The mining industry has been urged to benchmark with similar organisations from around the world to improve the standard of first aid in the country.
Speaking recently at the Intermine First Aid Competitions, speakers said it was imperative for the mining industry to take this essential component of life seriously.
Hosted under the theme: ‘What you do in an emergency will make all the difference’, the annual Botswana Chamber of Mines (BCM) Intermine First Aid Competitions were graced by five teams from Jwaneng, Botash, Karowe, Orapa, Letlakane, Damtshaa Mine (OLDM) and the hosts, Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST).
In his welcoming remarks, BCM Chairperson, David Kgoboko revealed that first aid could be traced back to early warfare, where the care of traumatic and medical cases was required in large numbers.
Kgoboko said although the country has done particularly well as far as safety is concerned, there’s a need to benchmark with similar organisations outside Botswana’s borders to further enhance the quality of first aid in local mines.
He said he was worried by the fact that first aid seems to be exclusive to mines.
“This is a life skill that should be known by everyone. We need to encourage our mines to take first aid outside mining premises,” he said.
Kgoboko’s sentiments were reiterated by guest speaker, BIUST Vice Chancellor, Professor Otlogetswe Totolo, who referred to first aid as an essential component of human life.
“This is a crucial event in the BCM calendar of events and the mining industry in general,” Totolo said, stressing that first aid skills can be the difference between life and death in cases of emergency.
The Vice Chancellor said these annual competitions, initiated by BCM in the early 90s, give participants an opportunity to reinforce their knowledge.
“It is crucial for every individual to acquire at least basic first aid knowledge as it can save lives,” said Professor Totolo.
Meanwhile, Jwaneng Mine successfully defended the trophy they won last year. Team Jwaneng, who were chased all the way by MCM, scored the most points in team test and simulation.
Each member of the team walked away with P3, 000 cash while members of the runners up MCM won P2, 000 each. OLDM came third, with each member receiving P1, 000.
Judges awarded points for cohesion and awareness of what was going on.
The chief judge, Dr Taljaard explained that teams were tasked with executing a first aid plan within reasonable time and in the process show that they were in control of the situation and were putting the patient’s life ahead of everything.
“Our main worry though is that almost all the participants did not use the right CPR technique, it seems like they need classes from the North York Coast2Coast First Aid/CPR team. This is worrying because CPR is the most important aspect in first aid,” he noted.