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Sharing the Recipe for Mining Safety

May 25, 2023
Ruth Doris
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Journey Towards the Reduction of Fatalities

The International Mining Safety (IMS) Hub’s founding partners and mining leaders came together in early 2023 for the inaugural IMS Conference in Johannesburg. The workshop titled: ‘Journey Towards the Reduction of Fatalities’ focused on sharing Founding Partners’ journeys, challenges, and learnings, especially around critical communications and engagement.

The event began with presentations from IMS Hub founding partners and guest speakers followed by open discussions around the table with an emphasis on sharing learnings. The day finished with an insightful discussion on the opportunities to work together towards common goals.

What is the IMS Hub?

The International Mining Safety (IMS) Hub is an industry-first platform and a collaboration between leading mining companies to share knowledge with the goal of saving lives.

Co-founded by Jincom and risk management expert Stephen Eichstadt in 2021, the Hub is an online library of industry-endorsed, technically accurate, simplified and visualised safety tools, created and shared by leading mining organisations.

The Hub is a repository of technically accurate, visualised health and safety tools.

Over 200 highly visually, technically accurate and engaging HSE tools specific to the mining industry are available to IMS Hub members.

As the IMS Hub approaches its 2-year anniversary, founding partners and other mining industry representatives gathered for a one-day conference to share their experiences and find ways to collaborate on safety.

Sharing challenges and learnings

Opening the workshop, Stephen Eichstadt spoke about the challenges of large companies with multiple sites and diverse workforces and the additional challenges of contractors working at different sites and working to different standards depending on the company.

Using the analogy of a McDonald’s hamburger, he explained that safety standards can be standardised across the industry. Addressing the gathering, he posed the question: What is the recipe to stay fatality free? 

Attendees also heard from George Coetzee, previous Senior VP Group H&S for AngloGold Ashanti, who shared that one of the biggest safety concerns for his organisation is complacency. He also spoke about the power of visualisation to make sense of complex safety information.

Salthiel Scheepers and Jacques Erasmus from Gold Fields described their organisation’s approach to safety with the three pillars of safety performance: Safety leadership, safety behaviours and safety processes and systems, while Hannes Prinsloo from Impala Platinum (Implats) told the group that accountability is the main driver for safe behaviour.

A joint presentation from Anglo American’s safety leaders Ludwig Von Maltitz and Peter Instone addressed a key challenge: to empower frontline workers to own and manage risk.

The following presentation by Stephen Eichstadt, showcased Anglo American's Safety-Critical Work Routines for supervisors which uses the approach of reinforcing safe behaviours by integrating safety processes into work routines.

Representing the Health and Environmental Scientific Committee (HESCom) of the International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPA), Cas Badenhorst shared challenges of communicating safety messaging around exposure controls for platinum salts which can cause a severe form of occupational asthma. 

Guest speaker, Robyn McEvoy from South African-based mining company, Thungela, presented her company’s unique approach to get more engagement around safety with two campaigns: Thunopoly – based on the board game Monopoly – and Formula 1, focused on six safety essentials.

Sohail Ahmad described Ma’aden’s Field Risk Assessment program that trained employees to carry out proper risk assessments and correctly identify and evaluate risk.

Finishing up the presentations, William Taylor shared some insights in Sibanye-Stillwater’s Fatal Elimination Journey, which started with collective responsibility and focused on critical risk areas.

Jincom’s CEO Andrew Smith gave a presentation of the newly developed SHINE app and explained how the app can provide direct access to all relevant risk-related content for Hub members.

Attendees at the IMS Conference in February 2023

Key learnings

Attendees shared their learnings with implementation of safety communications and processes across their companies and the group discussed opportunities to collaborate. The key learnings were as follows:

How can we franchise safety across the industry? Think of safety like a recipe that can be replicated and standardised in every mine (Mc Donald’s can make a burger the same way all around the world) – “What is the recipe to stay fatality free?”

By collaborating and sharing safety information, incidents and learnings, each company contributes to the life-saving “recipe”.

Visualisation helps make sense of complex information. By simplifying text-heavy materials, barriers of language, literacy and culture can be overcome. 

How do we change culture and behaviour/achieve a shift in mindset? Overcome complacency by having ‘courageous leadership and embedding safety and workplace health into day-to-day routines. 

Creating a culture of accountability and ownership of safety and workplace health. Empower frontline workers to own and manage health and safety risk and move from a focus on compliance to active risk management.

How do we get people to really understand risk? Show unwanted events (near-miss) and share risks and consequences 

What we measure is important. Focus on quality, leading indicators versus lagging:

  • Stop work by the frontline
  • Reporting of HPIs
  • Measure what is going wrong
  • What does good look like? Have this as the end goal.
  • Set specific KPIs to align with safety goals

Share HPI (High Potential Incidents) at critical control level 

  • By using a template developed by the Minerals Council South Africa
  • More HPIs = more data = great shared learnings

Solution to overcome reluctance to share incident learnings

  • Avoid Fatal Incidents to bypass issues around
  • Group incidents (with similar causes) by themes 
  • Share theme-based learnings from incidents - many fatalities have repeat causes

MCSA creating LFIs for IMS Hub

  • Key learnings were captured and details are anonymised

Areas of collaboration:

  • Developing the tools/resources across the 50+ fatal catastrophic risks
  • Sharing HPIs down to critical control level
  • Key resources needed to complement the “recipe” to sustain Zero Fatalities.
  • Develop a suite of different PUEs (graphically recreate hypothetical incidents), then highlight the path to avoidance
  • Immersive training experiences

The conference ended with a session where attendees shared their reflections on the day. It was widely agreed that the day was a success and a second conference is planned for later in 2023. The next event will continue an informal conversation about fatal risk management and share ongoing learnings and challenges as well as identify areas where there are opportunities to proactively work together to find solutions towards eliminating fatalities in mining.

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