Tag Archives: zero harm

Murray & Roberts Cementation achieves major safety milestone

The year has started strongly for mining services specialist Murray & Roberts Cementation, with a safety achievement of five million fatality-free shifts.

According to Mike Wells, Managing Director of Murray & Roberts Cementation, this landmark has been reached as part of a concerted corporate journey towards Zero Harm.

“This exciting milestone, which we reached in early January 2021, is the result of years of commitment by every member of the company – through multiple initiatives and programs,” Wells said. “This has included our unrelenting focus on the Major Accident Prevention program, as well as stringent risk assessments and the verification of critical controls in the field.”

Perhaps the greatest outcome of these efforts, he highlighted, is that the company’s safety leadership has succeeded in motivating and inspiring all employees in fully internalising safety principles. This has entrenched the belief that Zero Harm can indeed be achieved, with each employee returning home safely every day.

“We have seen a vital attitudinal change over the years, where success has bred more success and all our people take ownership of their safe work practices – both personally and collectively,” Wells said. “This builds a resilient safety culture, which has included a crucial commitment to doing work right the first time.”

Underpinning much of the success in safe working practices has been the increased investment in effective training strategies at the Murray & Roberts Training Academy at Bentley Park near Carletonville, South Africa. Here, the latest technologies and methods – supported by realistic mock-ups of mining environments – ensure workers are fully prepared for all working conditions.

“Our mining customers today regard the commitment to fatality-free operations as a given – not only for themselves but for their service providers,” Wells said. “We are proud to be able to demonstrate our success as part of the broader progress in this field by the whole mining sector.”

Over the years during which the five million fatality-free shifts have been achieved, Murray & Roberts Cementation has conducted a diverse range of projects across sub-Saharan Africa, including large shaft sinking contracts. Employee numbers over this time have averaged about 4,000, Wells said.

Decipher to help miners align with new tailings storage facility standards

Wesfarmers-owned software-as-a-service company, Decipher, says it has extended its successful TSF cloud platform to provide a solution to simplify the process of tailings storage facility (TSF) data disclosure as well as helping companies align with the new global tailings standard.

The recent Global Standard on Tailings Management was launched on the August 5, 2020. The historic agreement includes six topic areas, 15 principles and 77 auditable requirements, which covers the entire TSF lifecycle – from site selection, design and construction, management and monitoring, through to closure and post-closure.

With an ambition of zero harm to people and the environment, the standard significantly raises the bar for the industry to achieve strong social, environmental and technical outcomes by elevating accountability to the highest organisational levels and adds new requirements for independent oversight, Decipher says.

“These recent initiatives have encouraged mining companies to respond quickly to public demand for more transparency which has highlighted the need for a software solution which can improve tailings data management, reporting, monitoring, compliance and governance,” the company said.

This is where Decipher’s technology comes into play.

Decipher Chief Executive Officer, Anthony Walker, said the resources industry is actively seeking easily implemented, cost effective and globally accessible solutions.

“The early adoption from Tier 1 miners and general interest has been phenomenal indicating that there is a real need for a TSF data disclosure solution; it excites us that our technology platform can be leveraged to support better management and monitoring of tailings storage facilities,” he said.

Topic Area VI of the new standard requires operators to support public disclosure of information about tailings facilities, and participate in global initiatives to create standardised, independent, industry-wide and publicly accessible information about facilities. For example, the recent Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative called upon 727 extractive mining companies to make public disclosures about their TSFs to form an independent global database – The Global Tailings Portal, developed by GRID-Arendal.

Due to manual processes, and often disparate and siloed datasets, mining operators have estimated it took them around six weeks per site to collate their tailings data, according to Decipher. “With many operators having well over 50 sites, this process is challenging and surfaced many inefficiencies,” it said.

After hearing these frustrations from the industry, Decipher designed a tailings database solution to help companies easily capture, manage and disclose tailings data, enabling them to meet data provision requests from industry groups such as the Investor Mining and Tailings Safety Initiative, it said.

Decipher has also been working closely with GRID-Arendal to create an API to facilitate automatic update of tailings data within the Decipher platform directly to the Global Tailings Portal.

