Management systems

OUR MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

We continue to follow a systematic approach to manage our highest risks. We use systems such as fall-of-ground management (FOGM) and supplies, people and ore transport management (SPOTM) to good effect. Our approach to risk management is a holistic one, aimed at implementing controls that move up the hierarchy of controls. Relevant incidents are reported, for instance uncontrolled falls of ground, derailments underground, and ore-pass blockages. Trends are analysed and investigated, and lessons learnt from these investigations are implemented as Group actions. As a result, our management systems are consistently becoming more mature and robust.

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This is reflected in the significant improvement in both the number of FOG incidents, and, more significantly, in the severity of injuries owing to FOG. In the past FOG was the agency that caused the most fatalities and injuries, but with our entrenchment of FOGM we reduced the FOG-related fatalities to one in 2012. Transport is currently our biggest concern; we are confident that the effective implementation of SPOTM will result  
in significant improvements in this area too.

The quality and architecture of the data we use have undergone extensive review, to the point where we have meaningfully improved our ability to analyse reported incidents and can move towards our ultimate goal of predictive analysis. The reviewing process has resulted in the safety data being made available in a central staging area, where it can be accessed by any reporting system. The outcome of having all safety-related reporting systems use the same data source has been more consistent reporting among and across the various systems.

Reviews of the baseline risk assessments have been completed, together with the associated skills-development programme that empowers our operational safety practitioners to manage effectively the risks at their operations. We are using an electronic risk-management tool to ensure that managers focus their attention on areas that most require their attention.

All Amplats operations participated in risk- and change-management self-assessments. Various internal operational and corporate reviews were then conducted to verify the results of the assessments. Early results from the process indicate a solid improvement in the design component of the systems.

In future, we shall be focusing on the implementation of the designed systems relating to baseline- and issue-based risk assessments, in order to design new or appropriate controls for those priority unwanted events that have been identified for each operation. Amplats will also strengthen its capacity-building programme to ensure that people at its operations are suitably equipped to facilitate risk assessments effectively, and are  
also able to continue with the implementation of operational risk-management processes.

We continue to take an active role in the identification of safety conditions that do not meet our standards. Identified deviations that pose a high (red) risk are monitored daily and reported at a Group level. Once repeat deviations are identified, a team that includes professionals from the Corporate Safety Department spends time with line managers to assist them in developing a plan that will improve safety conditions and performance.

The proactive management of safety risks resulted in a significant reduction in the impact on Amplats of section 54 instructions issued by inspectors of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) under the provisions of the Mine Health and Safety Act (No 29 of 1996) between 2011 and 2012. Eighty-one section 54s were issued in 2011, vs 52 in 2012. Since stoppages were contained to the areas where deviations were observed their extent was considerably smaller than in 2011, and their impact on production and revenue was therefore significantly reduced.

We believe that this improvement is largely the result of the approach we have adopted to DMR stoppages in the course of 2012, and that it is sustainable. Our senior leadership has engaged extensively with all levels of Government in order to build relationships and develop an appreciation of the true impact and challenges of section 54 stoppages.

Safety performance is measured using both the number of injuries and the severity of injuries, and these figures are then analysed in order to identify trends. Although the indicators derived from this analysis are reliable, they are “lagging indicators” since they focus on events that have already had a negative consequence; and since any action plan based on them is reactive rather than proactive. In our drive to become more proactive in our management of our safety performance, we have started focusing on indicators that can be used to predict incidents, i.e. on “leading indicators”. The reporting of these leading indicators is an initiative that was established during 2011, with the reporting of the data becoming more reliable in 2012.

The seven key leading indicators reported on a monthly basis are: safety-leadership acts; risk-management training; safety competence; planned maintenance delivered; the quality of risk-management improvement; the close-out of safety actions; and the number of high-potential incidents.

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Safety-leadership acts

Across the Group, the percentage of safety-leadership acts achieved against the targeted number was 87.4% in 2012, a very satisfying compliance given the focus on visible felt leadership. This measurement reflects the number of formal safety engagements by line management with employees in the workplace. Such engagements follow a formalised process that entails both guidelines on positive engagement and the capture, in the safety-management system, of the outcomes of each engagement, to ensure that issues that have been raised are indeed addressed. The process is known as visible felt leadership (VFL). The safety-leadership acts reported are formalised acts as defined in the VFL standards. The figure of 87.4% does not reflect various weekly safety meetings during which senior site managers engage with the workforce; or follow-up visits to workplaces that have been identified as high risk through the risk-management system during inspections and other assessments.

Risk-management training

Of the individuals targeted to undergo risk-management training (24,682), 61.7% completed the training. This is the leading indicator with the poorest performance, and we will focus on improving this percentage in 2013. All training is currently being re-evaluated to ensure that it is capable of delivering optimal value. The aim is to assess the benefit gained from this training against the days spent away from work while training.

Safety competence

Safety competence measures training delivered specifically to improve the safety competence of employees. Amplats achieved compliance of 93.4% in this parameter in 2012. The targeted number of competency training sessions for the year  
was 136,203.

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Planned maintenance delivered

This parameter measures the number of critical maintenances scheduled versus the number of critical maintenances delivered. In 2012, maintenance delivered represented 86.2% of planned maintenance. Maintenance of equipment is integral to reaching zero harm, since failure of equipment invariably introduces hazards to an environment. The target for this indicator is calculated by adding the maintenance planned for equipment that is classified as A and A-critical. A = central to Business as Usual. A-critical = integral to maintaining a safe working environment. The target for 2012 
was 436,169.

