Chayang’anamuno launches regulatory framework for protecting mine workers

By Dean Chisambo

Minister of Mining Monica Chang’anamuno on Thursday launched the regulatory framework of protecting mine employees from disease and injuries in Lilongwe. The launch  unpacked the significance of establishing a regulatory framework for the well- being of mining industry employees in the country.

In her speech, the Minister said formulation of these Standards is an achievement and it demonstrates  the government’s commitment in promoting mining health and  safety  as well as combating  other occupational hazards.

Chang’anamuno lamented that   the standards are inline  to the Malawi 2063 agenda and were developed under the Southern Africa Tuberculosis and Health Systems Support Project (SATBHSSP) with support  from the World Bank.

Changa’anamuno further disclosed that Malawi is the only country among Lesotho, Zambia and Mozambique to adopt such mining safety standards under the project which started in 2017 and ends this June 2024.

The Minister also announced that the outdated Mines and Minerals Act of 1981 has been replaced with the new Mines and Minerals Act of 2019, which will soon be gazetted.
The Mines Safety Regulations of 1982 has been revised  resulting in seven new sets of Mines Safety and Health Regulations.

She said :”These regulations, including the Occupational Safety and Health Standards, aim to promote good practices and uniformity in the mining industry”.

In his remarks Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) Director General Professor Bernard Thole commended the mining ministry for recognizing the importance of standards within the legal framework.

He said :” It is common knowledge that apart from trade facilitation, standards are key to environmental protection and promotion of human health and safety. Mining has long been recognized as an hazardous occupation associated with elevated risks for morbidity and mortality”.

On his part Dr. James Mpunga, Coordinator for SATBHSSP and the National TB & Leprosy Elimination Program at the Ministry of Health, said  the standards will address health regulation gaps that existed in the mining sector previously.

He later stated that Studies have revealed that the population at risk of developing Tuberculosis  (TB)in the communities has almost a 10 times increased chance of getting TB if they are working in the mining sector.

He said “There is a need to enforce the launched standards vigilantly so that people can comply with them and, in the process, reduce the burden of TB in the mining sector.”

The three ministries of Health, Mining and Labour are working  together in the  implementation of the SATBHSSP project in Malawi.