Examination of occupational health and safety systems in selected mining companies on the Copperbelt province of Zambia

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Sinkana, Cynthia
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The University of Zambia
Zambia has a long history of mining and a large known resource base of copper, emeralds, and other deposits. Despite these benefits, accidents and injuries have continued to occur. This Study sought to examine Occupational Health and Safety systems of selected mining companies on the Copperbelt Province of Zambia. The mining industry is expected to comply with the ISO 45001 on occupational health and safety. ISO 45001 is an ISO standard for management systems of occupational health and safety and its goal is to reduce occupation injuries and diseases. It also promotes and protect physical and mental health. The mining industry consists of rules that guide them when it comes to occupational health and safety in order to prevent the occurrence of accidents. These rules include provision for the supervision of safety and health in mines and inspection of mines by inspectors from the mine safety department. The provision also involves reporting, investigating of occupational accidents and compilation and publication of statistics on accidents. Despite the rules and regulations that guide the industry on occupational health and safety, there has been an increase in accidents, injuries and diseases in the industry. The purpose of the study was to examine the nature of occupational health and safety systems in selected mines in Zambia and to design a sustainable learning programme for occupational health and safety in the mines. The study was guided by the following objectives: to investigate the perceptions of occupational health and safety by workers and employers, to establish the importance of existing occupational health and safety systems at selected mining industries; to examine the how the existing occupational health and safety system comply with occupational health and safety authority and to design an educational programme that can be used to improve learning for occupational health and safety in the mines. A case study was used as a research design and a sample of 50 participants. The study used probability and non-probability sampling design. Stratified simple random technique and homogeneous expert purposive sampling technique were used. Furthermore, a semi-structured interview schedule, semistructured questionnaire and observation guide were used. Education is an important tool which can be used to reduce the occurrence of accidents in the mining industry. Therefore, the Environmental Education context of the study was based on the Global Education Monitoring Report for 2016. The report states that education is crucial for disaster preparedness and if education progress is stalled, it could lead to 20% increase in disaster related fatalities. (GEM, 2016). The study revealed that methods used in training on health and safety were not effective enough. The results show that the perceptions of workers and employers to health and safety rules, regulations and guidelines was negative as accidents were not reported for fear of charges and loss of jobs. Furthermore, the curriculum on health and safety made it difficult for workers to understand and apply to their work. This was because the curriculum had a lot of topics which were covered in a week and this made it difficult for the workers to assimilate and process what they learn’t. Thus, the study proposed an educational learning programme on health and safety. The study proposed that a behavioral course for supervisors and managers needed to be introduced in order for them to understand employee’s behavior towards health and safety. This will enable them to implement effective health and safety rules. Keywords: Examining, Occupational Health and Safety System, Mining industry
Mine safety--Zambia