Minister of Labour receives ‘Formal Investigation’ report of the BOSAI Minerals Group

The Honourable Joseph Hamilton, Minister of Labour received the official report of the ‘Formal Investigation’ into the death of Mr. Neptrid Hercules, who was employed by BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana, Linden, Upper Demerara River.

Permanent Secretary, Mr. Bishram Kuppen, Occupational Safety and Health, Consultant, Ms. Gweneth King and members of the BOSAI Formal Investigation team were also present at the handing over of the investigation report.

The formal investigation begun on Monday, March 27th, 2023, which complies with Section 72 (1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Chapter 99:06, Laws of Guyana.

The Act gives the Minister the power to direct formal investigation into any accident arising out of and in the course of employment of any worker where he considers it expedient to so do. The persons appointed are referred to as “The court” and “shall hold

the investigation in open court in such a manner and under such conditions as the court may think most effectual for ascertaining the causes and circumstances of the accident”.

Competent persons were appointed to serve on the investigating team “to determine the cause (s) of the accident and make recommendations for the prevention of accidents generally and more in particular the recurrence of similar accidents.

Mr. Hercules went missing in the early hours of the morning on Saturday, March 11, 2023 along with the CAT D9T Dozer which he was operating at the time. This was due to a failure experienced at the Overburden Dump in the East Montgomery Mine where he was working, which caused them to be covered by the overburden material. The body of Mr. Hercules was found several days later after an extensive and painful search.

The Minister expressed his hope that the report’s findings would provide some satisfaction to those concerned, notably Mr. Hercules’ family and friends, during the report’s presentation. He stated that moving forward, workplace incident investigations will employ the same process as this one.

This involves setting up a joint Technical Committee to supplement the current one and working together with other government ministries and organisations to control the mining sector to stop future incidents.

 “We have to give the recommendations life if we fail to give the recommendation life then all of us would have done an injustice to the memory of the man whose death, we have investigated…so we hope that together we can have companies comply with the recommendation made,” he stated.

The recommendations coming out of the ‘Formal Investigation’ are as follows:

  • Establish a sectoral coordinating group comprised of representatives of the Ministry of Labour, Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a representative of the workers union.
  • Promulgation of the Regulations made under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana to establish a Health and Safety Committee for the Reclamation Dump Construction
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana must install and maintain geotechnical engineering, ground and surface water hydrology capacity supported by the appropriate field and laboratory equipment.
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana must prepare and submit the report required by Part 111 (13) (q) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana must submit a document to stack or dump any waste product resulting from mining operations to Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) for approval.
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana must prepare and submit an Environmental Management Plan and Contingency and Emergency Response Plan as required by the 2005 Mining Amendments.
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana must commission and submit of an updated Environmental Impact Assessment containing a description of best available technology and with a risk assessment and an Emergency Response Plan.
  • BOSAI Minerals Group Guyana must provide a report to the Ministry of Labour bearing the seal and the signature of a professional engineer addressing ground stability to ensure that a worker is not likely to be endangered. Timelines for implementing the recommendations were given and BOSAI is required to adhere to them.