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.”
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.”
Bilfinger Berger Services
02 8667 6000
08 9021 5581