At least 800 people are employed as casual laborers in the mines that cover 175 hectares. However, the employees say that working in the mines without protective gear like gloves, overalls, helmets, gumboots and eye goggles exposes them to health risks.
The mines were revived in December 2016 after a takeover from Krone Uganda Limited by KI3R Minerals Ltd, a United Kingdom based company. At least 800 people are employed as casual laborers in the mines that cover 175 hectares.
However, the employees say that working in the mines without protective gear like gloves, overalls, helmets, gumboots and eye goggles exposes them to health risks. Andrew Batibuka, one of the workers employed in the mines for the last five months, wants the company to take a responsibility of providing them with safety equipment.
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John Karuma, another staff says that although some of the workers tried to arrange for protective gear on their own, a big number of them have failed because they are expensive and not easily accessible.
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Muko Sub County Chairperson Herbert Byaruhanga says that the mining should not only stop at providing protective gear but should also construct a health facility at the mining site to ease access to health services for staff who instead have to trek distances in search of services.
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Donat Kankonde, the General Manager of KI3R Minerals International Limited says that the company is in a process of providing all the workers at with free protective gear.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2006, employers must provide safety gear such as gloves, eye goggles and ear muffs among others. The act also stipulates that it is the obligation of the employer to teach and sensitize workers on the dangers of chemicals they encounter on the job and precautions to be undertaken.