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The University of Mines and Technology, in collaboration with Goldfields Ghana Limited Tarkwa, held a public lecture on 27th April, 2022 to observe the World Day for Safety and Health at Work. The selection of the theme for the programme ‘Act Together To Build Positive Safety and Health Culture’, was motivated by the ‘Appiatse explosion’ and was aimed at sensitising the general public to adopt good emergency response practices to avoid  injuries during emergency situations. The lecture was facilitated by the Disaster and Emergency Management Hub (DEM-Hub) of the University.

The DEM Hub was established by the University to ensure maximized community impact of health and safety, with a key mandate to bring together stakeholders in Disaster and Emergency Management to improve upon coordination among emergency response units during disasters and emergencies.

The Vice Chancellor, Prof Richard K. Amankwah, in his address acknowledged that the ‘Appiatse Explosion’ was one of the atrocious incidents in the Ghanaian Mining Industry which occurred outside the mine. “This means that, safety practices should not only be drilled on the mine, but in the catchment communities within the mining enclaves as well”, he said. He also stated the need to engage security agencies and road users on good road-user practices to reduce road accidents in the country.

Prof Amankwah also noted that “the Appiatse explosion recorded many injuries due to lack of coordination amongst the various emergency response agencies” and stressed the need to coordinate emergency responses when accidents occur.

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Prof Richard K. Amankwah, Vice Chancellor (2nd from left)

The General Manager, Goldfields Ghana Limited, Mr Stephen Osei Bempah, mentioned that, ‘fatigue’, is a major contributing factor to road accidents. Hence, the Mine has deployed a Fatigue Management System, as a safety initiative that ensures employee safety and health in the Mine.

He also mentioned that, the Mine has trained members of seven (7) host communities, namely; Abekwase, Samanho, Pepesa, Tebe, Huniso, New Atoabo and Booboobo in Fire-Fighting and Evacuation as measures to create safety consciousness in the host communities.

The Guest Speaker, Ing Joe Steve Annan, Senior Manager, Occupational Health and Safety, AngloGold Ashanti-Obuasi Mine, made a presentation on the topic, ‘Act Together To Build Positive Safety and Health Culture’. He stressed on safety and health considerations for SMEs and Artisans, application of safety and health tools at workplaces, enforcement of safety and health requirements at the workplace to build positive culture by institutions, and empowering institutions, workers and the public to comply with health and safety laws in Ghana.

Ing Annan stated that regulatory institutions must enforce the laws made by the government to ensure safety in the country. He said, “Government, regulators and corporate institutions should cooperate with each other to ensure sustainable safety culture” as this will protect the general public from accidents. He also suggested that government should equip the various regulatory units with the requisite resources to effectively carry out their duties.

The Guest Speaker noted that employers of the various sectors are mandated to provide a safe working environment for employees to avoid injuries at the workplace and bemoaned the lackadaisical attitude of employees of the informal sector to adhere to safety protocols. “It is recorded that most workplace injuries and accidents occur in the informal sector”, he said, and admonished the informal sectors to adhere to the necessary safety protocols pertaining to their work.

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The Guest Speaker, Ing Joe Steve Annan, Senior Manager, Occupational Health and Safety, AngloGold Ashanti-Obuasi Mine

Present at the lecture were, Prof Anthony Simons, Pro Vice Chancellor, Mr M. K. Okrah, Registrar, Representatives from the Ghana Police Service, Ghana Immigration Service, Ghana Ambulance Service, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Water Commission, Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU), Motor Traffic and Transport Directorate (MTTD), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), Ghana Association of Garages, the Clergy, and Staff and Students of the University.

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A Section of Participants at the Lecture

The public lecture was preceded by an emergency simulation of a vehicle accident at the Bogoso Junction (a vicinity, off Bogoso road from Tarkwa, which hosts a significant number of garage shops in Tarkwa), and the intervention of the Emergency Response Units; the Ghana Police Service, the Ambulance Service and the Ghana National Fire Service, to manage the situation.

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Simulated Accident Scene

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Emergency Response Team Responding to Simulated Accident Victim

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Emergency Response Team Responding to Simulated Accident Victim

ASP George A. Kumah, Divisional Commander, Ghana Police Service, Tarkwa, explained that when accidents occur, eyewitnesses get injured because they only get close to the incident scenes to watch and take photographs which compromises their own safety. “This is one of the reasons the Appiatse explosion recorded many injuries”, he added. He then advised the general public to call for the emergency response units when accidents occur and also, ensure their own safety first.

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ASP George A. Kumah, Divisional Commander, Ghana Police Service, Tarkwa

The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality, who was present at the simulation scene expressed his satisfaction with the effort of UMaT and its partners to educate residents of the Municipality on good safety and emergency response practices. He was optimistic that it will go a long way to instil good safety culture amongst the members of the Municipality.

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Group Photograph with Hon Benjamin Kesse, MCE, Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality (5th from right)

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Some Members of the Emergency Response Team

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Source: University Relations Office