Thursday, October 1, 2020

Heavy quarry equipment crushes man to death

The police and the Department of Mines are investigating the circumstances that led to the death of an employee who was crushed to death by a quarry mine plane on last Friday.

The station commander of Lobatse Police Station, Superintendent Robert Mack, confirmed the incident but did not want to be drawn into the details of the accident.

“So far, one male employee age 40 who is a local village was reported dead in the accident,” he said.

He said the names of the deceased are still withheld until next of kin are informed.

In a brief interview managing director of Panda Group Andre Van Zyl said the accident occurred in the early hours of Friday and is the first incident of its kind to occur in the company since twenty-one years of operation in the country.

He said “I will not want to speculate what could have caused the fatal accident until the investigations have been completed by the department of mines”.

He pointed out that safety of employees is a priority in his company.

Ofentse Ditsele, the Deputy Director of Mines, Operations and Development, told Telegraph in an interview that his office is aware of the accident and that one employee was reported dead.

“We have already sent our inspectors to the quarry mine to conduct preliminary investigations on what could have caused the accident in Molopowabojang Village where the accident occurred,” he said.
Ditsele added that he was unable to speculate what could have caused the accident but will communicate the information with the public as soon as the investigations are carried out.

He said, in normal circumstances, it takes about forty-five days for his department to complete such investigations even though it can, at times, take longer due to certain circumstances surrounding a particular case.

Ditsele stated that fatal accidents in quarries are not as rampant as compared to other mines generally.

He recalled an incident in Lotsane sometime around 2010 where an employee walked into a cement mixer, unfortunately his colleague, unaware that there was someone inside the mixer, switched on the machine which crushed the man to death.

He appealed to the employers to always educate their employees about the risks that they are in when using such heavy plants.

“Employees should also ensure that they always obey instructions when using heavy plant machinery as failure to do so in most cases may not only result in injury but also a loss of life,” he said.

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