Under the auspices of H.E. Mohsen bin Hamad Al-Hadrami, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals has introduced a Guide on occupational health, safety and environment for the minerals sector. The launch event saw the participation of various representatives of government entities, mining companies and health and safety specialists.
At the beginning of the event, H.E. the Undersecretary of Energy and Minerals delivered a speech emphasizing the imperative need for a profound transformation in the management of mining projects, especially at the leadership level. He stressed the significance of adopting work mechanisms that prioritize health and safety of workers and the neighboring communities, while also safeguarding the environment. The Ministry is dedicated to averting accidents by adhering to professional guidelines in this aspect. Furthermore, H.E. provided examples of practices and standards applied in the oil and gas sectors, which have had a positive impact in reducing accidents and protecting individuals and facilities. The Ministry is committed to elevating the application of safety, health and environmental standards in the mining sector, similar to the standards applied in the oil and gas sector, according to carefully developed plans. H.E. also highlighted the role of the Health and Safety Subcommittee within the Main Committee for the Added Value of the Minerals Sector, where several sector companies are actively engaged under the auspices of the Oman Energy Society. This committee held many meetings related to occupational health, safety and environment topics, including this Guide.
Eng. Saud bin Khamis bin Hamad Al-Mahrouqi, Director General of Minerals, further underscored the significance of health, safety and the environment on the safety and occupational health of workers. He emphasized the importance of implementing the instructions outlined in the Guide, noting the positive impact it can have on mining companies, including enhancement of the sector's reputation within nearby communities. This is achieved through a commitment to protect workers and the environment.
Eng. Nayef Al-Awaid, CEO of Kunooz Holding Group, emphasized the significance of adhering to health and safety in mining projects, which have an impact in terms of increasing productivity and reducing accidents and injuries. Furthermore, Eng. Al-Awaid mentioned the significant transformation within the Kunooz Holding Group when it decided to elevate its occupational health, safety, and environmental standards. This decision not only had a positive impact on reducing accidents but also contributed to higher job satisfaction among employees. It also boosted the confidence of customers and partners in the company.
Klaus Muller from Green Tech Mining and Services provided a visual presentation on the mining waste treatment project at the Oman Mining Site in Sohar. During his presentation, he emphasized the company's commitment to environmental standards that prioritize both environmental protection and the reduction of risks associated with mining operations.
The guide aims to assist mining companies, service providers, and operators in identifying and managing health and safety risks across their diverse operations. The ultimate objective is to achieve the desired goal of zero fatal accidents and serious injuries at work sites, taking into account environmental aspects. The Guide also aims to ensure that mining operations are conducted in a safe and sustainable manner. The Guide includes the minimum requirements that must be met in the work areas
Moreover, this Guide refers to the legal framework for occupational health, safety and the environment that must be complied with. It considers the potential impact of mining operations on workers, the environment and local communities. This encompasses risks related to health, safety, and the environment for workers and society, as well as the environmental consequences of mining operations, the welfare and livelihood of workers, and the repercussions of non-compliance with the law.
Companies shall assume responsibility to ensure the establishment of a high system of occupational health, environment and safety management in their projects. This system shall also be maintained to ensure its continuity by identifying the types of risks, health injuries and diseases that workers may be exposed to, as well as those that might affect the local community due to mining activities. Furthermore, the system shall address concerns related to waste management, operational risks (electrical and mechanical hazards, etc.), road safety (on-site and off-site), air and waterborne pollutants, psychosocial and social hazards, besides corporate social responsibility and training requirements.
The Ministry will follow up the commitment of these companies to implement the guidelines contained therein in order to ensure the safety of workers from the risks and causes of accidents at work sites and to ensure the safety of the work environment at mining sites. Licensed companies shall submit two separate reports in this regard. The first report shall identify the types and nature of risks at work sites. Furthermore, a plan shall be submitted to reduce these risks by the end of March 2024. As for the second report, it shall include a plan to rectify any deficiencies in occupational health, safety and environmental practices at mining sites in accordance with the Guide to meet all the standards and guidelines required, by the guide by the end of September 2024.