Title: A review of reported injuries from small-scale mining in Ghana
Authors and Affiliations: Edith Clarke1, Emmanuel K-Amoah1
1Occupational and Environmental Health Unit, Ghana Health Service, Ghana
Abstract: Introduction: Small scale/artisanal mining have been practised in Ghana for several decades. Activities of operatives have been characterized by injuries and ill health partly due to factors like use of obsolete methods and equipment and lack of proper training in their use, as well as poor health and safety practices. The aim of the study is to describe reported cases of injuries/ accidents among small scale miners.
Study Design and Methods: This is a retrospective, cross sectional study that examines the records of injuries affecting small scale miners / galamsey operatives. The study uses 2 datasets. The first consists of injuries presenting at the emergency department of a district hospital from 2006 to 2013. The second comprises reported injuries and accidents mainly among small scale gold miners in the media, from 2007 to 2012 compiled by the OEHU and UM respectively. SSPS is used for data analyses.
Results: From the media reports, cases involving small scale miners accounted for 97.4 % while those occurring in large scale or corporate institutions contributed to about 2.6%. Cases involving illegal miners represented 95%. Majority of the miners suffered from falls (25%) and entrapment (22.2%). 19.4% were crushed and 19.4% sustained clash related injuries. Collapse of the mine site was the cause for the majority of the accidents (46.7%). A total of 72 hospital cases were evaluated. Fractures accounted for 9.7%, spinal cord injuries for 5.6% and lacerations for 4.2% of the injuries. For the known causes, collapse of the mines accounted for 12.5% of injuries and explosive blasts for 9.8%. 2.9% of the injuries were fatal.
Conclusion: Small scale miners are exposed to hazardous working conditions. These hazards may be the source of significant morbidity and mortality among this work group. Interventions to make their activities safer are advocated in order to protect their safety.