Managing the influence of adult basic education and training on occupational health and safety in the mining industry
The aim of this research is to establish if there is a correlation between the unacceptable high occupational and health and safety (OHS) records in the South African mining industry and the role of Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) as a principal catalyst of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). As few studies have been conducted on Adult education in South Africa, this study focusses specifically on unskilled and illiterate workers. The study is an integrated review of available literature sourced from mine health and safety, adult education and training, education and training in the mining industry and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training. The sources refer not only to the historical origins of adult education, but also to contemporary dynamics in its current context, with reference to comparable scenarios and situations. One of the core concepts is that on an individual level, every person, child, youth and adult should benefit from educational opportunities and this notion has substantial support in literature, as well as the concept that all individuals should have access to lifelong education and training. Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) has the potential to provide opportunities to capable workers who lack formal education. Therefore, Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) as well as Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training policies may require renewal in order to facilitate alternative and additional training, and educational initiatives, required for illiterate underground mine workers. The review reveals a lack of evidence of effective advocacy and training around generic mining occupational hazards. Health and safety training is most evidently linked to operator training, which is aligned with unit-standards. However, substantial numbers of mine workers lack adequate formal education for such training programmes, or the informal skills to be included via recognition of prior learning (RPL) processes. Associated skills training outlined in public unit standards, also lack essential elements. The findings identify key recommendations for an underpinning approach to health and safety training for elementary mine workers. These are realistic planning and provision of Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) and Health and Safety Training, ownership, better management of health and safety and improved communication. Additional findings suggest that the convergent effects of different policies results in the training of the least educated mine workers being marginalised. The study includes seven propositions that relates to the increased impact that Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) should have in the mining industry. Compulsory Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) skills programmes for ABET level 4 employees. Accountability for training and the renewal of implementation processes. A public regulatory framework and lastly policies and directives originating from both the mining and the education training sectors to make Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) training a priority intervention for the mining sector. The study concludes with the items that require urgent attention namely, communication, the effects of Health and Safety training and lastly the effects that Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) has on the mining industry.