The Mine Health and Safety Council (MHSC) was set up in 1996 to direct safety in the mining industry and to respond to industry safety challenges. This body was built on the achievements of decades of fundamental research and funded by the mining industry.
The MHSC comprises a tripartite board represented by the state, employers and organised labour, under the chairmanship of the Chief Inspector of Mines. The MHSC is funded by public revenue and is accountable to Parliament. The MHSC's primary tasks are to advise the Minister of Mineral Resources on occupational health and safety legislation and research outcomes focused on improving and promoting occupational health and safety in South African mines.
The MHSC's mission states: each member of the South African mining industry shall (led by the leaders and principals) adhere to the values of care, dignity, respect, accountability, honesty, integrity, transparency, equity and equality.
In June 2003, the then Chamber of Mines and its social partners, government and labour, established Mining Industry Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) to focus on the adoption of leading practices to address health and safety concerns and accelerate the progress towards achieving zero harm. The practices to be addressed were falls of ground, transport and machinery (pertinent to the reduction of mine fatalities), and dust and noise (applicable to the elimination of silicosis and noise induced hearing loss (NIHL)). The occupational health and safety milestones identified were set to be attained over a 10-year period.
This was followed, in 2005, and reinforced in 2008, by the mining companies' commitment to achieving the 2013 milestones, and their continuous progress towards achieving the target of zero harm.
In 2006, the MOSH Task Force was established to identify both obstacles and supports to reducing fatalities, occupational injuries and diseases. It was further tasked with identifying and finding sustainable solutions for the attainment of the 2013 milestones.
It soon transpired that there were pockets of industry leading practices that had directly contributed to superior health and safety performance on some mines, and that, if these practices were applied widely across the industry, they would contribute significantly to the achievement of the milestones. Consequently, in December 2007 the then Chamber of Mines piloted the MOSH Leading Practice Adoption System to facilitate the identification and widespread adoption of the most-promising of these leading practices.
To identify, support and guide the implementation of leading practices, MOSH structures include the Adoption Teams, a MOSH Task Force, a Learning Hub and communities of practice.
In 2011, the then Chamber of Mines commissioned the Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry (CSMI) to evaluate the progress and effectiveness of MOSH which allowed for any adjustments to ensure achievement of the 2013 milestones.
In November 2014, MHSC principal tripartite stakeholders launched a Centre of Excellence to conduct world-class research, build research capacity and facilitate the implementation of research outcomes. To date, the scopes of the 10 'quick-win' projects have been concluded and will be commissioned by the centre. In addition:
The then Chamber of Mines established the MOSH Learning Hub in 2009 to encourage mining companies to draw and learn from the areas of excellence that exist throughout the industry. The process involves identifying, documenting, demonstrating and facilitating the widespread adoption of leading practices with the greatest potential to address the major risks in health and safety areas including falls of ground, transport and machinery, dust and noise.
To be the leading change agent for achieving zero harm to ensure that every mine worker returns from work unharmed every day.
To motivate and facilitate the adoption of leading practices that will make significant contributions to improving occupational health and safety (OHS) in the mining industry to ensure that every mine worker returns from work unharmed every day.