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The Key to Improving Mine Productivity is Increasing Mine Safety

The mission of the management team of an operating mine is not complicated:

  • Increase productivity – mine more efficiently; and,
  • Improve safety – don’t hurt anyone while doing it.

There’s no question that sometimes it seems as if the safety and productivity needs of a mine, and the people who champion them, are pulling in opposite directions. Management and engineering staff – under constant pressure to hit their production targets at the lowest cost – may see intensive safety management as a necessary evil that, if overdone, can cause delays and slow down production. On the other hand, those responsible for mine safety often feel that safe working practices do not get the attention they deserve.

While the productivity versus safety debate generally leads to a valuable discussion, the reality is, increasing productivity and improving safety are two sides of the same coin. A safer mine is, in fact, a more productive one. Not only is focusing on safety the right thing to do, but it is also good for your business.

Published statistics from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) show clearly that efforts to increase productivity at a mine do not need to jeopardize safety.  In fact, over the last forty years, MSHA reports that mine production has increased by 77%, while the number of mining fatalities has reduced by over 80%.  This is not necessarily a direct cause and effect – many factors could contribute to both results – but it is a clear indication that increasing productivity and improving safety go hand-in-hand.

Aside from the – easy to measure – “hard” factors related to mine safety, e.g. lost production while an incident is investigated, the cost of treating injuries and accommodating reduced work function and the impact of very expensive equipment damage, there is also a “soft” angle – workers who feel safe are more likely to be loyal, committed, and as a result, more productive.

Safer work environments also correlate closely to a higher degree of international competitiveness.  Reports from the International Labour Organization (ILO) show how countries that achieve lower levels of workplace fatalities also enjoy a higher level of global competitiveness. This is most likely a result of the same “hard” and “soft” factors that are at work in the mining industry.

Thankfully, the mining industry has embraced the message – safety is important and needs to be a top priority for any mine.  However, mining is still a dangerous game, and the industry continues to suffer from more loss time injuries and fatalities than anyone wants to see.

At RAMJACK Technology Solutions, we are fully committed to improving mine safety, and we seek to align every technology implementation we participate in with both a productivity and a safety ROI. We do this by partnering with industry-leading technology manufacturers, like MDT, Newtrax, Conspec, SmartCap and many others, to offer a range of safety-enhancing solutions that keep miners safe, by:

  • Monitoring – in real-time – the conditions of the equipment, the atmosphere and the surrounding rock that make-up the miner’s work environment;
  • Tracking the movement and alertness levels of operators to predict in advance when the risk of a fatigue event is approaching; and,
  • Providing both the technology – communications and applications – and easy to action information that empowers miners to self-manage their own personal safety.

Putting a technology roadmap together that addresses these three objectives at your mine is guaranteed to not only improve safety performance, but also improve the overall efficiency of your mine – increasing productivity in the process.

Contact us now to find out more about how the technological solutions we provide can make your mine a safer, more productive place to work.