Takeaway: Mining is a risky business, but monitoring the right information can make it safer.
When you want to track and analyze the safety of a mining company, where do you start? The first thing that probably comes to mind is how many incidents occurred in the last year. But the problem with looking at these kinds of stats is that they only measure the harm, loss, or damage that has already been done.
If you want to improve the safety of a mining operation, you need to track the performance indicators that will show you where the safety problems are before they manifest in an incident.
Sounds great, right? But what, exactly, should you be keeping an eye on? Read on to learn about the leading safety KPIs every mining company should be paying attention to.
Why You Should Be Monitoring KPIs in the First Place
Mining is an inherently risky activity, and it’s impossible to completely eliminate the danger involved in extraction. But keeping a close watch on key performance indicators can help your company ensure that:
There are two main types of indicators: leading and lagging. Since each type tells you something different about your company, each type should be tracked.
Lagging indicators are the traditional safety metrics that most of us are familiar with. They measure a company’s incidents by examining past accident statistics, such as:
Unfortunately, this information doesn’t provide an indication of how well the company is doing at preventing accidents.
Leading indicators, on the other hand, emphasize future safety performance and incident prevention. They are proactive in nature and help gauge the health and safety status of a business regardless of how many incidents occur. Examples include:
(Learn more about Leveraging Leading Indicators to Drive Safety.)
Monitoring Safety Performance in the Mining Industry
There are five categories that key performance indicators tend to fall into:
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main indicators your business should be monitoring for each of these categories.
These indicators measure how committed management is to developing and implementing a comprehensive safety program.
This category includes indicators that measure how effectively a company has planned and implemented their safety program.
Training is a critical part of creating a safe environment in any workplace. It not only teaches employees safe conduct and practices at work, but also reinforces good behaviours through regular refresher sessions. Important indicators include:
Keeping track of and reporting on health and safety data allows companies to compare current and past performance. It can give a good indication of how well (or not) a health and safety program is working and offer insight into where improvements can be made. Indicators that should be monitored include:
Finally, it’s crucial to evaluate performance. This category includes traditional indicators, as well as indicators that help gauge how a company is doing in relation to its peers. These indicators should include:
Businesses have a responsibility to provide safe and healthy workplaces for their employees, even when conditions, like working inside a mine shaft or around heavy machinery, make that challenging. By relying on (mostly) leading safety performance indicators like those noted above, mining organizations can proactively identify potential threats to worker safety and take action to remedy them.
It’s simply not true that safety KPIs must revolve around injury and incident statistics. The five categories we discussed are complementary and, together, cover the entire spectrum of health and safety activities – from planning and communication to performance, monitoring, and reporting.
An effective safety program must be comprehensive. By setting a combination of leading and lagging performance indicators for each area, you can cover all your bases and ensure you’re providing the safest work environment possible for your employees.
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