Saf Health Work.  2019 Jun;10(2):188-195. 10.1016/j.shaw.2018.12.002.

Contributors to Fatigue of MineWorkers in the South African Gold and Platinum Sector

Affiliations
  • 1Natural Resources and the Environment, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Pretoria, South Africa. JHodgskiss@csir.co.za
  • 2School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Abstract

BACKGROUND
Mine workers in South Africa face challenges relating to poor health and safety, including fatigue risks, and poor socioeconomic and living conditions. Fatigue results in impaired mental and physical performance. The aim of this study was to assess contributors to fatigue of mine workers in South Africa.
METHODS
Data collection took place at four gold mines and one platinum mine in South Africa. A total of 21 focus groups were held with individuals in management, union representatives, and mine workers, and 564 questionnaires were completed by mine workers to gather information about fatigue and potential contributors to fatigue at these mines.
RESULTS
Qualitatively (through focus groups), fatigue was attributed to extended working hours, harsh working conditions, high workloads, production pressure, and resource constraints, along with aspects relating to demographic and socioeconomic factors, living conditions, lifestyle, health, and wellness. Greater fatigue was significantly associated with younger age, indebtedness, a lack of exercise, poor nutrition, less sleep, increased alcohol use, poor self-reported health, more sick leave, higher stress, and lower job satisfaction.
CONCLUSION
The aim of the study was achieved; numerous work-, sociodemographic-, lifestyle-, and wellness-related factors were linked to fatigue in the participating mine workers. Contributors to fatigue should be addressed to improve health, safety, and sustainability in the industry.

Keyword

Environment and public health; Fatigue; Mining; Occupational stress; Risk evaluation and mitigation
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