Gold Exploration Safety in the African Sub-Saharan

Isolated, primitive, and unorganized gold exploration activities have been known all over the globe for some time. Currently, some African Sub-Saharan countries are witnessing the emerging of such exploration activities in different regions. However, recent death and injury figures, due to lack of safety measures, require an in-depth assessment into this subject to draw attention to the safety hazards associated with these activities.

There are some benefits gained by individuals involved in gold exploration activities. However, the recent influx of people towards these areas created many adversely and negative effects on the health and safety of the individuals. In a transparent world, these countries could learn from other countries’ experiences, especially in surface mining safe practice. For example, in Germany, mining started hundreds of years ago with surface mining activities by simple traditional tools. When the surface mining was exploited, new technology was developed to cope with safety hazards associated with these activities. Along with the advancement of mining, work-safety standards were developed, and measures were imposed by governments. Over time, different governments also formed nationwide institutions transferring regulations into laws, setting them up on company levels. Therefore, workplaces became gradually safer over several years, and companies involved workers in many of these safety activities.

By pointing out the potential hazards, the individuals, who decided to take these unsafe jobs, either knowingly or unknowingly, without taking precautionary measures or asking for the simplest work-safety measures, will get an idea about risk associated with these activities. They will then try and take adequate safety measures to reduce these potential hazards.

The hazards of such activities might arise from different unpredicted sources. Here are some examples of hazards:

  • trapping danger
  • fire setting danger
  • exposure to harm gases and toxic gases
  • abandoned mine
  • ventilation and air circulation
  • working in high temperature
  • physical stress and fatigue
  • heat-related illnesses
  • dust related lung problems
  • hearing loss due to exposure to high sound

In conclusion, government bodies should create rules and regulations to make sure the minimum work safety measures are implemented and put in place. On the other hand, in unorganized mining activities, efforts must be taken vigorously to implement such measures.

Because culture, climate, and working situations are different in these countries compared to countries who have a strong tradition of working safety, it is necessary to evaluate the real work situations in these regions. Therefore, we can then create proposals to meet the needs of the workers, and then lay the foundation for more intensive studies to set up rules and regulations to meet the international safety rules.