In his words: an artisanal miner talks about the benefits of safety equipment
Published on 11 August 2016
Isaac Komba, operator of the Chanjardu mining site, speaks enthusiastically about the safety equipment he recently purchased for his miners – anywhere from 8 to 15 workers, depending on the stage of production.
“Artisanal mining is a very physical activity, mostly carried out with basic, back-breaking tools. We often get hurt as a result of the tools we use. We also get hurt because of our working environment. The mining pits have boulders, stumps and even poisonous animals.
I have known about the use of safety equipment for as long as I have been involved in mining, but it wasn’t until DDI organized the training on health and safety that I decided to put my knowledge into practice.
I bought safety gear for all my workers in May 2015, after the training.
The workers now wear brightly-coloured hard hats, rain coats with reflectors, elbow length rubber hand gloves and safety glasses.
Although they expressed mixed feelings about the gear at first, they appreciate it now. It provides real protection for them, especially at this stage of production as they process the piles of gravel in the rain and the cold. They also feel it is their new professional look.
I have discovered a secret with safety equipment: it reduces operational costs. I have had little or no injuries since I started providing gear for my workers so it reduces my expenses on medical care. It’s a one-time investment, but it surely pays off!
I would recommend that other operators also get this gear for their workers. For me, it is no longer an option.”
Chanjardu, located in Kono District, Sierra Leone, is an artisanal diamond operation that has been certified by DDI as compliant with the Maendeleo Diamond Standards (MDS).
This means, among other things, that the site meets basic requirements for environmental sustainability, worker and human rights, and health and safety.