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3 May 2020

Allan Seccombe, Business Day (South Africa)

So. Africa: Victory for mine workers as court orders further tightening of measures for workers returning

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‘Amcu gets court backing for Covid rules on miners and government’ 3 May 2020

The Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) scored a court victory to force the regulator and industry to tighten measures around the safety of staff returning to work from lockdown. Amcu, which represents 100,000 out of 450,000 people employed on SA’s mines, took the department of mineral resources & energy and the chief inspector of mining to the labour court in Johannesburg to force tighter regulations governing health and safety for returning workers.

…On Friday, judge André van Niekerk ruled that decisions by chief inspector of mining David Msiza made so far around the codes of practice be set aside and a new set of gazetted codes of practice in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act. His ruling was to be gazetted within five days of it being passed down. Msiza was ordered to gazette a notice no later than May 18 to give fresh guidelines in terms of the act and to require employers to “prepare and implement a code or codes of practice to mitigate the effect of the outbreak of Covid-19 on the health and safety of employees and persons who may be directly affected by the disease at the mine.”

There were seven pages of instructions for mining companies to adhere to in the return of mineworkers to shafts, how to screen, test and curtail the spread of the virus in the workplace. These included pre-screening employees at collection points in rural areas, the safe mass transport of workers and how they should be screened and, if necessary, tested and isolated once back on the job.