At the Mine Health and
Safety Summit of 2003, the tripartite stakeholders in mining agreed
to targets and milestones, which are aimed at addressing the major
health and safety concerns of the sector. The milestones are considered
to be intermediate steps to achieving targets of zero fatalities and
injuries, silicosis elimination and the elimination of noise-induced
Elimination of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss:
a) The present noise exposure limit stated in the Mine Health and
Safety Act, 1996 (Act 29 of 1996) Regulations is no more than 85dB
b) After December 2008, the hearing conservation programme implemented
by the industry must ensure that there is no deterioration in hearing
greater than 10% amongst occupationally exposed individuals.
c) By December 2013, the total noise emitted by all equipment installed
in any workplace must not exceed a sound pressure level of 110 dBA
at any location in that workplace (including individual pieces of
The Mine Health and Safety Act requires that the employer establishes
and maintains a system of occupational hygiene measurements, as
stipulated in Section 12 (Occupational Hygiene Monitoring), of all
working places where the noise rating is at or above 82dB LAeq,8h.
As indicated earlier, the employer under the Occupational Health
and Safety Act is responsible for implementing a Hearing Conservation
Programme. The employer under the requirements of the Mine Health
and Safety Act, should implement an Occupational Health Programme
on Hearing Conservation and has a requirement for conducting Personal
Noise Exposure Monitoring and report back on the findings on a quarterly
basis to the Department of Mineral Resources on Personal Noise Exposure
- Report Form 21.9(2) (e).
The Occupational Health Programme on Hearing Conservation is drawn
up in accordance with the guidelines of the South
African Mines Occupational Hygiene Programme (SAMOHP) Codebook.
Personal exposure monitoring is conducted in accordance with section
8.3.3 for Personal Noise Dosimetry (Annex D of SANS
10083:2012 – The Measurement and Assessment of Occupational
Noise for Hearing Conservation Purposes), and continuous monthly
monitoring is conducted to determine the exposure levels of employees
in their respective Homogeneous
Exposure Groups (HEG) and allocated a classification band in
accordance with the SAMOHP Classification Band and Action Requirements
Table for Noise.
If use of the above references are unable to clearly determine
HEGs then an acceptable international methodology such as NIOSH
Occupational Exposure Sampling Strategy Manual (OESSM) or the
British Standard BS
EN 689:1996 may be utilised.
Any exposures at or above 85 dB LAeq,8h, and/or Peak Sound Level
> 135 dBA requires the employer to implement a formal Hearing
Conservation Programme as described above.