Risk management systems explained – Part 1

Risk management can often be a very complex process. Its easy to say “ok, we need to work according to these standards, and laws”, but actually making sure that these laws and standards are followed is even more complex when you read through the ton of documents that will essentially become part of your risk management plan. In mining, there are a lot of procedures, safe working procedures, management plans, and also a management plan that addresses nearly every risk an employee can face, and each of these documents are linked to specific standards, Acts, legislations etc. There is a huge amount of paperwork involved and setting up a risk management system to incorporate all those documents can take a very long time to set up. So, I thought I would show you a little of what I have learned, working on these exact same systems with P2B.

Audits and risk and control charts:

1. After an Audit, a series of risk and control charts are added to the system. These are created to show where there are risk factors, how likely it is that an incident would happen, what would happen if the incident actually happened, and what would be done to get the incident under control to limit loss of life and equipment. Each Risk and control chart has links to controls that either prevent, react, or to lessen the intensity (mitigate) of the incident.  In some cases, actions (notifications of things that need to be done) are added to these charts.

Risk management in a control chart

As you can see above, The incidents are in light blue, the preventative controls are in green, the incident in dark pink/red, the mitigating controls are in blue, and the outcomes are colored according to their threat level –  a near miss, injury and the last tier is fatalities.

These risk and controls charts (RCC’s) are then linked to various areas within the system. They are linked to documents (in the dms), documents created in the CMS (audit reports), and forms (where all the statutes, standards, Acts and legislations have been created).

These are compiled from assessments, done with the permission and cooperation of a mine, and are used to pinpoint areas in the mine that can be potentially dangerous, or to look at processes and procedures to see where injury or fatality can be lessened or eliminated. It is these assessments that become the core of the Risk and control chart. Controls are then set in place or developed to ensure that each risk area is conrolled according to the legislations, acts, regulations and standards specific to each risk area.

For instance, Equipment cannot just be driven into a mining site and used immediately.  There are processes in place that have been documented by laws on how a vehicle is introduced to a site. This generally includes many tests and/or maintenance is performed before and this also includes making sure that all vehicles are fitted with fall over protection structures (FOPS) and roll over protection structures (ROPS), making sure that every detail is working at optimum before it is used in a mine can limit accidents, and incidents where passengers or people in the vicinity are injured or worse.

As another example, human error is also factored into the risk equations. Where specific attention is paid to areas where human error can cause catastrophe. These areas include visibility, poor training and supervision, poorly made decisions by employees and supervisors, working under the influence of drugs and alcohol, as well as working while tired can cause monumental problems on a mine and would need to be avoided at all cost. In instances like these, controls would be set up to make sure that visitors and contractors undergo inductions before entering the mine, new and existing employees are regularly trained, fatigue management systems to ensure that no one works while they are tired, visible leadership, and supervision controls to make sure that supervisors are always making sure that things are in order, and of course two other important controls, namely drug and alcohol testing, and searches for contraband on site. Here, contraband could be anything, and not necessarily drugs. Things like aluminum, cigarettes, or more importantly matches and lighters could cause serious problems in a coal mine where methane gas is detected. Another important control links these human error controls, and that is disciplinary policy and procedure. This would be the strongest control that would make sure that all the previous controls are kept running as they should be. These controls are called preventative controls because they aim to prevent incidents from happening on a mine.

Mitigating controls come into place when an incident has happened, and these controls lessen the intensity of the outcome of the incidents. Some of these controls would include the use of personal protective equipment (or PPE) to limit injury or fatality from fire, gas etc. or having emergency evacuation processes in place to safely remove personnel from areas affected by the incident.

The last control tier would be reactive. This more or less does as the name dictates. It reacts to an incident. These controls include emergency response processes, processes that need to be taken to shut down either the mine or the area that the incident has occurred in to make sure it can be contained etc.

Well that’s part one, stay tuned for part two, coming soon.

As always, wishing you P2B



One thought on “Risk management systems explained – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Risk Management Part 2 – Going beyond Risk and Control Charts. « businessdms

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