Does ABET contribute to OHS in mining?

21 Jun 2012

South African mines have an unacceptable occupational health and safety (OHS) record. Of particular concern are the categories of workers who are most vulnerable to accidents and disease and who generally have the least formal education or training, those termed elementary workers (unskilled) and machinery operators and drivers (semi-skilled). This article questions the role of adult basic education and training (ABET) as a primary driver of mine OHS, with specific reference to these categories of workers. The article concludes that ABET has positive and generalised effects in the workplace, that may include OHS awareness, but that the scale of ABET impact on mine OHS is negligible. Additional and alternative OHS training initiatives are required to provide the least educated workers with comprehensive preparation and training for the hazards and risks of underground mining.