Following the formation of the Safe and Healthy Work Environments (ELSSA) agency at the start of May 2022, Mexico’s mining sector will begin implementing the framework through a partnership with the Mexican Mining Chamber (CAMIMEX) to further improve its health and safety record.
The Social Security Institute (IMSS) signed an agreement with CAMIMEX so that miners can access preventive health services and reduce workplace accidents under the ELSSA framework. Fostering such a responsible culture could help Mexico significantly grow its GDP up to 3 percent through increased economic gains, according to Zoé Robledo, Director General, IMSS.
José Jaime Gutiérrez Núñez, President, CAMIMEX, said that since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the mining industry supported the federal and local governments in healthcare matters via activities in more than 690 communities located in 24 states. Gutiérrez indicated that the mining industry ensured over 900 health professionals were available to remote communities, carrying out 58 million COVID-19 tests. What is more, the private sector donated over MX$600 million (US$30 million) and constructed two hospitals to deal with the pandemic. “All of this highlights the mining sector’s capacity to adapt in unprecedented circumstances,” said Gutiérrez.
According to the last annual report of CAMIMEX, its affiliated companies registered an incident rate of 1.01 accidents per 100 workers. This number is 29.4 percent below the national average in the mining sector. The successful application of protocols to prevent diseases and improve safety are useful precedents of the sector to help foster the implementation of the Safe and Healthy Work Environments framework.
“The health of collaborators is a responsibility we all share. The cooperation between work centers and health authorities contributes to the adoption of preventive measures in favor of health and safety at work. It also promotes the conviction that building safe workspaces should be part of a sustained effort to generate a positive impact toward the wellbeing of miners and Mexico,” added Gutiérrez.
Between 2019 and 2020, CAMIMEX’s miners reduced their accident rates by 18.5 percent. The companies managed to do so by focusing on training, fostering a risk prevention culture and increasing investment to move closer to the industry’s goal of reaching a net zero fatality rate. The efforts came off the back of a study that found that most mining injuries can be prevented by reinforcing controls, training and personal responsibility.“Since 2014, the accident rate has been decreasing. Every year we are getting closer to the goal of zero accidents,” said CAMIMEX in its annual report.