Ministry of Labour, Skills and Innovation says miners have the right to protective clothing and should demand it not provided.
Speaking on Friday during a meeting with mine workers around Ng’onga Hills in Balaka, the district’s labour officer Edson Luchapa said it is unfortunate that people still engage in mining activities without any protective gear while the number of mine workers diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB) keeps increasing in Malawi.
He said: “Mining is regarded as a hazardous job and our responsibility is to ensure that employers meet minimum occupational safety standards.
“The mining worker has the right to claim compensation for injuries and diseases contracted in the course of the work, apart from the right to remove oneself from work situations that can endanger one’s life or health.”
Luchapa said the rising number of people working in mines diagnosed with TB (365 in 2016 to 415 in 2017) is a result of intensified efforts in sputum collection and screening in the project’s mining areas.
Nearly 4 000 persons in mining areas are suspected to have TB but after screening 20 to 30 percent are confirmed to have the disease, according to Luchapa.