2 mining operations in Puruni flagged for unsafe conditions


Two operations in Puruni Mining District in Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) were flagged by the Occupational Safety and Health Department of the Ministry of Labour during an awareness exercise in the area on Wednesday.

Of the five operations that were visited at Million Mountain and Ms June mining areas, officers issued notices to two, highlighting dangers and/or defects.

These unsafe conditions include inadequate entry and exit points to and from the mining pit, excessive overburden on the pit crest, debris accumulation on the pit floor, and dangerously high pit faces.

The officers also provided practical guidance on handling emergencies and utilising the hierarchy of control for hazards and emphasised the importance of proper housekeeping, water sources, and sanitation.

These visits were done in observance of Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Month and included mine inspections, OSH talks, emergency response training, and the distribution of treated mosquito nets to prevent the spread of vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever to workers in the mines.

Throughout the outreaches, officers enlightened personnel within the extractive industry about prevalent health and safety challenges in the field.

A total of 88 workers, including 5 females were engaged during the initiative.

The Labour Ministry’s Occupational Safety and Health Department over the past weeks have investigated several industrial accidents with the latest one at Pritipaul Singh Investments at Providence, East Bank Demerara in March which led to the death of Ravichandra Seemangal, a mechanic.

Seemangal was riding his bicycle when a vehicle collided with him. He sustained injuries to his abdomen, feet, and hands and succumbed a few days later.

Earlier that month, a fatal accident occurred as a result of land caving in at Cowing Backdam, Upper Mazaruni River, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni). This led to the death of 60-year-old Bertram Willie, a dredge owner of Wisroc Housing Scheme, Linden, Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).

Shortly after, a catastrophic boiler explosion gravely injured three young men at Hack Rice Mill, Bush Lot, West Coast Berbice, Region Five (Mahaica-Berbice).

In 2023, the Labour Ministry recorded a total of 20 occupational deaths due to accidents in the mining, construction, agriculture and manufacturing sectors. Of the 20 deaths recorded, nine occurred in the mining sector in Region Seven while six were recorded in the construction sector.

Additionally, the Ministry recorded 175 non-fatal accidents that were investigated out of the 577 reports received. Most of these reports emanated from the agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

In light of these incidents, the Ministry remains concerned over the continued occurrence of workplace accidents, especially when workers are fatally injured.