Aspasa launches online explosives audit, encourages members to register qualified engineers

3rd May 2021 By: Simone Liedtke - Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer

Surface mining industry association the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa) has launched an innovative and nonintrusive online explosives audit in its ongoing attempts to increase the safety and effectiveness of blasting operations at mines.

Over the past three years, it has become apparent that compliance on operations procedures is acceptable; however, the legal and technical aspects of the risk assessments, procedures and Chief Inspector of Explosives (CIE) System information is not always accurate nor correct, the association says.

According to Aspasa explosives specialist and auditor Corrie Rautenbach, any shortcomings on those areas may expose the operation in the event of an explosives accident or incident occurring. The introduction of online audits reduces the time taken to undertake the audits and reduces physical contact amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

He explains that Aspasa can assist operations to audit, review and update these administrative requirements, including a review of CIE system information, the review of operational procedures, conduct a Microsoft Teams-hosted feedback session with the operation, as well as conduct an audit report which will cover the CIE system update, comments and recommendations regarding the risk assessment and procedure, online.

The cost of the audits have been massively discounted to ensure the best possible uptake and to ensure mines still enjoy full compliance during Covid-19 restrictions, he adds.

Meanwhile, Aspasa has also put out an urgent call to its members to sign-up recently qualified engineers with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA) to ensure the industry is able to identify the young leaders of the future.

Aspasa director Nico Pienaar says the association wants to contribute, educate and train young engineers through its Young Professional Association Drive.

“ECSA is the only recognised engineering regulatory body in South Africa and its drive to register engineers dovetails perfectly with the association's objectives.”

He explains that the organisation “wants to treat this with urgency by connecting young professionals and ECSA in order to ensure their development with access to training and information to further their careers”.

The association is registering with ECSA and other professional bodies in other disciplines to further the professionalism of the industry.

“Engineers in our member companies should let us have the names, registration number and contact details of individuals wishing to sign-up. ECSA, in partnership with government and academic institutions, seek to promote a high level of education and training of engineering practitioners to facilitate full recognition of professionalism in engineering, both locally and abroad,” Pienaar further advises.

He notes that the acknowledgement by other professions gives a spectrum of stakeholders a measure of protection and peace of mind in the persons’ training and engineering abilities.

Registration with ECSA is paramount, he emphasises, noting that one of the main benefits being peer recognition, which assures the public that an engineer's competence has been assessed by other professionals, who are knowledgeable in their fields of expertise.

“This kind of recognition is important as it demonstrates that the individual has met numerous criteria to become a certified engineer and shows a level of commitment to the council’s own objectives,” says Pienaar.

He further notes that the contribution that these young engineers can bring is “incredible”, adding that Aspasa wants to ensure “that they keep learning and develop within the industry to become great leaders of tomorrow”.