headgearMining Weekly reports that Pebetse Mabaso, social labour plan manager at integrated resources group Tharisa, has called on the SA mining industry to create specific safety guidelines for women in mining.  

Concerns about the safety of women in the industry were a recurring theme at the eleventh yearly ‘Women in Mining’ conference, held in Midrand last week.  Mabaso told delegates that women were often faced with sexual harassment and violence in underground operations, as well as verbal abuse, physical assault, rape and sometimes even murder.  Another significant challenge for women in the industry was the lack of appropriately-designed equipment, personal protective equipment and tools – which were often designed and manufactured with men in mind.  Mabaso suggested that safety guidelines for women in mining should result in better lighting in underground working areas and ensure the provision of safe ablution and changing facilities.  “The benefits of having zero harm for women in mining will increase safety, compliance and productivity, the company’s bottom-line, and have a positive impact on national employment,” Mabaso averred.  Social interaction and integration dialogues between men and women, as well as diversity workshops, could be the drivers to get the ball rolling on these changes, she told conference delegates.

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