BCL must review its safety standards to avoid future fatalities

Mourners gather to pay to BCL miner who was involved in a fatal accident at the mine
Mourners gather to pay to BCL miner who was involved in a fatal accident at the mine

The Umbrella for Democratic Change [UDC] has learnt with shock of yet another fatal accident which has claimed three priceless lives at the Bamangwato Concession Limited company [BCL].

UDC sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of messrs Tebogo Josaya of Damochojenaa; Obonetse Jim of Mokoswane and Andrew Ofentse of Tumasera. It is really a sad day for the families that have lost their loved ones and sources of their livelihood. The party further extends its condolences to the  Botswana Mine Workers Union [BMWU] for having lost its foot soldiers and comrades in arms. We call upon the mine to counsel the families and other miners who work under the same life threatening environment.

Underground mining is well known for its risky nature and this calls for the mine management to uphold high standards of safety, health and environment. The number of fatal accidents reported recently at this mine is  a serious cause for concern not only to the union, but the Botswana nation at large. These fatal accidents obviously tarnish the image of the mine and the country at large as we risk being classified amongst most dangerous mines. We strongly believe such fatal accidents can be minimised.

The BMWU and BCL management should therefore have a serious engagement on how these string of fatal accidents can be minimised by collectively assessing the mine’s safety standards. Are regular effective and efficient drills conducted by the mine? Are the blasting rules followed and strickly complied with? Is continuous employee education on safety precautions and hazards done? How long are the shifts as this also impact on concentration levels? What safety measures were put in place after the other previous fatal accident? The mine should be able to answer these basic questions.

In addition, both the union and mine management should carry out a thorough investigation on this fatal accident and put in place water tight measures that would minimise such lethal accidents in future. A conducive working and living environment for workers is what the union exists for. BMWU should therefore unapologetically and tirelessly engage the mine management and help it avoid such fatal accidents.

May the souls of the three mine workers who were committed to create wealth for this nation find eternal rest. May the Almighty also comfort and console the affected families during these trying times. We call upon the mine managements around the country to avail resources to the unions so that they compliment the mines by conducting counselling and training sessions on safety, health and environment for their members. This will not only improve the workers working conditions in our mines, but will also promote good labour relations between the mine management and trade unions.

*Justin Hunyepa

UDC Labour Secretary

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