An optimised employee roster increases a mining operation’s productivity, reduces labour costs, satisfies employee and union needs, meets regulatory requirements and ensures a healthy workforce, says customised roster solutions provider Shiftwork Solutions Africa manager Andrew Harding.
Harding adds that the company, which has been in business for more than 20 years, uses a detailed analysis of the mine’s workplace, payment and rostering practices to design a suitable roster for the operation.
“Each mining operation is different and we create optimal rosters ... for clients’ site-specific conditions and operations.”
Shiftwork Solutions’ analysis often reveals ineffective rostering, which leads to employee overheads that effectively double an employee’s hourly cost to the company, Harding adds.
He notes that the company has developed specialist capabilities to evaluate the performance of clients’ current rostering practices from the perspective of the business, employees, and health and safety.
Harding notes that effective rosters also help mines prevent a situation where they are required to pay more benefits than had initially been agreed on by eliminating periods during the work day when employees are unable to work productively.
“Managers often have the perception that overtime is costly; however, our analyses show that overtime can be competitive with normal time costs. What is costly, however, is paying employees when they are not working.”
He says Shiftwork Solutions also helps mines uncover inaccuracies when work and pay rules are translated or interpreted for shift workers. Common mistakes that mines make include using the wrong shift premium for Sundays, paying a shift worker whose name is not on the roster for work on a scheduled public holiday, providing the same number of days off for yearly leave when moving to a 12-hour shift roster and applying the night-shift allowance to overtime rates.
“These seemingly insignificant differences of interpretation have a huge impact on a mine’s bottom line when multiplied by the hundreds of employees over many years.”
Further, Harding says that, to promote the health and safety of shift workers, Shiftwork Solutions uses its knowledge in sleep research and fatigue management to identify and reduce fatigue-related risks in the workplace.
“Our optimised rosters have. . . provided positive spin-offs for productivity, efficiency and the wellbeing of staff, and the impact of these improvements on a mine’s bottom line is impressive,” he concludes.