Case Studies

Case Study 3 – Job Descriptions

Recently we were contacted by the Mine Manager of a large mining operation who had worked previously under the KIS Safety System at another company. He asked us to document all the tasks carried out within their operations. This assignment was to be carried out in two tiers:

1) The tasks carried out by the mining personnel who had been trained ‘on the job’, and
2) The tasks carried out by the Technical Support personnel who for the most part were employed in a professional capacity. These personnel held university and tertiary qualifications e.g. Mining Engineers, Geologists, Surveyors, Maintenance Personnel, Administration Staff etc.

The two areas were approached in different ways. The non-technical mining personnel documented all the tasks they carried out. JSAs were then written in the context that should there be no Training Manual for any of the tasks listed, then the JSA would contain the information needed to train the individual. For example: the process stepped out in detail what to do, when to do it and how. From these JSAs Safe Work Procedures, Observations and Competency Assessments were generated. This now allowed for areas such as ‘Extending Services’, ‘Watering Down’ etc. to be trained, tested and the worker to be deemed competent upon successful completion of this structured training. Where a national training accreditation was in place e.g. Drill Rig Operation, the documentation produced in the KIS System complimented this existing training structure.

In the second part, we faced the issue that the technical support provided at the mine had already been subjected to rigorous training and accreditation in the individual’s chosen fields of expertise. We didn’t want to train an Engineer how to ‘technically’ do their job as this was why they’d been to university. The same applied to the Geologist, Surveyor, Fitter, Electrician etc. We determined that what was required for the people in these positions was the information on how their various tasks were to be carried out safely in THIS mine’s operations. We drew on the KIS Safety Program’s hyperlink features that facilitated quick access to the drawings, databases, files or folders contained in the mine site’s intranet/server. In this way we could put all the information required for the new employee at their fingertips and move away from ‘memory’ or ‘Chinese whispers’ training.

With both groups, a hard copy was made of the entire task’s procedures generated from within the KIS program for every position on site and placed in a ‘Position Folder’. This formed a major part of every individual’s Job Description.


Case Study 2 – Change to Owner Operator

In February 2011 the decision was made by the Board of an underground mining operation in Western Australia to move from employing contracted staff at their site to only employ in-house staff. Their reasoning behind this move was due to a rising trend in their work-related injuries and equipment damage incidents. At this time they had staff from two different contractors as well as their own. They had a total of 77 employees, 54 of which were contractors working for the company and 23 direct employees. They rehired these contracted workers as in-house staff, took the whole workforce through Hazard Identification and Hazard Management training, moved over to the KIS Safety System and enlisted Geoff Bahn to conduct one-on-one intensive mentoring of the Shift Supervisors.

This intensive holistic change process made a considerable improvement in the incident numbers as can be seen in Figure 1. The reported incidents are displayed from July 2010 to September 2011. The incidents are divided into 8 categories: Lost Time Injury, Near Miss, Modified Work Injury, Medically Treated Injury, First Aid Injury, Environmental Damage, Non Compliance (not performing task according to procedures) and Equipment Damage. It should be noted that there had been no fatalities at this mine site during this period. There was one lost time injury in March 2011 and another in July; prior to these two incidents the mine had been lost time injury free for almost two years. The figure shows that February 2011 recorded the highest number of equipment damage that by April 2011 when the Hazard Identification training occurred had reduced by 50%, but were back to the high level by August 2011. However August saw the introduction of new machinery and the employment of 25% new personnel who hadn’t undergone the Hazard Identification or Managing Hazards training.

Figure 1 also shows that First Aid injury incidents remained fairly constant between March and July 2011 but gradually reducing from July 2011. Near misses decreased from February with none reported in May, June, August and September 2011. All other incident categories reported remained infrequent and at constant low numbers.

Of the 80 reported incidents since April 2011, 35 were attributed to new personnel that hadn’t undergone the Hazard Identification and Management of Hazards training. Prior to the safety culture change process the incident statistics were generally trending upwards. From April 2011 this trend reversed suggesting the training, mentoring and use of the KIS Safety System had a positive effect on the safety culture.


Figure 1: Reported Incidents July 2010 to September 2011

Reported Incidents

Case Study 1 – Pilot Site

In 2003 KIS Safety was asked to implement their system into a medium sized gold mine. The mine owner had decided to replace the contracted labour force and manage the mine’s production ‘in-house’. When the contractor left they took their company’s Safety Management System (SMS) with them so the new system was built from ‘scratch’. The previous SMS on this site was highly labour intensive with the workload falling on the Safety Officer.

All the mine’s operators were involved in the putting together of the new safety system. This involved meetings at the start of each shift informing the people of what was happening and why. The operators were asked to identify the jobs and tasks they carried out and to indicate the hazards encountered. These hazards included safety, financial and environmental or a combination of the three. We used the Chamber of Minerals & Energy Operator Ticketing Documentation as a guide and drew on the knowledge and skills of the experienced operators employed in the mine and involved the people new to the industry to review and follow the Job Hazard Analysis’s (JHAs) produced to ensure that what was being stated was clearly understood, gave achievable outcomes and standards and that there was a logical flow to the process.

In carrying out the above it highlighted areas where further training was required as some controls to eliminate or minimise the hazards were crossed out in the review process as not seen as necessary by some. When this occurred these areas were raised for further discussion between the operators and across all shifts as to why they were required. Some areas of concern that were raised were identified for engineering out of the process and the rest were debated until consensus was achieved. This method standardised practices across the shifts and greatly assisted in giving ownership of the tasks to the operators. It is also of interest to note that although the system had not been implemented at this point that the process of analysis by the operators was already starting to show results in the reduction of Lost Time Injuries (LTI’s) and Medically Treated Injuries (MTIs) in the workplace. The tasks being carried out were now being approached from a different mental aspect and being checked against the JHA’s for validity and areas for improvement.

From the in-depth analysis of the tasks carried out Safe Work Procedures (SWPs – also known as Safe Work Instructions, Method Work Statements, etc) were produced for sign off. Task Observations, a Task Observation Schedule, Competency Assessments and various analytical reports were produced at the touch of a button.

The resulting system placed the management of risk with the front line management team and the operators (the task process owners). This greatly freed up the time of the safety professional on site to be pro-active in other areas requiring his attention. The annual testing of operators tickets by the Safety Officer to verify ongoing skills and competency in the various tasks being carried out has been removed with shorter, critical assessments being carried out on a more frequent basis by the middle management team.

The time spent administering the KIS Safety System by the site’s Safety Officer is between 8 to 10 hours per month. A testimonial as to the benefits and the accuracy of the above is available by clicking on the following link:

Read The Testimonial