CAPE TOWN (miningweekly.com) – A recent survey has revealed that company executives are not adequately identifying and preparing for risks that could have potentially catastrophic implications on business operations, employees and society.
The 2018 Global Operations Risk Survey of Corporate Leaders, was raised during a panel discussion with leading mining executives at the Investing in African Mining Indaba, in Cape Town, this week.
The survey, conducted by Du Pont Sustainable Solutions (DSS), is based on interviews with executives from more than 350 companies, with 50% representing high hazard industries, such as mining and metals.
“We found that executives are not putting sufficient emphasis on high potential risks that can lead to large-scale incidents. At the same time, onerous risk management processes are failing to identity risks effectively,” said DSS Turkey, Middle East and Africa regional director Johan van der Westhuyzen.
He said the survey indicated a growing disconnect between executives and personnel at the front line.
The survey identified several areas where executives are falling short.
While 78% of executives agree low incident rates do not correlate to reduced risk, two-thirds of them acknowledge feeling satisfied when they see data indicating incident rates as zero to low. Executives seem to be allowing low incident rates to provide a false sense of security and are ignoring other indicators of potential significant events.
The survey showed that executives address gaps in risk management processes by adding more processes. It cautioned that a lack of integration in processes could lead to failures in assets and safety processes and increase injuries or catastrophic events.
According to the Minerals Council South Africa, there were 82 mine fatalities in 2014, and 77 in 2015 within the formal South African mining sector. Seventy-three deaths were recorded in 2016 and 86 in 2017. The latest recorded figures show that at the end of October 2018 a further 71 fatalities were reported.
“Although mining fatalities showed an encouraging decline between 2007 and 2016, the recent upward trend is disturbing and a source of concern for the industry, mine operators, government, unions, employees and our broader society,” said DSS.