Minesafe International Conference goes online

The Minesafe International Conference 2020 (Minesafe 2020) is set to be the safest Minesafe event to date, as it moves online for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hosted by the Australian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), the September 22-23 event could not be timelier, as health and safety and “the new normal” are hot topics across all industries.

Mining has continued to operate as normally as possible during the pandemic despite travel restrictions and social distancing regulations.

Minesafe 2020 will also feature Western Australia’s new industrial manslaughter legislation and risk management and promote a zero-harm workplace safety culture at all levels of mining businesses.

Director of mines safety at the Western Australian Department of Mines, Industry, Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) and Minesafe 2020 conference chair Andrew Chaplyn says coming together to improve safety and health outcomes is critical to the mining industry’s future.

“To make a positive difference, industry must learn from its past,” Chaplyn tells Australian Mining. “Unfortunately, in some parts of the resources industry, we have failed to do so.

“Attending Minesafe 2020 is an opportunity to support each other and have conversations about our journey to achieving best practice.”

With the Work Health and Safety Bill 2019 passed by the Western Australian legislative assembly in February and expected to pass in the spring session of parliament in coming months, achieving best practice has become even more important.

“Hazards are present in the mining industry and controlling them to ensure safe production is vital,” Chaplyn says.

“The regulatory landscape is changing across the nation and we all need to be aware of our responsibilities in the roles we have, whether it be the company director, chief operating officer, regulator, manager, supervisor or workers.”

Technology will be at the forefront of discussion, with a focus on the importance of combining innovation with human interaction and intelligence to build reliable safety procedures.

Chaplyn says future industry leaders will have an opportunity to share their knowledge with the current leaders of conventional mining, combining these skillsets to build futuristic solutions.

“Embracing change and adopting new technology is occurring faster than ever before in this fourth industrial revolution, so we need to understand the support networks to achieve these outcomes in the safest manner,” he says.

“We will need to have those frank conversations around realistic expectations as we continue to innovate and adopt new technology.

“The young minds are the future and they will benefit from sharing ideas with those experienced practitioners across the mining industry.”

Mental health and positive workplace culture are two more important topics that will be discussed at the conference.

Centre for Transformative Work Design director professor Sharon Parker will weigh in on work-related mental health, while Mitchell Services general manager people and risk Josh Bryant will present a case study, The Implementation of Safety Differently/Safety II.

Being online, attendees can participate in question and answer sessions, share their knowledge and network all from the comfort of their home or office, without having to worry about compromising their safety due to coronavirus.

The technical presentations will also be available to view on-demand for at least six months after the event.

This year’s keynote speakers include Chaplyn, Parker and Bryant as well as the Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Energy; Industrial Relations Bill Johnston, New South Wales Resources Regulator Chief Inspector of Mines Garvin Burns and Clyde & Co managing partner – Australia Michael Tooma.

AusIMM looks forward to welcoming the mining industry to attend, learn and participate at Minesafe 2020, despite not being able to welcome guests in a face-to-face environment.

Chaplyn is looking forward to discussing a large range of topics with all attendees, particularly in improving risk management to contribute to a safer industry.

“Risk management is fundamental to controlling hazards and managing all aspects of a mining operation, so improving our collective understanding and application will support a safer mining industry,” he concludes.

This article will appear in the August edition of Australian Mining.

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