Quality of risk-management improvement

The aim of our safety-management system is to identify risks and the underlying causes of incidents, and to implement controls to prevent the incidents from recurring. A proactive management system identifies and implements controls that reduce risks in the workplace.

When introducing or reviewing controls, we have adopted the principle of “moving up the hierarchy of control”.

The principle behind the hierarchy of control is that there are different levels at which risks can be managed. (See the diagram illustrating this hierarchy.) The most effective method of controlling a risk is to eliminate the energy that is causing it. If this is not achievable, the next most effective means of minimising the risk is to replace the energy causing it by a less hazardous energy. The next level entails engineering a control that will manage the risk, for example by modifying a piece of equipment. The separation of people and machinery is the next level: if the risk cannot be eliminated, minimised or engineered out, then people should be separated from it. This measure is often implemented in mechanised mines, where people and equipment use separate paths to travel underground. The last two – and the least effective – levels in the hierarchy of control are administrative rules, procedures and standards; and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Our controls are under constant review, with the aim of moving up the hierarchy of controls. Recommended controls resulting from investigations are rated, and every control is interrogated to ensure that it moves up the hierarchy of controls. In 2012, 85.3% of our new and changed controls moved up the hierarchy of control from the previous control.

Close-out of safety actions

The close-out of safety actions is monitored daily, and the focus is on ensuring that actions are closed out within the defined period. For this we use a system of ranking workplaces based on the risks observed in each workplace. The system uses standardised definitions and checklists to rank risks consistently throughout the Company. Red is the highest risk ranking, and it requires that all work stops immediately and resumes only when the issue has been corrected.  
To formalise and track this type of risk we issue stop notes when a red risk is identified, and work is not allowed to continue until the safety actions have all been closed out. Amplats achieved an average of 84.9% on this indicator in 2012 meaning that the required actions were taken for 84.9% of the identified risks. This measure incentivises the prompt actioning of safety actions to ensure learning is applied across the site in suitable timescales to avoid repetition. Experience has shown that sites that proactively manage safety treat such timescales as a priority and have a high success rate.

Number of high-potential incidents (HPIs)

Fall of ground, moving machinery and transportation remain the three main causes of safety incidents at Amplats. We continue to follow a systematic approach to our major risks, and have FOGM and SPOTM systems in place. The fact that HPIs are reported and investigated indicates that this systematic approach is becoming entrenched, with employees reporting not only incidents resulting in an injury, but also incidents that could have resulted in a more severe consequence. Our compliance with this parameter was 89.2%.

HPIs are investigated in exactly the same manner as incidents that cause injuries. The mining operation in which the HPI occurred investigates the incident, and the lessons that have been learnt are captured in our “Learning from incidents” alert.  
These alerts are distributed to all operations to ensure that we all learn from the incident and implement Amplats’ safety controls consistently throughout the Company. The alerts are e-mailed to all operations, and discussed with employees at safety meetings. Furthermore, the alerts are available on Platinum Way, which is the dashboard used throughout Amplats to access all safety-related documents and notifications.

Monitoring our progress against these leading indicators will assist us in becoming more proactive in the management of our risks.

IMPLEMENTING A LEADING LOCO MANAGEMENT SYSTEM

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Loco management system in action at Tumela 1 Shaft

 
 
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Loco management system in action at Tumela 1 Shaft

Our transport-management system, Supplies, People and Ore Transport Management (SPOTM), focuses on various components of transport, including our underground track-bound transport system. For many years, transport represented a significant risk for Amplats and its personnel. Several locomotive accidents occurred during which workers were seriously injured or killed. Moreover, despite the introduction of various production- and safety-related designs during the past decade, technological progress in the mine haulage transport system remained slow.

As a result of this unacceptable situation, a major drive was initiated by the Company to introduce a different system based on new methods and techniques. The aims of the system were, firstly, to monitor the movement and other behaviour of underground locomotives; and, secondly, to help Amplats enforce controlled interventions in cases where drivers did not respond to warnings and violation alarms.

With the future in mind, our new Loco Management System (LMS) was designed to provide the mines with an integrated system capable of addressing all their underground locomotive transport requirements. Following the implementation of the LMS, it has become possible to increase the safe operation of the locomotives through engineered solutions rather than through administrative controls.  
The LMS thus provides a modern method of circumventing the limitations of the operation of underground locomotives.

The key features of the LMS include proximity warning and speed zoning. Drivers are able to proceed only when they actively accept an instruction signal from the guard. They receive a warning alert if they exceed the speed limit, and the train automatically stops if a driver fails to react to the alert. Another important feature is the proximity warning, which alerts drivers to the presence of other locomotives close to them.

The LMS stores all events in logs relating to every aspect of a locomotive’s operations. This data can be viewed as an events log or an operational report. The reports make it easier to analyse incidents and boost safety performance, to discover the causes of incidents, and to improve driver behaviour.

The implementation of the LMS was headed up by Coenie Mynhardt, who received a special mention for his work on the system at the Anglo American 2012 Applaud Excellence Awards in Boca Raton, Florida, USA. Coenie takes care of this project in addition to his day-to-day role as technical manager of Winders and Control & Instrumentation within the Amplats Group. Deon Botha, senior principal engineer, Winders, said at the awards that Coenie’s extensive background in electronic engineering had made him the right man for the job. He added, however, that there were other and equally important aspects to Coenie’s approach that explained the results he had achieved:

“Coenie’s outstanding commitment to safety, his professional discipline and his dedication in solving technical and safety issues are an example  
to everyone.”