Addressing the legal requirement for COVID-19 medical screening at Mining operations

As per Government Notice 479 of 29 April 2020, Minister of Employment and Labour Thembelani Waltermade Nxesi determined it was necessary “to adopt and implement occupational health and safety measures to (reduce and eliminate) the escalation of COVID-19 infections in workplaces as set out in the Schedule.”

This action was a direct result of the emergence of “a clearer picture about COVID-19 and the nature and risk in the workplace and the precautions that should be taken to minimise the risk.” The purpose of the directives was “to stipulate measures that must be taken by employers in order to protect the health and safety of workers and members of the public who enter their workplaces or are exposed to their working activities.”

This Government Notice set out the requirements for screening persons (employees and members of the public) upon entering the workplace, reinforcing the Standard Operating Procedures as established by the Minerals Council South Africa which require that each contractor returning to site must produce a screening report stating that it has undergone the required medical screening, which has been signed off by a registered occupational nurse.

As a result of these requirements, Anglo Khwezela Colliery needed an urgent solution to address this legal requirement for medical screening so that it could recommence operations.

At the beginning of May 2020, after it was announced that mines could resume production, Workforce Healthcare and KBC Health & Safety partnered to support Anglo Khwezela Colliery in improving the onboarding process for its contractors through a mobile on-site clinic staffed by qualified nurses to safely screen mineworkers and members of the public.

The medical screening conducted at the Anglo Coal Khwezela Colliery site commenced on 4 May 2020 with two nurses (four during maximum screening capacity) screening between 30 and 40 persons a day. In a short space of time, almost 1 000 persons had undergone medical screening at the mobile on-site clinic.
This service provided the opportunity for Anglo Khwezela Colliery to get its operations back on track, ramp up its projects and remain compliant with the requirements and legislation with regard to returning to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ongoing medical screening will be required until further notice from the DMR, as per the current government regulations. To date, Anglo Khwezela Colliery has not faced any difficulties regarding this. A fruitful business relationship has thus been forged between Anglo Khwezela Colliery and KBC Health & Safety.

We trust that this will continue to grow and develop for years to come, as KBC Health & Safety continues to partner with Anglo Khwezela Colliery to find solutions to its compliance and contractor management needs. KBC Health & Safety is committed to finding innovative ways to address many of the challenges faced in the diverse and ever-changing South African business environment.

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