Injuries and IIl-Health Among Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners in Ghana

August 2015

The study offers a retrospective, cross sectional examination of the records of injuries of artisanal and small-scale gold miners in the Eastern Region of Ghana from 2006 to 2013. 

Artisanal and small-scale gold miners are confronted with numerous hazards often resulting in varying degrees of injuries and fatalities. In Ghana, like many developing countries, there is paucity of information on the causes and nature of the accidents that result in the injuries. The study was a retrospective, cross sectional type that examined the records of injuries of artisanal and small-scale gold miners presented to the emergency department of a district hospital in the Eastern Region of Ghana from 2006 to 2013. The causes, types, and outcomes of reported injuries were analyzed for 72 cases. Occurrences of mining accidents reported in selected Ghanaian media during the year 2007–2012 were also analyzed to corroborate the causes of the accidents. Fractures and contusions constituted the most frequently occurring injuries, with collapse of the mine pits and falls being the most frequent cause of accidents reported both by the hospital and media records. This study shows that though varied degrees of injuries occur among the miners, the potential for serious injuries is substantial. Measures to reduce the incidence of injuries and fatalities should include education and training on the use of safe working tools and means of creating a safe working environment.