miners 2 11-10-10.jpgThe National Social Security Authority (NSSA) says it has noted with concern the increase in the cases of pneumoconiosis, a lung disease caused by lack of proper health and safety programmes in the mining sector.

Pneumoconiosis, a disease of the lungs which is a result of inhalation of hazardous dust which contains silica is on the increase in the mining sector with five critical cases having been recorded during the first half of this year.

NSSA director for occupational health and safety, Mr. Rodgers Dhliwayo says the prevalence of the disease shows that employers are not prioritising health matters and cutting corners to maximise profits.

“We have recorded five cases during the first half of the year and the challenge is that the disease is not curable and if we have an upward trend this is dangerous,” said Mr. Dhliwayo.

He said the medical bureau is currently monitoring diseases of the lungs which are usually not curable, hence result in deaths of the productive age groups in the mining sector.

“The medical bureau is monitoring critically developments in this sector and companies are expected to bring employees for X-rays,” he added.

The mining process generates various scenarios that have consequences on human and environmental health.

For human health, these come in the form of mechanical, physical, chemical and biological.

With the revival of the mining sector in Zimbabwe, cases of tuberculosis and lung problems are expected to increase if necessary steps are not taken to compel mining companies to prioritise the health of their workers.