Top 10 mining trends for 2014 – 9. Flipping mining’s safety culture

Over the coming weeks Australian Mining will be showing you what to expect in the year ahead, in a 10 part series which will analyse the top ten trends for 2014.

Prolonged market volatility is forcing miners to change the way they operate, making tough strategic changes in a bid to remain viable.

Releasing its sixth annual Tracking the Trends report, Deloitte global mining leader Phil Hopwood explains that mining companies are facing a climate marred by volatile commodity prices and shifting demand fundamentals.

“To rectify cost overruns, improve capital efficiency and rebuild investor relationships, companies need to sharpen their focus on productivity, sustainable cost management and enhanced shareholder value,” Hopwood said.

1. Mining productivity hits new lows

2. Market imbalances will wreak commodity price havoc

3. Innovate or bust

4. Funding cracks widen

5. Record impairments 

6. Local community demands intensify

7. Resource nationalism spreads

8. Corruption compliance crackdown

9. Safety cultures flip

While the number of mining fatalities has dropped 24 per cent between 1993 and 2011, the statistic isn’t keeping pace with the 51 per cent decline achieved in non-fatal injuries.

“In mining, both serious incidents and fatality numbers remain high, particularly in many of the industry’s developing frontiers,” Deloitte stated.

What’s worrying is that as easier deposits are mined out and mining conditions become harsher the probability of accidents occurring increases.

“Beyond resulting in lost production time, investigative costs, reputational damage and regulatory fines, fatal accidents take a huge toll on employee morale and have dire impacts on families and communities,” Deloitte said.

A changing industry means companies will need to take a new look at the way they tackle safety risk.

“By combining current safety practices with those designed to reduce fatalities, mining companies should see significant improvements in their safety outcomes,” Deloitte stated.

While mining companies often analyse masses of safety data, more often than not they end up without any significant insight or action plan, Deloitte’s National Leader for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Valerie Chort explains.

“By examining the organisational factors that contribute to poor safety outcomes, and looking at non-traditional – but easily available – data points, miners can identify the employees at greatest risk of harm and objectively pinpoint the levers that can reduce those risks,” she said.

Crunching the numbers to improve safety requires modelling high risk events, re-examining procedures and breaking down data silos including rosters, production data, equipment maintenance schedules, and weather conditions.


Tomorrow: Trend ten – Talent gaps widen


To read the full report, click here.

To read last year’s top 10 mining trends, click here.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.