The new benchmark in safety

When it comes to building trust and transparency, identifying and implanting safety standards is paramount to any mining business.

From employees to managers across the globe, the overwhelming goal is to ensure no-one gets hurt or is placed in an unsafe situation while at work.

While Australian companies have traditionally had the capacity to implement AS/NZS and/or ISO 18001 safety benchmarks, no global health and safety standard has ever existed.

Highly anticipated and eagerly awaited, the arrival of ISO 45001 represents the first true international standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S).

Evolving from the former OHSAS 18001 standard, ISO 45001 focuses on the interaction between an organisation and its business environment, while the former was aimed at managing OH&S hazards and other internal issues.

With a goal of controlling factors which could result in illness, injury and, in extreme cases, death, ISO 45001 lessens hostile effects on the physical, mental and cognitive conditions of all persons involved in an operation.

First embarking on a path to implement a safety management system certified to ISO 45001 during the standard’s draft stages, mobile mechanical maintenance service provider Ener ow took a strong lead from the outset.

Speaking to National Mining Chronicle, Enerflow General Manager David Smith said the standard would greatly impact the operations and safety objectives of the drill and blast sector.

“It places a heavy emphasis on continual improvement, touching on many areas of operations with the aim of evolving with the business as the drill and blast industry continues to mature,” he said.

During Enerflow’s implementation of ISO 45001, the safety paperwork completed by employees before carrying out a task was adjusted.

“Previously paperwork would be pre-developed in a rigid, structured format that did not take into account developing hazards as the job was conducted, whereas now the inclusion of staff throughout the process better identifies hazards that potentially impact on them by allowing for more fluid assessment of risks,” Mr Smith said.

“The new standard requires companies to not only assess and consider their own internal risks, but to look wider and place emphasis on risks to all related stakeholders; that includes end users, contractors and suppliers.”

Enerflow has altered its reporting measures to compare its total recordable incident rates against the industry benchmark of lost-time injuries alone, exceeding 550 medical treatment and injury-free days. This was achieved over the past year while its workforce doubled in size.

“An example that was touched on during Enerflow’s implementation of the standard, and that would not likely have been captured under the old standard, is the transportation of goods and how the potential hazards could affect external parties such as the transporting contractor,” Mr Smith said.

“The new standard extends not just to employees, but to all stakeholders, and provides an avenue and obligation to proactively identify potential hazards with the aim of eliminating all risks and harm to interested parties.”

Image: (L-R): Health and Safety Advisor Jason Collins, Director Craig Johnston (all from Enerflow), Bureau Veritas National Key Account & Business Development Manager Phil Vale, with Enerflow’s Director Gareth Moody, General Manager David Smith, Workshop Supervisor Shaun Lyell and Product Support Manager Josh Staveley.

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