Ensuring the overall health and safety of our employees is of paramount importance. To take from the Mine Health & Safety Act of 1996, the Act “intends to provide for protection of the health and safety of employees and other persons at mines” and ensure that provision is made for the promotion of a safety culture, enforcement, training, and continuous monitoring thereof. The principles of which are entrenched in the daily operation of every mine throughout the various job tasks and functions. Although we can only impact on the factors within our control and which are on site or visible, there is much more we can do outside of that which makes a tremendous impact on every single person visiting or employed at a mine site. On site controls are merely one mechanism for ensuring the overall health, safety, and wellbeing of our staff and visitors. What happens outside of that is not monitored or controlled as effectively or, in some cases, is even neglected to the point where responsibility is absolved.
Have you ever stopped and thought about the risks faced by each mine employee or visitor in getting to site? Does safety stop at the entrance or exit? Or does safety start at home? The Mine Health and Safety Act tells us that the promotion of a health and safety culture is of absolute importance and the driving force behind ensuring sustainable results. We neglect the often mundane and unspoken routine task of driving a vehicle to and from work or site. It is outside, on the road where significant risks occur within sufficient or zero controls.
A Driver Safety Programme is not common practice but impacts the decisions a driver takes on the road, not only affecting them directly but also impacting the lives of those around them either positively or negatively. Many mine staff travel to and from site through either public transport, contracted passenger transport providers or private vehicles. The risk outcome varies dependent on the mode of transport.
Why would we not want to ensure that the driver of a bus transporting 60 employees to and from work every day follows the same health and safety controls implemented on site? The impact of his or her decisions affects not only themselves and the general road using public, but most importantly the lives they have been entrusted to transport, and all these road users at once.
Let us work together to ensure drivers, employees and visitors get home safely, not just today but every single day.