Biteko commends GGML for reducing workplace injuries and fatalities.

GEITA:The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy, Dr Doto Biteko, has congratulated Geita Gold Mining Limited (GGML) for successfully controlling fatalities and injuries in its mining operations and urged other employers to ensure that they always protect the safety of their employees.

Biteko made the statement on World Health and Safety at Work Day when he visited the GGML pavilion at the 2024 OSHA exhibition at the General Tyres premises in Arusha.

Biteko, who was also the Guest of Honor during the commemoration of the World Health and Safety at Work Day, expressed his satisfaction with the health and safety education provided by the participants at the exhibition.

“Let me congratulate those who are exhibiting here, you have given me a great education and those who have visited, but we have learnt that there is still work to be done,” he said.

He said workers should focus on safety and health at work because the death of one person statistically represents 100 per cent of their dependents, which are their spouse, children, siblings and even neighbours.

“The death of one person is a big thing that should not happen. A call to all employers at all times: I want you to make sure that you have zero deaths in the workplace.

“To the workers, my call to you is that the first person to protect safety is you yourself, if you see a machine/plant that you are supposed to operate is defective and your employer forces you to operate it, be the first to say that this machine/plant is not safe and you should not be considered as a person who went on strike because you also have a duty to protect your safety,” he said.

He appealed to everyone to value their lives so that when they come to work, they return safely and unharmed.

First to welcome Dr Biteko at the GGML pavilion was the company’s safety manager, Isack Senya, who said that for more than 15 years, there had never been a fatality at work.

“For more than six years, no one has been injured and not returned to work the next day. The fundamental goal is that we are striving to learn from our colleagues and continue to improve the health and safety environment in the workplace,” he said.

Senya also explained to Dr Biteko how GGML uses the radar system to check the movement of rocks or walls in mining areas to prevent rock falls that might lead to major hazards and fatalities.

He also explained the existence of a special rescue room, the Refuge Chamber that exists underground in the mines to carry out rescues in the event of an emergency.

So what is a refuge chamber? It’s a specialised structure installed in mines that provides a safe and secure ‘refuge’ for miners during an emergency. This could be anything from a fire, a gas leak, or a collapse. The chamber is equipped with life-supporting facilities such as breathable air, water, food supplies, and communication systems. It’s designed to withstand harsh conditions and can provide shelter for several days.

And the Chief Executive of the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OSHA), Khadija Mwenda, emphasised that they will continue to discharge their responsibilities for the future development of the country.

“We will continue to mobilise and advocate for safe workplaces. The issue of safety and health is a matter of character building and character building comes from education,” she said.

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