Original Research

Occupational health and safety considerations for women employed in core mining positions

Doret Botha, Freek Cronjé
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 13, No 1 | a652 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v13i1.652 | © 2015 Doret Botha, Freek Cronjé | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 June 2014 | Published: 02 June 2015

About the author(s)

Doret Botha, School of Social and Government Studies, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa
Freek Cronjé, Bench Marks Centre for CSR, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: Despite various liberalisation and feminisation processes with regard to gender and sex roles, traditionalistic typologies, especially in terms of occupational roles, are seemingly very reluctant to disappear from relevant theoretical discourses, as well as in practice. One of the main issues remains the terrain of physical work. Although women all over the world have been involved in mining activities for centuries, the mining industry has not been an obvious career choice for women. In South Africa, new mining legislation aims to rectify previous inequalities and disadvantages in the mining sector and specifically provides for the inclusion of women in core mining activities. Although well intended, women’s involvement in the core business of mining also exposes them to the various hazards related to mine work.

Research purpose: This research determined perceptions regarding the health and safety of women working in core mining positions.

Motivation for the study: Currently there is a paucity of published data regarding health and safety challenges pertaining to women employed in the core business of mining.

Method: Quantitative and qualitative research paradigms were used (mixed method research design). Quantitative data were collected by means of a structured questionnaire. Qualitative data were collected by means of individual interviews and group interviews.

Main findings: From the literature review and the empirical findings it is evident that various factors (physical work capacity, anthropometry and body composition, personal protective equipment, treatment during pregnancy and security measures) need to be considered to ensure the health and safety of women employed in core mining positions.

Practical/managerial implications: It is evident from the research that exceptional attention should be given to the promotion of the health and safety of women working in the core business of mines to sustain their involvement in the mining sector.

Contribution: Practical recommendations are made to address health and safety concerns of women employed in core mining activities. These can be implemented and used by various stakeholders in the mining sector.


Keywords

health and safety; mining industry; sustainable employment; women in mining;

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1. Occupational Factors Affecting Women Workers’ Sexual and Reproductive Health Outcomes in Oil, Gas, and Mining Industry: A Scoping Review
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