Among the many challenges facing the South African mining industry, such as strikes, skills retention and load-shedding, the challenge of employing and managing contractors seems to be significant, says contractor compliance management solutions company ComplyWorks MD Nicolai Massyn.
He notes that lower operational and labour costs will always be among the primary reasons for mining companies’ outsourcing the services that are not permanently required, or core to the organisation, such as shaft sinking and security. Therefore, the outsourcing industry has an important role to play in the current and future South African mining industry.
However, Massyn tells Mining Weekly that contractors’ corporate governance requirements are not always in place. “There is a gap between the administrative, information and operational competence required by law and employer organisations and that offered by contractors. Often the disconnect relates to the challenges that the employer organisation faces when accessing the information that sits in the domain of the contractor that is not easily accessible.”
He adds that the revised Broad- Based Black Economic-Empower-ment codes, Mining Charter requirements and the Social and Labour Plans are forcing mines to make more use of local emerging contractors. These emerging contractors often lack experience in compliance, corporate governance and management systems – making it difficult for them to participate in the formal economy and employment opportunities offered by mines.
Massyn points out that ComplyWorks provides emerging contractors with an industry- accepted compliance and process management system, thereby, simultaneously improving their internal corporate governance and also providing the mines and the formal economy with a pool of adequately prepared contractors.
ComplyWorks provides a Web-based contractor compliance management solution for companies, their contractors and suppliers. The system benefits both employer organisations and contractors in that it reduces the time and cost for onboarding contractors and improves data quality. The management of contractors from prequalification and vetting to payment is streamlined and more efficient as it enables contractors and suppliers to upload information and docu- ments that match and measure the requirements of companies, says Massyn.
He says the contractor’s corporate compliance and assets such as equipment and personnel, and all administrative requirements such as risk assessments and appointments are collected per job or site. Information can also be sourced from other systems that an employer organisation uses such as medical records and security clearances and linked to a person’s access card or biometric access such as a finger print, thereby ensuring that the contractor employee only comes on site if all possible legal and organisational requirements in the compliance chain have been met.
“This proactive contractor management system also ensures a shared legal responsibility between companies and contractors. The system allows for automated alerts when any time-sensitive information expires, alerting the company, the contractor and the ComplyWorks customer support team who can then engage with the contractor and assist,” says Massyn.
He adds that mining companies can also search the ComplyWorks database for qualified contractors in specific geographic areas and defined services, making it easier to access compliant or emerging contractors.
He concludes that major benefits of the system are the reduction in time and costs associated with collecting data from contractors, a corresponding improvement in data quality and largely reduced risks associated with contractor management.