Cement Americas

WIN 2019

Cement Americas provides comprehensive coverage of the North and South American cement markets from raw material extraction to delivery and tranportation to end user.

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28 CEMENT AMERICAS • Winter 2019 • www.cementamericas.com FEATURE T he phrase "Zero Harm" is a widely used strapline throughout the mining industry as we try to combat having reached, statistically at least, a safety plateau. Inter- nationally the number of injuries recorded decreased from 3,138 in 2015 to 2,662 in 2016, but this rate has slowed com- pared to previous years. The major causes of fatalities were still fall-of-ground inci- dents at 33 percent; slip and fall, falls from heights, and fires together accounted for 21 percent; and transport factors accounted for 14 percent. Global Mine Design Ltd. is working to positively change the approach to mine design. Its approach, of using integrated monitoring networks to reinforce safe working conditions and provide input for ongoing data-driven mine planning decisions, is based on experience the company has gained from years of monitoring excavation response in challenging active ground conditions. Global Mine Design's expertise is used to help mine sites design ground support systems and create safe work protocols. When talking about Health and Safety in general it would be fair to shine the spotlight on South Africa, where the lega- cy from earlier attitudes to worker safety still resonates in the drive to continually improve safe mining conditions. The South African Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) shows fatalities falling from 112 in 2012 to 93 in 2013, 84 in 2014 and 77 in 2015; 73 deaths were recorded in 2016. Warren Beech, head of mining at Hogan Lovells in Johannes- burg, South Africa, explained in a recent interview his belief that two major factors are behind poor health and safety performance in South Africa's mining industry: "The primary issue is behavior – the attitude and approach to health and safety at mining operations. The key to addressing behaviour is internalising a sense of safety. Health and safety at mines needs to go beyond implementation on site only, and needs to be embedded as common practice by all mine staff [regardless of whether they are at home or at work]. For example, vehicle speed limits, although mostly adhered to at mine sites, are quickly disregarded as soon as personnel leave the site, as enforcement is drastically reduced and the threat of being caught is less probable. "The second issue is the general instability in the mining sec- tor, which affects the morale of mine management and staff, including political insecurity nationally and job insecurity as well as general commercial insecurity in the mining indus- try, with depressed commodity prices and variable demand from the once thriving primary markets … The mines went through major restructuring as a result of the international commodities downturn … in terms of demand and prices. Restructuring impacts on work teams, including supervision, the sense of camaraderie and smooth workflow." Going Global I believe we can see elements of these issues throughout the global mining industry. In the UK, for example, the Health and Safety Executive published revised Mines Regulations in 2014 with emphasis on producing a single, modern set of regulations that are focussed on the control of risks from major hazards in mines. This is a timely update of the regulations, with the recent opening of Wolf Minerals' Drakelands Mine and several other mining prospects in the UK, such as Strongbow Exploration's work to re-open the South Crofty tin mine in Cornwall, and Galantas Gold Corp.'s expansion of the Cavanacaw Mine in Northern Ireland. In Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Labour published a Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review in March 2015 that focused on continuous improvement of occupational health and safety needs in the mining sector. So, while great inroads are being made in terms of legislation and policy making, there is a long journey between legisla- tion and "boots on the ground" worker safety. Global Mine Design always has an eye for the practical application of safe, economic and productive mine design, and part of that comes from seeing the implementation of safety practices across multiple mining jurisdictions around the world. Take a moment to examine the journey that stands behind typical health & safety policies on mine sites. The Drive to Safe Conditions Without a doubt mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in Focus on Health and Safety Use Integrated Monitoring Networks to Reinforce Safe Working Conditions and Provide Input for Ongoing Data-Driven Mine Planning Decisions. By Phil Earl

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