Mining operations pose an array of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) challenges for a mining company. Considering the volatile nature of a mining site, the risk of accidents is high, and as the site grows and the number of equipment and miners increase, EHS management becomes more difficult. It is therefore important to ensure you select the right EHS management system that suits your particular nature of operation.
This is not an easy task since the options are evolving so fast. It can be quite hard to keep up to speed with the different emerging technologies and make decisions, that suit your operation needs now and into the future.
The following are a few pointers that will help you navigate through the available opportunities and select a manage system that works for you:
Choose a management system that suits your operation
When selecting a software provider, look for a company that not only creates a software that fits your nature of operations, but also aligns with your business culture. Today there are many customer-centric, forward-thinking, and innovative companies that engage deeply with their customers through innovation labs and programs, think-tanks, hackathons, customer feedback days, and more.
According to Asif Sayed is a Senior EHS Implementation Consultant at Golder, you should look for market innovators that are consistently making strides towards new technologies. Pure technology often wins out, but it is worth to consider factors like: Will they return calls after the initial sale? How does their roadmap look? These are important factors for initial and ongoing success.
He further adds that, ongoing collaboration can have a big impact, so don’t just rely on the favourable references your provider offers. Dig deeper to find out more about how the provider interacts with its business partners and clients. This might involve reaching out to fellow professionals within your network or asking a software implementation partner. Try to speak with other clients to find out what the provider is really like to work with throughout the full lifecycle of the management system.
Choose a management system that deals with your priorities
Nowadays, EHS software options are vast and varied. Gone are the old days of ‘all-or-nothing’ or ‘best fit’ implementation approaches. Modern EHS software platforms are modular and can be easily configured to meet specific priorities. This makes it easy to quickly establish value in the solution by first deploying your highest priority needs before rolling out additional requirements incrementally. This approach reduces risk, streamlines change management, and increases user adoption.
The best starting point is to select a product based on overall capability requirements and priorities, such as health and safety (H&S), permit to work, chemical management, etc., while keeping the three-to-five-year roadmap of your business in mind.
Where possible, avoid deploying your EHS software system onsite. This can be resource-heavy and you’ll run the risk of being unable to maintain the latest version of the software. It’s preferable to choose a platform deployed to the cloud so your business can leverage newer capabilities and features sooner.
Take up out-of-the-box functionality
Using out-of-the-box functionality for most of your requirements can make the difference between quick wins or multiple extended testing cycles for custom configurations. Don’t be daunted by slightly adjusting your business processes to align with out-of-the-box functionality. Through years of testing, innovation, and experience from thousands of projects, many EHS platforms have built their systems around common scenarios and best practices. Taking advantage of this will save you time, money, and headaches. It’s a great starting point for an initial implementation and will require far less effort to support.
You will, of course, still need a platform that can be configured to suit your organisation’s specific needs. As a rule of thumb, out-of-the-box capabilities should meet approximately 70-90% of your requirements, with the remaining 10-30% being configurable to fill in the gaps. You may, for example, need to configure workflows for different scenarios in your workplace, add more fields to a form for one user type as opposed to another, produce regional reports, and so on.