2 mining operations in Puruni red-flagged for unsafe conditions

Two operations in the Puruni mining district of Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) have been red-flagged by the Occupational Safety and Health Department of the Ministry of Labour during an awareness exercise conducted in the area on Wednesday.

Officers engaging miners

Of the five operations that were visited at Million Mountain and Ms June mining areas, officers have issued notices to two, wherein dangers or defects were highlighted. These unsafe conditions include inadequate entry and exit points to and from the mining pit, excessive overburden on the pit crest, debris accumulation on the pit floor, and dangerously high pit faces.
The officers also provided practical guidance on handling emergencies and utilising the hierarchy of control for hazards, and have emphasised the importance of proper housekeeping, water sources, and sanitation.
These visits were done in observance of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Month, and included mine inspections, OSH talks, emergency response training, and the distribution of treated mosquito nets to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever to workers in the mines.
Throughout the outreaches, officers enlightened personnel within the extractive industry about prevalent health and safety challenges in the field.
A total of 88 workers, including 5 females, were engaged during the initiative.
The Labour Ministry’s Occupational Safety and Health Department has, over the past weeks, investigated several industrial accidents, the latest of which occurred at Pritipaul Singh Investments at Providence, East Bank Demerara in March, and led to the death of Ravichandra Seemangal, a mechanic.
Seemangal was riding his bicycle when a vehicle collided with him. He sustained injuries to his abdomen, feet, and hands, and succumbed a few days later.
Earlier that month, a fatal accident occurred as a result of land caving in at Cowing Backdam, Upper Mazaruni River, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). This led to the death of 60-year-old Bertram Willie, a dredge owner of Wisroc Housing Scheme, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Shortly after, a catastrophic boiler explosion gravely injured three young men at Hack Rice Mill at Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).
In 2023, the Labour Ministry recorded a total of 20 occupational deaths due to accidents in the mining, construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Of the 20 deaths recorded, nine occurred in the mining sector in Region Seven, while six were recorded in the construction sector.
Additionally, the Ministry recorded 175 non-fatal accidents that were investigated out of the 577 reports received. Most of those reports emanated from the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
In light of these incidents, the Ministry remains concerned over the continued occurrence of workplace accidents, especially when workers are fatally injured.