Last week Debswana’s Orapa Letlhakane and Damtshaa Mines (OLDM) held their annual first aid inter-departmental competitions in an endeavor to create awareness and to promote safety in the working environment among its employees. The competitions which had eight teams from various OLDM departments battling it out, also served as a platform to prepare for the upcoming Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) first aid competitions which will be held in October 2016 in Orapa.
In his welcome remarks prior to the competition, the Assistant General Manager of OLDM, Bakani Motlhabani said first aid is very critical as a live-saving intervention. He also emphasised that first aid is a critical skill that should be applied anywhere and anytime.
“This competition acts as a platform to sensitize employees and Orapa community on the need for acquisition of first aid knowledge as an arm to Zero Harm intervention. Giving a keynote address, the Senior Mining Manager at OLDM, Johane Mchive narrated a brief history on how first aid started across the world. He said first aid traces its history in Europe to the 11th Century. He said during that era, an order of St.John was created with the aim to train people to care for victims of war in the battlefield.
“However, first aid took a backseat in the middle ages until the second half of the 19th Century. In 1859 Henry Dunant, a Swiss businessman started to train and organise local village folks to administer first aid to war victims in Solferino, Italy,” he said.
Mchive said in 1863 four nations met in Geneva, Switzerland, and formed an organisation which became the modern Red Cross. He added that it was during that meeting that first aid derived its current objectives. He also said that in 1877, St John Ambulance was formed in England for the same purpose and ultimately, several organisations joined the body and the training started to spread throughout the British Empire.
“It is evident from historical background that first aid came a long way and it is now a valued function to our business processes as well as a legal requirement as per Mines, Quarries, Works and Machinery Act Regulation 39,” said Mchive.
Touching on the theme of the event, “Be Switched On: First Aid Anywhere, Anytime,” Mchive said that it intends to reinforce the essence of the competition, which is to entrench alertness and preparedness in applying knowledge acquired during training to respond to emergencies.
“Life is precious hence the need to have built in intervention in ourselves to be enabled to preserve and sustain life. The fundamental of live-saving during first aid application is based on the ABC principle which refers to Airway, Breathing and Circulation. A first aider must ensure causality’s airway is clear from obstruction, adequate breathing and determine circulation through chest compressions and rescue breathing,” he said.
Among all the departments that participated in the competitions, the security department emerged winners. The team has been selected to participate in the upcoming BCM competitions which will be hosted by OLDM in October 2016. Last year, OLDM emerged a victor in the BCM inter-mine first aid competitions.
Giving his vote of thanks, Botswana Miners Workers Union (BMWU) representative, Godfrey Madzonga said that it is saddening to note that between 2014 and 2016, 40 fatalities and 103 recorded injuries on the roads in Letlhakane Roads Safety Region and about 1.3 million people are dying and 50 million injured on the roads worldwide every year.
“The theme “Switched on First Aid anywhere anytime” is clear and came at the right time. I wish to express my appreciation in the way our teams displayed the passion on first aid,” he said.