Mining Publication: Customizing Mining Practices Within Health and Safety Management Systems
Original creation date: July 2020
A health and safety management system (HSMS) is one of the most effective ways to proactively reduce workplace hazards and minimize the risk of injury or illness occurring on the job. As part of an HSMS process, mining companies are challenged to identify, assess and control risks in the workplace. Although trainings, audits, and individual knowledge and motivation aid in risk identification and mitigation processes, the safety climate, or perceived priority an organization places on safety, can impact worker and work crew awareness, attitudes, and decision making. To put it another way, even the best program can be fallible if a negative safety climate exists.
Specific to mining, the 2013 National Research Council (NRC) report argued that, when it comes to an effective HSMS, considering company safety climate is critical to adequately predict and prevent incidents. That is, if the safety climate improves, an effective execution of an HSMS is more likely. To that end, it is important to understand ways in which mine companies can assess and improve their safety climate.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) sought to better understand mine employee experiences at their respective operations by way of a safety climate survey that was disseminated between February 2016 and March 2018. The purpose, beyond assessing employee perceptions of safety climate, was to identify safety climate indicators that have a significant impact on employee proactivity and compliance to help tailor and implement an HSMS that can reduce and mitigate risks.
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