Mind your mine-safety mindset
The mining industry is making a noticeable move towards a proactive safety-awareness culture, but will it be a permanent shift?
As one of the most dangerous industries in the world, the safety of mine workers is an ongoing concern. Despite legislative requirements, the inclusion of safety awareness programs, and a noticeable shift towards the facilitation of a safety culture, fatalities and injuries continue to occur.
The Daily Mercury recently reported a 16% rise in the number of reported high-potential mine site incidents. “It is an indication of a strong culture of reporting potential safety hazards in the industry”, commented Andrew Cripps, Natural Resources and Mines minister.
Changing mindsets in relation to safety from reactive to proactive is needed in order to facilitate safe working environments across the industry. The movement from ‘no fatalities’ to ‘zero harm’ is indicative of this required change.
Deloitte revealed in their 2014 Tracking the Trends report that the vast majority of mining-related incidents are preventable. The rise in reported potential-incidents is certainly a strong indication of increased safety awareness. And, more importantly, the willingness to take action.
This is especially important, as it is likely that the industry will need to operate in increasingly hazardous environments in the years to come. Easily accessible mineral deposits are being depleted leading the industry to look towards more remote and dangerous locations.
Given that future mining frontiers won't necessarily be restricted to land, with recent investments looking to mining the deep seabed and even asteroids, leads us to ask, what additional measures might be needed to safely mine in the future, and will the pendulum again swing toward increased risk acceptance?
This is a collaborative piece written in conjunction with Jock Grady.