The mining industry operated with many risks, but it always needs some scope for improvement in various departments such as operations, safety hazards, and standardization of equipment. Even though the mining industry continually adapts to technological advancements and gets in sync with safety policies, why do we keep witnessing the same errors repeatedly? Can it be due to a lack of effective business culture in place?
It’s quite apparent that the mining industry is a high-risk, high-reliability industry that performs under a high-pressure situation. These situations can be defined when there is personnel operating dangerous equipment and maneuvering in a hazardous environment.
The high reliability comes from using such equipment that can be fatal. The focus always remains on cutting down on the number of deadly accidents that occur and bring the number down to zero. So, how do you go about it?
- Coaching culture:
Changing the company culture in the mining industry would be essential. But it’s not a process that can be completed overnight. For a while, the mining industry has done remarkably well to reduce LTI, Lost Time Incident rates, or even TRIR, Total Reportable Incident Rates. But unless there’s something done within the culture, the rates aren’t going to decrease.
Surveys have shown that constant coaching is required to feel familiar with their work for employees who put themselves in high-risk operations consistently. Studies also showed that there’s bare-minimum coaching of two weeks as are necessary for such employees.
Even though employee orientation is done once in a year and a work refresher training course, employees need daily coaching. For certain rules and regulations to be implemented, the employees need to be coached daily with the right training imparted.
- Astute leadership:
To enforce a suggestion like daily coaching, the industry leaders need to be circumspect and pro-active rather than reactive. Since the mining industry historically has seen a high number of fatalities traditionally, these numbers can be overturned if you have leaders pulling strings to enforce such tough cultural changes.
It’s usually the top management of the organization that defines the vision and mission statement. Therefore, it’s their responsibility to ensure that their employees are imparted with their technical know-how daily. It’s also essential to allow people to make errors but not repeat it. It’s the to-and-fro communication between the top management and their miners that will bring about a workplace culture change.
- Strong values:
There needs to be a set of defined values that will help develop high performance, accountability, respect, and safety. Such values can be instilled in miners through periodic workshops, focusing on reflecting what the organizations’ values stand for. Workshops, for example, concentrates on the new bus stop for miners, language knowledge to allow communication between staff members, and such measures will help develop a better understanding between the superiors and miners. In conclusion, for workers, a culture that has the current values, technical know-how and a dedicated team of members who’re willing to take what it takes for safety, will ensure that they work in a high-pressure job with minimal pressure and high accountability.