“We believe this will significantly increase efficiency and provide a massive time savings for mining operators who choose to disclose regularly,” the company said.

Topic Area III of the standard aims to lift the performance bar for designing, constructing, operating, maintaining, monitoring, and closing facilities.

Recognising tailings facilities are dynamic engineered structures, this topic area requires the ongoing use of an updated knowledge base, consideration of alternative tailings technologies, and a comprehensive monitoring system.

“Decipher’s TSF solution is trusted by environmental, tailings, geotechnical and management teams globally to help improve monitoring, compliance, reporting, operational visibility and safety,” the company said. “The platform brings together data from laboratories, IoT devices, LiDAR, CCTV, drones, inspections and remotely-sensed platforms to serve users with up-to-date information to provide key data and insights, enabling teams to effectively monitor, govern and operate their TSFs.”

Armed with Decipher’s Tailings Database solution, Decipher says. customers can:

  • Comply and meet requests for data provision from industry groups such as COE, ICMM, UNEP, PRI, Global Tailings Review and more, with fields embedded for simple reporting and tracking;
  • Store an endless variety of tailings data in one location which is otherwise managed by a number of teams in disparate systems;
  • Operate with increased confidence knowing required data is being collected and monitored;
  • Easily visualise their operational TSF data on the map;
  • Cluster data into key areas such as safety, risk, compliance, construction, design, roles and responsibilities;
  • Assign actions and tasks for data collection with a register and audit trail of all actions and respective statuses to monitor progress, and reminder and escalation notifications;
  • View dam data across multiple sites in a single screen with the ability to easily export for reporting;
  • Facilitate automatic updates to databases and portals based on integration capabilities with third-party systems or public portals;
  • View spatial visualisation to display tailings dams in proximity to surrounding environment and communities;
  • Better align with standard such as the Global Tailings management; and
  • Access custom reports.

Exxaro’s Matla achieves safety milestone

Exxaro has marked a significant safety milestone this month, with the Plant and Central Engineering Workshops (CEWS) – work areas within the organisation’s Matla coal mine, in South Africa – achieving 730 lost-time injury (LTI) free days.

This achievement is equivalent to two years of zero mine worker LTIs, the company said.

The accomplishment forms part of Exxaro’s Khetha Ukuphepha safety campaign, which was launched in 2019 across all business units to address the risky nature of mining work, the company said. “The cornerstone of the company’s zero-harm pledge, the campaign ensures that every employee adheres to strict safety standards and procedures both at work and home,” Exxaro explained.

Earlier this year, Exxaro celebrated three years of fatality-free operations with a steady decrease in its lost-time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) over the last five years. In 2019, Exxaro maintained an overall LTIFR of 0.12, above its target of 0.11.

Exxaro’s Matla Coal Mine Acting Business Unit Manager, Musa Mabasa, said: “We remain determined to achieve Zero Harm in our operations. This includes focusing our efforts on health and safety measures that will ensure the well-being of our employees.”

Mabasa stressed the importance of building a collaborative culture where every employee, no matter their job designation, is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of their colleagues.

“When it comes to a risk-free work environment, we are all leaders, and all of us need to lead the way to safety excellence,” Mabasa said.

“I am incredibly proud of Matla’s Plant and CEWS teams for achieving yet another safety milestone. They continue to set the standard and raise the bar when it comes to safety performance.”

Matla Plant Manager, Chris Welkom, added to this congratulations, saying: “I would like to thank everyone for continuing to work safely and make safety their way of life in their various working areas. Let us continue with this attitude and determination as we aim for another year without LTI. Our next target is 1,095 LTI free days.”

Some 20 km west of Kriel in Mpumalanga, South Africa, Matla comprises three mines that produce 14 Mt/y of power station coal with a workforce of over 2,500 permanent employees and contractors. It is a fully-mechanised underground mine employing continuous mining and shortwall methods, according to Exxaro.

De Beers leads from the front with mine safety initiatives

Following De Beers Group’s recent CEO Safety Summit, the diamond miner says it is facilitating co-design sessions necessary to establish roadmaps for each operation as part of the process towards finalising a group-wide safety framework.

