The sleepy mining town of Sowa bustled with life over the weekend as Botswana Ash(BOTASH) mine, with the support of Botswana Chamber of Mines(BCM), held its first ever First Aid Inter Mine Games. Eight mines from across the country comprising of sixteen teams participated in the competitions.
Giving the objectives of the First Aid Games, the Chief Executive Officer of Botswana Chamber of Mines(BCM) Charles Siwawa said the games have always formed part of BCM as they seek to impart first aid skills on mine employees and promote safety in the workplace.
“The mining environment is prone to accidents; therefore it is very crucial that the employees are trained on first aid. These games were established in order to help impart skills on the employees and help them save lives during accidents or emergencies. We want a minimum of 20 percent of all employees in the mining industry to have valid certificates in first aid training,” he said.
Giving a keynote address, the Chief Executive Officer of Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, Cross Kgosidiile who was a guest speaker commended Botswana Chamber of Mines for imparting first aid skills on the employees thus promoting safety in the workplace.
“First aid knowledge and skills promote safety awareness at home, at work, on the streets and highways. First aid prepares a person to be in a position to assist others wisely. A first aid administrator is able to distinguish between what to do and what not to do,” he said.
He said that all organizations are duty bound to equip their workforce with the necessary and appropriate skills to combat emergencies. He said that workplaces such as mines are especially obliged to create the necessary awareness to staff on how to handle patients before medical personnel arrive on the scene during accidents.
Outlining the benefits of first aid training in the work place, Kgosidiile said having staff trained in first aid can be used to negotiate insurance rates as it demonstrates that the organization has apposite measures in place to reduce the risk. He also said that first aid administrators in the workplace provide a safer environment to other staff members, increased morale and a reduced litigation risk.
“This National Inter Mines First Aid Competitions afford the participants, an opportunity for them to reinforce their first aid knowledge. By demonstrating their skills along with their peers in realistic scenarios, employees develop the confidence to save a life and have fun at the same time,” said Kgosidiile.
He also said that the first aid games promote networking across all mining houses. He further said that the games are very crucial as they also empower mine employees and help them grow into confident and responsible individuals. As an organization that is mandated with compensating injured people or the dependents of people killed in road crashes, Kgosidiile said MVA Fund fully supports all efforts aimed at curbing injuries at work, on the roads, at home and everywhere else where productivity is compromised.
“We have made strides in this regard by partnering with the Botswana Red Cross Society to produce a First Aid Television series dubbed First Aid 101,” he said.
In conclusion he encouraged the mining industry to also come up with programmes geared towards educating their employees on road safety. He said that it is important for the mines to inculcate safety on their employees not only in the workplace, but also as they traverse the roads to and from work.
“Road crashes have the potential to rob you of the very workforce that you rely on for production and continuity,” he said.
Out of the eight mines that participated in the competitions, BCL Mine (Team A) from Selibe Phikwe scooped the first prize. The games were held under the theme “First Aid, Our Safety our Pride.”