Union: Miners not covered
Felix Chaudhary | The Fiji Times | November 26, 2016
THE mining sector is not covered under the country’s Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation, an issue that the Fiji Trades Union Congress is very concerned about.
FTUC national secretary Felix Anthony said miners had been promised they would have their own OHS laws since 2007, and yet, nothing had been done.
Employment, Productivity and Industrial Relations Minister Jone Usamate confirmed the mining industry was not covered under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1996.
Mr Usamate said the Act applied to all workplaces in Fiji except workplaces or operations connected with the Mining Act, Quarries Act, Explosives Act and Petroleum (Exploration and Exploitation) Act.
“The mining industry is not covered under the health and safety at Work Act as this law deals with health and safety in general whereas in mining, there are industry specific characteristics or risks that are specific to it,” he said.
“The competencies required for mine inspectorates are industry specific whilst OHS inspectors have general health and safety competencies and the mining industry operates under stringent risk management systems that are unique to the mining industry.
“I will look into this issue ensuring at all times that the best interests of Fiji as a whole are our priority.”
Mr Anthony said mine employees worked in a dangerous industry.
“The risk of injury and even death is extremely high and there are no OHS laws to govern their workplace,” he said.
“We are very concerned about the working condition of workers in the mining industry and call on the Government to look into the matter with urgency.”