Section 54 of the MHS Act Under the Spotlight

Department of Mineral Resources

The mineral resources department trains inspectors to ensure consistency and fairness in the implementation of enforcement provisions.

The department recently briefed parliament on Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act.

The enforcement provisions are designed to, inter alia, reduce and eliminate occupational diseases, injuries and fatalities; contribute towards a reduction of fatalities and injuries and achieve the goal of zero harm in the mining industry.

Section 54 empowers inspectors to stop a section of a mine or the whole operation and stop an act or practice.

In October 2017, the Chamber of Mines tabled a protocol at the Mine Health and Safety Council meeting directing the department on how to issue section 54 instructions.

The department rejected the protocol for a number of reasons including that mining companies cannot be a referee and a player and that the Chamber of Mines and mining companies are encouraged to engage the department on concerns on the implementation of enforcement provisions.

The department also indicated that it meets with platinum group mining companies and individual mining companies on a quarterly basis on section 54 issues.

Sabinet Cape Town Office