The CEO Safety Summit initiative, now in its third year, is part of the company’s commitment to achieve zero harm throughout its global operations. It brings together a wide range of personnel from De Beers Group’s executive committee as well as general managers, safety and sustainable development leads and safety line managers.

It takes place every year in January and August and, over the course of a week, it sees teams collaborate and discuss the requirements needed to establish a safety framework that guides the company’s day-to-day operations and ensures zero harm for every employee.

The company’s recently appointed Principal Safety Lead, Willemien Potgieter, attended the recent summit, held in August, and believes it has positioned De Beers as a leader in driving safety within the mining sector.

Potgieter is a qualified Electrical Engineer, Project Manager and Engineering Safety Manager and has worked for the metal, pulp and paper, chrome, petroleum and mining sectors, applying her knowledge of engineering into safety leadership roles, De Beers says. In her position, she is driving safety across De Beers Group’s global operations in Canada, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

De Beers Group’s August 2019 CEO Safety Summit focused closely on six focus areas – leadership and culture, critical control management/fatal risk prevention, capacity building, learning and sharing and contractor management.

These areas will be built into a framework, each with their own priorities and outputs. “Importantly, all of the initiatives and actions we outline must be measureable and put into systems to create sustainable methodologies that support the framework,” Potgieter says.

Following the growing success from five summits since launch in 2017, Potgieter will facilitate co-design sessions necessary to establish roadmaps for each operation as part of the process towards finalising a safety framework. This will reduce resistance to change, ensure a clear alignment on deliverables and help build relationships and encourage knowledge sharing, she noted.

“Fifty per cent of the co-designed session work streams will be completed by January with the intention to have all the co-designed sessions completed by the second summit held in August,” she said.

While the steps taken in building a safe business is a work in progress, Potgieter noted that the implementation of actions and initiatives are always taking place in parallel to the CEO Safety Summits.

“Improving safety is an ongoing process and an area that receives priority and attention every day,” she concluded.

Debswana looks to hit zero harm goal with Sustainability Resource Centre

Debswana Diamond Company recently launched a Sustainability Resource Centre (SRC) to, it says, apply a holistic approach to achieving its goal of zero harm across its Orapa, Letlhakane and Damtshaa mines in Botswana.

With its “Put Safety First” strategy, Debswana has been pursuing ways to improve the impact of its awareness raising and training interventions, according to Tefo Molosiwa, Head of Safety & Sustainability at Debswana.

“By using a combination of learning modes – theoretical and practical – the SRC delivers greater learning,” Molosiwa said. “For instance, while employees can learn the theory of how a bund wall must be maintained, there is now also an opportunity to practically clean spillage using the equipment provided.”

Molosiwa highlighted that the SRC facility has been designed to include the “seeing”, “doing” and “discussing” involved with the various aspects of environment, community, occupational health and safety on the mines.

The company said: “This will allow best practice to be effectively displayed and understood by employees, contractors and visitors, including the Fatal Risk Control Standards. E-learning plays an important role in the facility, with 20 workstations available for self-induction.”

Molosiwa added: “Employees gain exposure through being shown both ‘best’ and ‘bad’ practice displays as part of their induction.”

The scope of environmental management aspects of this learning process extends to energy conservation, water saving and waste management, according to Debswana. The facility itself includes solar water heating devices, for instance, with the energy-saving impact of this technology shared with all inductees to motivate adoption.

Water tanks at the SRC harvest rainwater from roof gutters, which is used for cleaning and watering gardens. The dry landscaping itself – featuring a few pockets of greenery – is also an important practical demonstration of how water can be better conserved, the company said.

The SRC also showcases facilities for effective waste management. “Animal-proof waste receptacles in the outside areas are examples of what the mining operations can adopt where appropriate. A bund wall for hydrocarbon management at the SRC demonstrates how the structure is optimally designed, developed and equipped,” Debswana said.

Debswana is one of Botswana’s largest private sector employers – with over 5,200 employees – and is jointly owned by the Botswana government and the De Beers Group of Companies. It is one of the world’s leading diamond producers by value and volume.