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Poor mine safety irks MUZ boss

MWILA NTAMBI, Kitwe
MINEWORKERS’ Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Nkole Chishimba has described 2016 as a bad year for the mining sector in terms of occupational safety because it recorded 16 fatalities.
In an interview in Kitwe yesterday, Mr Chishimba urged mine workers to approach 2017 with renewed safety consciousness because loss of lives through accidents negatively affected families and the nation at large.
He said the mining sector recorded fatalities through electrocution, a miner falling to death, underground blasts and as a miner being run over by an underground loader among others.
Mr Chishimba said 2016 also saw a number of gasing cases as a result of burning electricity cables while some miners were seriously injured during a shaft sinking operation.
“It is not acceptable for mine workers to continue getting injured or dying at such high rates. MUZ would like to strongly warn mine workers to follow all the laid down safety rules and refuse to work if it is not safe because an injury to one is an injury to all,” he said.
Mr Chishimba said there is urgent need to inculcate a culture of safety because it is everyone’s responsibility.
He said safety campaigns must be stepped up to ensure everyone appreciates the importance of occupational safety.
“The Mines Safety Department must continue to play their part and we need case studies putting accident cases to analysis so that all those concerned can pick lessons from these incidents,” Mr Chishimba said.
He said while MUZ is dedicated to partnering with stakeholders in maximising the potential of employees in terms of contributing to increased production, this must not be done at the expense of safety.
Mr Chishimba said miners are also family men who have wives, children, and parents that depend on them for economic survival and that it is important that they arrive home alive from their respective places of work.

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