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The basic mine safety and health law of South Africa is the Mine Health and Safety Act, enacted as Act number 29 of 1996 and amended several times thereafter. It is a comprehensive piece of legislation which includes provisions concerning:

    - the responsibility of the owner to ensure health and safety through such actions as: creation of a safety and health policy and codes of practice, training, hazard identification, investigation, employment of industrial hygienists, establishment of a system of medical surveillance and record keeping;

    - the rights and responsibilities of employees including the right to refuse or leave unsafe work areas;

    - the selection and creation of safety and health representatives (mines with 20 or more employees) and safety and health committees (mines with 100 or more employees);

    - the creation of the Inspectorate of Mine Health and Safety; and

    - the establishment of the tripartite Mine Health and Safety Council.

The Act has been amended since 1996 including:

    - Act No. 72 of 1997, Mine Health and Safety Amendment Act, 1997. Amends the Mine Health and Safety Act of 1996 to provide for a system of fines, to further regulate tripartite institutions and to provide for the participation of health and safety representatives responsible for a working place in a relevant inquiry.

    - Constitution of the Mine Health and Safety Council, 1997 Concerning procedural matters of the Mine Health and Safety Council; and

    - Amendment of Mine Health and Safety Regulations (No. R. 846) 1997 Amends the Mine Health and Safety Act if 1996 concerning the election of safety and health representatives and committees and the authority of inspectors.