Modern Quarrying

The regulation of the safe use of belt conveyor systems in the South African mining industry has a history as old as the mining industry in South Africa itself. Where does the mining industry then find itself in 2017 regarding the legal rules applicable to the safe use of conveyor belt installations?

CONVEYORsafetyThis paper, by Jaco Swartz, Legislative Compliance Specialists Ltd, entitled The safe operation of belt conveyor systems in the mining industry: The development of legal prescriptions with the South African context aims to illustrate the development of legal rules, within the mining industry, to address the risks posed by conveyor belt installations.

'South Africa has over the years built up a mining industry to be proud of. Our mining engineers and technicians have a high reputation, our equipment is without parallel and conditions of work, wages and social benefits of our miners are being continuously improved. This is a rosy picture, but there is the dark side as well. That is that mining is a hazardous occupation and that in spite of improved machinery, methods, and conditions, accidents continue to occur’.

While the above statement may well have been made today, it is in fact a comment made by the Minister of Mines in 1962 . This quotation highlights the fact that the focus on health and safety matters in the mining industry is nothing new.

Part I of this paper aims to illustrate the development of legal rules, within the mining industry, to address the risks posed by conveyor belt installations. As such, it focuses on the historical need for rules dealing with workplace risks in general followed by how the specific rules regarding conveyor belt installations have developed. In terms of dealing with conveyor belt installations specifically, the situation pre- and post-1996 will be dealt with.

www.beltcon.org.co.za

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