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So. Africa: Minerals council says it has a ’10 point plan’ for members to resume operations safely

‘Minerals Council outlines industry readiness’ 28 April 2020

While it is too early to assess accurately the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the state of the industry, concerns have been raised by some parties regarding the care that mining companies have taken, and will take, as production is phased up in the sector. The industry is extremely conscious of the responsibilities it faces in these unprecedented circumstances. No doubt, as the economy more broadly begins its own opening up process with the switch on 1 May to Level 4, employers in many sectors face similar responsibilities, the Minerals Council South Africa said in a statement.

…By early March, two weeks before the declaration of the state of disaster and before the first diagnosis in South Africa, member companies were operating in terms of a Minerals Council 10-point action plan. This involved, in brief, employee education, health worker readiness, use of masks, sanitisers and temperature monitors, proactive influenza vaccinations, dealing with immuno-compromised employees, management of suspected cases or contacts of cases, provision for isolation of employees where required, travel advice, industry reporting, communication and monitoring.

…From the earliest days of the lockdown, Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) inspections have been taking place at mine and processing plants with the full co-operation of the mining companies. The SOP itself has been updated at times as knowledge of the virus has advanced, and this will continue based on advice from all relevant experts. The SOP deals with procedures to be followed before the return of employees; infection prevention, screening and referrals after their return; isolation areas; practices such as employee training, PPE use, hygiene precautions and physical distancing; and, finally, reporting.

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