Since the inception of formal large-scale mining in South Africa 120 years ago, falls of ground (FOGs) have accounted for most of the injuries and fatalities in the industry. FOGs can be induced or intentional, or unplanned and uncontrolled.

It is the latter type of rock failure that is significant when persons are injured, and/or when there is damage to mine workings, equipment and/or material. Uncontrolled FOGs can be further classified into gravity-induced FOGs (termed rockfalls), and FOGs as a result of dynamic movement of rock (termed rockbursts and strainbursts). Injury from FOG is the most prevalent occupational injury in the South African mining industry.

Practices to ameliorate the hazards associated with FOG

The CEO-led Zero Harm Leadership Forum, the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) of 1996, the Culture Transformation Framework (CTF), applied research studies, and many company-driven FOG management initiatives, have significantly reduced the FOG injuries and fatalities post-1996. However, continuous and sustainable improvement is required to reach the zero-harm philosophy of the industry. The MOSH Leading Practice Adoption System remains one of the primary vehicles to attain the safety goals, improvements and milestones that the mining industry has set for itself, especially in the FOG space.


In order to play a leadership role in enabling the South African mining sector to improve safety, the MOSH FOG team focusses on 5 main objectives:

  1. Identify and document leading practices that have the highest probability for reducing uncontrolled FOGs
  2. Identify research outcomes, new technologies and innovative ideas
  3. Facilitate the adoption of the leading practices within the mining industry
  4. Facilitate the implementation of research outcomes, new technologies and innovation
  5. Utilise an appropriate people-centered approach when companies adopt leading practices, new technologies and innovation