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50 Years of ISSA Mining

The OSHAfrica 2019 Conference brought together stakeholders from across Africa and beyond to discuss the existing challenges in Occupational Safety and Health in Africa. Taking place in Johannesburg/South Africa, from 18th to 20th September, OSHAfrica 2019 featured the 7 Golden Rules and the ISSA’s VISION ZERO approach, which came as an initiative from the ISSA Mining section. During the event, the International Section of the ISSA on Prevention in the Mining Industry (ISSA Mining) celebrated its 50th anniversary in Pretoria. Ulrich Meesmann, President of ISSA Mining, gave the opening speech of the 50th anniversary in Pretoria and opened the OSGAfrica 2019 session “Leadership for Occupational Safety and Health” in Johannesburg.

Some 50 participants from 14 countries marked the 50th anniversary of the International Section of the ISSA on Prevention in the Mining Industry (ISSA Mining), during the OSHAfrica 2019 conference in Johannesburg/South Africa (Figure 1). The VISION ZERO prevention strategy, initiated originally by ISSA Mining, was a key focus for discussion during the event that ran from 18th to 20th September 2019.

Fig. 1. Some 50 participants from 14 countries marked the 50th anniversary of ISSA Mining. // Bild 1. Mit etwa 50 Teilnehmern aus 14 Ländern wurde das 50-jährige Bestehen der ISSA Mining gefeiert. Photo/Foto: ISSA

Created in 1969 during the VIIth World Congress on Safety and Health at Work, ISSA Mining was one of the first international prevention sections of the International Social Security Association (ISSA). While the aim was to spotlight ISSA Mining’s achievements over the last 50 years, the event was equally forward looking. In this regard, the discussion addressed VISION ZERO, with a number of speakers offering different perspectives from the fields of industry, traffic designers, national authorities and academia. VISION ZERO, with its Seven Golden Rules has witnessed strong growth in recent years and is now a successful global campaign.

“When ISSA Mining was established in 1969, the founding fathers could probably not imagine what would happen over the following 50 years. Yet, the core alignment then did not differ from today’s approach: Connect OSH experts across the world, to collect and compare good models of OSH practice, disseminate information and support mining operations to put knowledge into practice”, stated ISSA Mining President Ulrich Meesmann during his opening address to the conference. He reminded participants about important milestones achieved since 1969, remarking that ISSA Mining has some 150 members worldwide, and a busy annual agenda of events.

50 years of outstanding achievement

In a video message delivered to the event, ISSA Secretary General Marcelo Abi-Ramia Caetano, summarized the historic development of ISSA Mining since 1969, and drew attention to the “outstanding achievements of 50 years of ISSA mining”. Caetano remarked, “in large part, ISSA’s success in prevention is due to the innovative, conceptual and strategic thinking of the ISSA Mining Section”, and singled out the VISION ZERO strategy that has become a global brand.

Martina Hesse-Spötter spoke on behalf of the ISSA’s Special Commission on Prevention, sharing her experience from many years of close cooperation with ISSA Mining. During the event, former ISSA Mining President Theodor Bülhoff, former Vice President John McEndoo and Senior OSH expert and consultant Wolfgang von Richthofen were nominated as ISSA Mining Honorary Presidents. The anniversary event gathered participants from Chile, France, Germany, Guatemala, Islamic Republic of Iran, Nigeria, Peru, the Russian Federation, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.

Author: Ulrich Meesmann, Vorsitzender der Internationalen Arbeitsgruppe Bergbau (ISSA Mining), Bochum/Deutschland