Mining Sector: Special Focus as Rwanda celebrates World Day of Occupational Safety and Health

Rwanda joined the world on Friday May 3, 2019 to celebrate World Day of Occupational Safety and Health. This year the special focus is on mining sector under the theme “Safety and Health and the future of work”. The celebration at national level took place at Euro Trade International mine site in Rulindo district.

“This day is an opportunity to raise more awareness on the promotion of Occupational Safety and Health as we converge our efforts on particular issues that are still pertinent to our Country.” Says Hon. Fanfan Rwanyindo Kayirangwa, minister of public service and labor.

New data gathered for the World Employment and Social Outlook (WESO, 2019) show that a majority of the 3.3 billion people employed globally in 2018 had inadequate economic security, material well-being and equality of opportunity.

Every day, people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – more than 2.78 million deaths per year. Additionally, there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses each year, many of these resulting in extended absences from work.

Mining sector, which pays a big role in job creation (productivity, youth and Employment), according to the 2012 Rwanda Country on Occupational Safety and Health, it is the sector at high risk with a percentage share of 34% which makes it the most hazardous.

In the year 2017-2018, 81 fatal accidents occurred in Mining Sector.

Rulindo district accounts for over 37% of the total accidents that happened in the mining sector since the beginning of the year 2019. The Northern Province where the district is located accounts for over half of the total of the accidents in the same period.

Addressing the ceremony, the Chief Executive Officer of RMB, Hon. Francis Gatare called for improved partnership in minimizing the accidents “Though the revenues from mining sector are increasing, we should minimize the accidents in the sector. Efforts should be made in training miners; statistics show that only seventeen thousand in over sixty thousand who work in the sector have finished primary school” he said. “We call on security organs specifically at local government level to keep spearheading the campaign of fighting illegal miners” he added.

Illegal mining is one of the reasons of the frequent accidents in the mining sector. The malpractice accounts for 48% of the total accidents that happened in the sector since the beginning of the year 2019.

Rwanda Mines, Petroleum and Gas Board has put in place different measures to promote Occupational Safety and Health including training and enforcement of use of professional staff, agreement commitments and regular mines inspection, sanctions to the companies that do not comply with mining law, regulations and standards among other