuka, Chisala Rodrick
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This study is aimed at making an attempt to address the real problem that faces the Mining Industry today - Mine accidents. Apart from the academic obligations that had to be fulfilled in putting up this work together, the writer's passion to address this problem also emanates from his twelve year working experience as a Metallurgist on a subsidiary company of the copper mining industry.The aim of this research is not to make an assertion that there should never be any accidents at all in the mines, but that they should be effectively reduced by putting in place measures and policies that will curb them. This however, cannot be achieved, unless the Law makers get back to the drawing board. As to whether these policies will effectively reduce accidents to nil, that then would be an ideal situation that both the government, employer and members of the families where these miners come from would be looking forward to see.In order words, even before the government takes a swipe at the new mine owners; a situation that would give an impression that the government is not to blame, it would be imperative for the government then; in the first place to put up a more comprehensive regulatory framework to deal with promotion of safety and prevention of mine accidents.Ever since the mines were privisatised, no one has ever thought of reviewing the law in light of the new mining developments that have taken place. Mining is inherently dangerous, both to life and to health. Those who wish to extract anything from under the surface of the earth by digging a hole must be prepared to devote some of their resources to safety. Mining is "unnatural" activity giving rise to "unnatural" conditions. But safety measures invariably cost money and the employer must bear the expenditure. However, as a result of this cost component that is associated with safety, a perpetual conflict of interest arises between employer and employee as to the nature and extent of the safety measures that may be considered reasonably practicable and reasonably necessary.In view of the foregoing, it therefore then, becomes mandatory for any sensible government to put a law in place that will protect its miners.
- Law