Outsourcing mine health, safety aspects more practical

25 Oct 2019

By: Mc'Kyla Nortje

Journalist

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While safety is a key concern, mining companies are realising that it is not always one of their core competencies, says mine safety systems and equipment manufacturer Schauenburg Systems sales and business development director Martin Marais.

Outsourcing aspects of mine health and safety tends to be a more viable and safer option, he adds.

Marais notes that the mining industry has faced increasing scrutiny on the safety of personnel in mines and the industry’s inability to prevent situations that contravene sections 54 and 55 of the Mine Health and Safety Act.

The Act places the onus on employers to establish a risk-management approach to health and safety.

“Outsourcing allows for a dedicated and focused research and development investment for supplier companies to continuously improve on existing solutions and/or problems.”

He comments that outsourcing enhances overall health and safety at operations and assists with regulatory compliance.

Marais stresses that Schauenburg Systems’ products assist with mines’ compliance under the Act in terms of fires and explosions; workplace illumination; trackless mobile equipment; mine environmental engineering and occupational hygiene; rescue, first aid and emergency preparedness; and reporting to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy.

These products include a product portfolio for underground and surface applications. Surface application solutions include tag-based and tagless collision avoidance systems; environmental monitoring systems for dust, gas, temperature, atmospheric pressure monitoring; connected or wireless localised exhaust ventilation monitoring as well as conveyor belt fire detection and suppression systems.

He also notes that the advent of digital technologies, combined with the industry’s commitment to zero harm, have resulted in a massive technological leap in terms of the technical complexity of the safety systems implemented on site.

“The drive for enhanced safety in underground and surface operations has pioneered the era of intelligent mine safety systems,” Marais comments, adding that mines do not necessarily have the in-house capacity to monitor, maintain or repair such systems.

Moreover, in industries such as mining – where margins are tight and cutting costs is a major concern – significant value is placed on using system integrators.

Marais explains that Schauenburg Systems offers system integration services for turnkey solutions to ensure cost-effective solutions for the full spectrum of mine health, safety and management.

The local design, manufacture and implementation of Schauenburg products have given the company the experience and assurance to offer real solutions at competitive prices, he adds.

Emphasising the all-in-one approach, Schauenburg offers “a world-class electronic product range for health and safety for underground and surface mining”, says Marais.

Its ability to supply original-equipment manufactured products and locally produced turnkey solutions enables mining clients to conveniently procure products and solutions, as well as enjoy countrywide support and services “all under one roof” with custom in-house finance options.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor