Health and life insurance coverage need to be structured according to exposure to health and life risks that the workforce is exposed to.
In a high risk mining industry, health and safety are central to realising a mining business’ full potential. Even so, even companies that are proactive thinking when it comes to prioritising the health and safety of their workforce, things can go horribly wrong despite their optimal endeavours to prepare for the unexpected.
Inherent lapses always lurk – there is always a chance that an underground roof can collapse, machinery malfunctioning, putting the workforce in extreme danger in an emergency. Worse still, the additional risk of operating in remote locations is that usually medical facilities are far, which may involve travelling which may expose the workforce to security risks, resulting in injury, disability or loss of life.
Travel and security among highest risks
In discussing Workforce Risks for Mining companies, Group JLT, a multinational corporate and specialist insurance, reinsurance and employee benefits broker, cites travel and security as the sources of some of the high risks that workforce face throughout a mine cycle.
Mining projects are often situated in remote locations, presenting challenges for employees travelling to and from the mine site, which may include:
- Travel to areas frequently impacted by natural hazards may result in delays, or risks to safety
- Domestic transportation systems may be unreliable, unsafe, or subject to cancellation
- Security may be an additional concern for some territories.
The security landscape, particularly in emerging markets, can change rapidly – putting the workforce at risk. The following are some of the risks:
- Terrorism: mine sites are typically well-secured, but employee travel through urban centres can be risky
- Violent crime: crime is an issue for travellers in many emerging markets. Miners of precious metals or gemstones are at heightened risk of theft incidents which involve violent crime.
- Across the mine lifecycle there are hazardous operations that could result in injury, disability or loss of life. Even travel can be fraught with challenges due to security threats, natural hazards, or unsafe transport.
- For high risk industries, such as mining, it can therefore be difficult to secure the right level of cover for accident, medical and travel insurance programmes.
- Mining companies must be mindful of their duty of care which extends to executives visiting site, guests and customers undertaking travel under a company’s supervision, and consultants and contractors. Coverage will need to be structured to reflect these exposures.
Incurring costs inevitable
Industrial accidents vary in severity and can range from minor injury through to fatality. While mining companies will meticulously record incidents to improve safety, according to JLT, inevitably, costs are incurred in the following areas:
- Injured employees may need specialist medical attention. There can be considerable costs involved in transporting employees from remote mine sites, particularly if cross-border travel is required
- The business may need to fund rehabilitation costs, or long-term disability payments
- In the event of a fatality, the company will probably need to repatriate remains and fund death-in-service benefits.
From the abovementioned, JLT emphasises that it is important for mining companies to secure specialist life, medical and travel insurance programmes to cover the above-mentioned risks.
“Mining companies must be mindful of their duty of care which extends to executives visiting sites, guests and customers undertaking travel under a company’s supervision, and consultants and contractors. Hence, coverage needs to be structured to reflect these exposures.”