Modern Quarrying

As this is the first issue of the year, Modern Quarrying would like to reiterate the importance of joining an association like Aspasa, and to underline the advantages, which include:

· Industry member’s supportNico Pienaar

· Information forums and regulatory issues including education facilitation

· Lobbying powers

· Expertise development and support to members in their business

· Improved industry standing

· Excellence in ethical conduct

· Advice and representation in ethical and legal conduct

· Advice and representation in health, safety, labour relations, transport and all other relevant legislation

Seen here: Aspasa director Nico Pienaar.

For any surface mining operation, the question of whether or not to join an association is an important one. However, Aspasa is truly representative of the surface mining industry. According to Aspasa director Nico Pienaar, while joining a long-standing, reputable association gives you the benefit of its name behind yours, “it’s also about the services offered as a membership. Once has to ask the question, is your membership worth the fee?

“As a surface mining operation, you want to get on with the job; but you also have to keep up with new legislation and regulations,” he says. “You need to ensure that your health and safety practices are top notch and within the legal requirements, and you need to ensure that you do everything that is required to maintain a financially secure business. The environment, skills development and quality are important issues for any surface mine.”

Discussing the benefits further, Pienaar says that as an Aspasa member, you become part of the mainstream industry, which means you can be actively involved in shaping the industry legislation. “Your voice alone may not be heard, but a collective voice is able to influence legislation.”

Members are held to a code of conduct and ethics, good workmanship and compliance to legislation, all of which gives customers peace of mind.

As a member, access is available to the following services:

· legal compliance

· international and local liaison

· government liaison

· training and skills development

· transport

· technical

· other

Membership ensures that your voice is heart at local, regional and national level. “No individual business should allow itself to be left out,” Pienaar says.

Members also benefit from the powerful synergy Aspasa has with strong government committees. The Association is an information-gathering and lobbying network, which provides its members with relevant, up-to-the-minute information and advice enabling them to act on whatever threat or opportunity may arise.

Looking at safety, Pienaar says an inclusive approach to tackling safety within the surface mining industry can dramatically improve safety and limit the amount of accidents on mines. “By fostering a caring attitude, training and behaving proactively to avoid dangerous situations companies can change the culture on their mines to be completely safety orientated.

“In addition to legal compliance and the Association’s own safety requirements, we are also encouraging members to be proactive and use information from the industry, as well as their own experience to build programmes that enhance safety.”

He lists seven keys towards developing a culture-based safety programme:

· Governance: Policies relating to all aspects of mining operation safety need to be designed and implemented across the board. These need to be communicated to all stakeholders and need to be policed in order to ensure they are adhered to.

· Risk management: No programme can be successful unless all the risks on an individual mine have been assessed and procedures put in place to mitigate these risks. A good risk management system should be the cornerstone of any safety programme.

· Compliance: Fortunately, the laws of the country, as well as common-sense common law provides the minimum foundation for any safety programme to be built upon. Compliance to these means that the main risks are covered and that the programme can delve further into creating a safety culture.

· Culture intervention: All too often mine culture is based on a ‘macho’ or get-the-job-done at all costs culture. This needs to be changed to adopt a more caring approach with constant reinforcement of safety messages.

· Training: One of the best ways to invest in employees is to offer ongoing training that includes training on workplace safety. Research reveals that the cost of additional training is outweighed by the benefits and proves that it is better to be safe rather than sorry.

· Implementation targets: From top to bottom an organisation needs to be committed towards implementing a robust safety system that they are confident will work for them. An implementation schedule that takes into account the complexity of the operation should be developed and adhered to.

· Long-term success: It is important to remember that maintaining a safety culture is a marathon and not a sprint. It involves a shift in thinking and behaviour, which takes time to reinforce. Where failings do occur, it is also important to analyse these and implement new plans to improve safety.

“A programme such as this should be done in addition to all legal and statutory requirements and have the main purpose of changing the culture of everyone on each individual mine. It is not a replacement for these requirements, but rather an additional supplement that further improves safety on our mines,” Pienaar says.

As an industry association representing Southern Africa’s quarries, Aspasa has gained the recognition of local and international stakeholders in the surface mining industry and become a world leader in the proactive guidance and management of issues facing this sector of the industry.

Its efforts have led to other types of surface mining operations also seeking inclusion to its ranks and recently resulted in the association opening its membership to a more diverse range of mining types which have not ordinarily been represented on government and mining industry structures.

Contact Modern Quarrying

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Phone: (011) 622-4770

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Bennie Venter
Phone: (011) 622-4770
Fax: (011) 615-6108