Mining companies launch International Mining Safety Hub to help reduce fatalities

15th September 2021 By: Creamer Media Reporter

Mining companies launch International Mining Safety Hub to help reduce fatalities

Various large mining companies have joined hands to launch the International Mining Safety (IMS) Hub – an online hub of industry-endorsed visual safety tools that allow for greater learning opportunities and improved safety for all levels of employees.

"This is a collaboration by industry, for the industry. For too long have I witnessed the industry working in silos, individually investing substantial effort and resources in essentially just duplicating work already developed by their peers. The IMS Hub will change that," says co-founder Stephen Eichstadt.

The founding partners of the IMS Hub are Anglo American, AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Impala Platinum, Sibanye-Stillwater, Teck Resources and the Minerals Council South Africa and the hub is powered by global visual health and safety communication specialist agency Jincom.

Each founding partner contributes two suites of materials around key fatal or catastrophic risks at their operations. Once transformed into simplified visual tools, these tools are shared on the hub for the use and adaptation of all other partners. 

The spirit of the IMS Hub is shared value aimed at making the mining industry safer, and partners only need to contribute information in order to participate.

The founding partners are encouraging other mining operations to join in and contribute valuable knowledge on the fatal hazard themes they would specialise in based on their operation.

AngloGold group safety VP George Coetzee emphasises the need for the hub to develop the industry further. “Some companies have progressed further in their safety journeys and bring maturity and learning from those journeys. This allows those companies, still in the early stages of the journey, to tap into the lessons learnt and wealth of knowledge gained. Ultimately, we will all gain from this in our ultimate goal of working places free from injury and harm.”

“We are proud to be a founding partner, as we believe in leveraging the excellent work of member organisations. This is a mining-led initiative that adopts the International Council of Mining and Metals' Critical Control methodology and is based on broad experience and learnings from incidents.

"We believe the hub will greatly assist all of us involved in mining to achieve the goal of zero fatalities and ultimately zero harm,” adds Anglo operational risk management lead Mark Robins.

Minerals Council safety and behaviour principal specialist Leigh McMaster says the value derived from this unique industry collaboration will undoubtedly add value to individual companies and the collective industry.

“The IMS Hub goes the extra mile by portraying the themes and standards as easy-to-understand visuals.

"Having simple visual information on hand goes a long way in ensuring all employees on the ground know how to keep themselves safe,” notes Harmony acting safety and technology executive Pieter Bezuidenhout.

The founding partners say the IMS Hub provides best-in-class tools that are aligned to evolving legislative requirements.

"It creates a space of learning where the mining industry is challenged to do better and work together to achieve zero harm. The hub is user-friendly and secure and the number of partners is limitless," they state.

Highly visual operator-focused safety standards are taken from complex technical documents and transformed into technically-accurate illustrations and infographics which improve understanding, help workers to retain information better and break through language and literacy barriers.

Critical controls state the preventive and mitigative controls most critical to saving lives and include the associated risk bowties in only a couple of pages.

Control checklists target all levels of an organisation with specifically illustrated checklists for managers, supervisors and operators to review each critical control, perform tasks safely and manage all risks involved. These can be downloaded as text files to be used in mobile device auditing applications.

Toolbox talks for supervisors reinforces critical controls and provides a visual toolbox facilitating two-way engagement with workers.

Learning from incidents (LFI) includes lesson learned summary incident reports with three-dimensional animations that focus on the causes and learnings of incidents, as well as review the effectiveness of the relevant controls.

Virtual reality content will be an exciting addition to the IMS Hub further down the line, as will e-learning courses created from repurposed content.

The founding partners have played a significant role in developing the content for the initial launch which includes fatal hazard themes relating to fall of ground, light and heavy vehicle interaction, underground fires, cranes and lifting and member LFI submissions.