Fast-tracking safety

A new web-based safety system is helping one contractor achieve zero lost time injuries. Jessica Darnbrough writes.

In a culture of safety first, sev­eral contractors have begun to look outside the box in a bid to achieve zero lost time injuries.

The skills shortage is undoubt­edly one of the biggest issues affecting both minesites and con­tractors across the country.

However, as many contrac­tors are unable to match the wages offered by the big guns of mining, they are using guaran­teed safety as a way to entice the local workforce.

Bilfinger Berger Services (BBS) has recently developed and installed a Safety Information Technology System (SITS) that allows live data analysis from all of the com­pany’s business units.

SITS uses lead indicators and near miss reports to record and map safety trends, ensuring trans­parency in the way safety is man­aged and reported.

BBS’s managing director Mark Elliott said the system tracks safety performance in real time.

“The system allows us to track any safety alerts or inci­dents that may have occurred across any one of our 58 sites,” Elliott told Australian Mining.

“The tool helps us log all incidents accurately and with­ out delay.

“That information is then disseminated across the business in Australia and New Zealand.”

Once a safety incident is logged it is escalated to the appro­priate person, depending on the nature of the incident.

“When serious incidents occur, I am alerted within minutes and then I can put the wheels in motion so that the incident is resolved without drama and delay,” Elliott said.

Back to basics

The premise behind the SITS pro­gram originally stemmed from an employee’s idea to run an automated safety system that would allow the uninhibited, easy spread of information.

“A preliminary version was introduced two years ago, how­ ever, since then the concept and the system has gone ahead in leaps and bounds,” Elliott said.

The biggest issue the com­pany faced prior to the installa­tion of the system was getting the information quickly and eas­ily to the appropriate people on each of the 58 sites.

“Different sites were show­ing trends in the number and types of incidents occurring.

“They were effectively mak­ing the same mistakes as each other. This system solves that problem,” Elliott said.

“The tool ensures that other parts of the business are alerted to the various safety problems immediately, ensuring that they don’t end up with a similar inci­dent on their site.”

Several safety professionals are responsible for monitoring the site on a ongoing basis.

All the professionals are trained in the use of the system and are able to log the incident immediately and ensure that it is escalated to all the line man­agers and relevant experts.

The information is readily available to BBS’s site based man­agers, senior level managers, safety professionals and site super­visors.

“The system has resulted in more accurate and faster report­ing of incidents, particularly through mine management,” Elliott said.

“Mine managers can become directly involved in assisting and developing solutions that we, in the company, expect when a safety incident arises.”

Safety first

Elliott said the key to being a successful contractor was to have a good amount of quality local professionals and a sound safety first mentality.

“The safety of our employ­ees is of paramount importance to Bilfinger Berger Services.

“In a climate of skills short­ages, the ability to access and retain quality people is essential and to do that we need to be able to offer them something criti­cally important,” he said.

AVKO Mining’s general man­ager Steve Durkin told Australian Mining that the biggest issue in contract mining was competi­tion for human resources.

In today’s climate, mining professionals are hard to find.

“As a contractor we can’t match the wages that mining companies are willing to supply because we don’t make the same margins, but what contractors can offer is improved, increased safety,” he said.

According to Durkin, log­ging safety incidents is of crit­ical value to a contract com­pany.

“We are currently working on our safety record.

“We have a long way to go before we are completely satis­fied, but we are reporting every incident and we are getting bet­ter at doing that,” he said.

“We are also working with suppliers and using innovative equipment that improves safety and employee enjoyment.”

AVKO is diversifying into the civil construction and quar­rying markets.

And it is doing so with the aid of advanced drilling tech­nology from Atlas Copco.

As reported by Australian Mining in the August 2008 edi­tion, AVKO is using the first Atlas Copco ROC D9C Smart

Rig, with silenced mast, to start work in Australia.

The “silenced drill” enables Avko to work longer during the day in a built-up urban area than it would be able to with a con­ventional drill rig.

“More importantly, employ­ees are able to work in close proximity to the drill and still communicate effectively.”

Mark Elliott

Managing Director

Bilfinger Berger Services

02 8667 6000

Steve Durkin

General Manager

AVKO Mining

08 9021 5581

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