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Article

Occupational Hearing Loss for Platinum Miners in South Africa: A Case Study of Data Sharing Practices and Ethical Challenges in the Mining Industry

1
Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2000, South Africa
2
Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, School of Human and Community Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
3
Anglo American, Johannesburg 2091, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Astrid van Wieringen, Jan Wouters and Jan A.P.M. de Laat
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010001
Received: 29 November 2021 / Revised: 8 December 2021 / Accepted: 9 December 2021 / Published: 21 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Occupational and Recreational Hearing Loss)
Background: The relevant legislation ensures confidentiality and has paved the way for data handling and sharing. However, the industry remains uncertain regarding big data handling and sharing practices for improved healthcare delivery and medical research. Methods: A semi-qualitative cross-sectional study was used which entailed analysing miners’ personal health records from 2014 to 2018. Data were accessed from the audiometry medical surveillance database (n = 480), the hearing screening database (n = 24,321), and the occupational hygiene database (n = 15,769). Ethical principles were applied to demonstrate big data protection and sharing. Results: Some audiometry screening and occupational hygiene records were incomplete and/or inaccurate (N = 4675). The database containing medical disease and treatment records could not be accessed. Ethical challenges included a lack of clarity regarding permission rights when sharing big data, and no policy governing the divulgence of miners’ personal and medical records for research. Conclusion: This case study illustrates how research can be effectively, although not maliciously, obstructed by the strict protection of employee medical data. Clearly communicated company policies should be developed for the sharing of workers’ records in the mining industry to improve HCPs. View Full-Text
Keywords: electronic data; occupational exposures; personal data; audiometry; healthcare providers; machine learning systems; ethical principles electronic data; occupational exposures; personal data; audiometry; healthcare providers; machine learning systems; ethical principles
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ntlhakana, L.; Nelson, G.; Khoza-Shangase, K.; Dorkin, E. Occupational Hearing Loss for Platinum Miners in South Africa: A Case Study of Data Sharing Practices and Ethical Challenges in the Mining Industry. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19, 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010001

AMA Style

Ntlhakana L, Nelson G, Khoza-Shangase K, Dorkin E. Occupational Hearing Loss for Platinum Miners in South Africa: A Case Study of Data Sharing Practices and Ethical Challenges in the Mining Industry. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(1):1. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010001

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ntlhakana, Liepollo, Gill Nelson, Katijah Khoza-Shangase, and Elton Dorkin. 2022. "Occupational Hearing Loss for Platinum Miners in South Africa: A Case Study of Data Sharing Practices and Ethical Challenges in the Mining Industry" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 19, no. 1: 1. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010001

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