As South Africa’s mining sector gradually ramps up after the national lockdown, a new world of restrictions, regulations and protocols is evolving that will require mines and their service providers to constantly adapt the way they work. Managing the risk of Covid-19 infections – both on mine sites and in surrounding communities – will be a central focus in the months ahead.
While the current situation has really taken everyone into unchartered waters, the mining sector is no stranger to risk management. It has over the years also dealt with a range of health-related issues including infectious diseases, and this gives it a strong basis from which to respond to threats related to Covid-19 infections.
The responses at mine-level are likely to involve physical distancing, intensive disinfection routines and frequent testing, as well as contact-tracing procedures and the provision of isolation facilities. Movement of staff around sites, and especially underground, will be carefully managed to comply with post-lockdown regulations.
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