The regulation of health and safety Standards in the mining industry has again come under scrutiny. With an alarming 17 deaths having occurred on Australian mine sites last financial year , information managers are under pressure to ensure Standards are well enforced across sites so that any chances of illness, injury and accidents are mitigated through the remainder of 2014 and beyond.
Prevention is the best cure
Managing and promoting a safe working culture is not only crucial for compliance but also to the success of a mining site. The costs associated with compensation claims for injury to workers, as well as potential extended periods of downtime incurred can be debilitating to a project.
While mining is an inherently dangerous industry, with no margin for error, the majority of accidents that occur on site are preventable. The amount of regulations within the industry is indicative of this danger, with many Work Health and Safety (WHS) Standards often called up in law to try and provide the information necessary for compliance.
So with these Standards in place, why are workplace accidents and injury still so prevalent?
Access and awareness of these Standards is crucial to compliance, and unfortunately there are a number of factors which keep workers from having sufficient knowledge of their safety requirements, and the requirements of others.
As the Standards that exist for mining are ‘living documents’ – constantly evolving to keep up with ever-changing workplace practices and technologies – managing and keeping up to date with current editions of Standards can be an extremely arduous task.
Even once the necessary Standards have been established, providing all employees with access is another difficult undertaking. With most companies having staff at multiple locations, be it offices in major cities, remote mining sites, or even overseas, the logistics of extending access across the business can turn in to a nightmarish operation.
Effective information management is key
Implementing a safe working culture should be built upon a system that allows current information to be shared across all staff, in all locations. SAI Global offers a service to help with this.
The Standards Online service makes it easier for companies to manage their compliance obligations, always providing users with access to the most current editions of Standards. As an online service, staff have 24 hour access from any PC or mobile device, which means they can access Standards when and where they need to, making it an effective way of ensuring they have the tools necessary for maintaining safe work practices.