Despite the solid performance of surface mines under the banner of ASPASA in its annual health and safety audits, the industry association is pushing for further reforms to ensure still safer mines in the year ahead.
The association’s members have not recorded a fatality in five years due partially to the effectiveness of its compliance audits which highlight any potential shortcomings and risks. The association also raises awareness through constant communication and information sharing, both internally and via the media, to ensure problematic areas are addressed timeously.
ASPASA director, Nico Pienaar, says that every year the audits uncover a wealth of information relating to risks and non-compliances. This is immediately addressed with the mine’s management, as well as being recorded for analysis and where necessary communicated with other members.
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Last year’s audits reveal some of the areas where improvements are required:
- Many mines are still experiencing problems setting up an ISO 45001:2018 H&S Management System.
- Day-today identification of risks needs to be improved with internal inspections and identification of deviations from the system.
- Better efforts need to be made to complete occupational hygiene survey reports including better follow ups on over exposures.
- Some mines still need to develop and implement traffic management plans.
- Failure to comply with the trackless mobile machines (TMM) pre-start checklist hazard classification. TMM’s operating with A-Class “No-Go” findings.
- There are still reports of poor housekeeping in plants that may contribute to dust exposure and access to running machinery.
- Poor compliance to isolation and lockout requirements.
- Deviations on proper machine guarding.
- Poor accident / incident investigation.
- PTO’s – Planned Task Observations. Closing the loop of incidents and accidents.
- Fatigue management and implementation of site-specific fatigue program.
- Compliance to WIM, HIV and TB, dispensing of condoms, etc.
- Near miss reporting and recording of Sec 23 refusals.
- Too many lost time injuries and high potential incidents.
As a result, ASPASA will be providing information and assistance to its members to address these potential problem areas on members mines. “We advise that other non-ASPASA members also take heed of our finding and also begin to close the loop on health and safety issues that may affect their own operations,” says Piennar.