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  • The Top 5 Safety Risks In Mining - Communication


    A recent whitepaper released by Australian Mining has outlined that the top five safety risk in mining are: human error, communication, vehicle and machinery operation, explosives and hazardous materials and fire. It doesn’t matter what your role is or where you are working, if you are on a mine site you will be affected by these five risks.

    When managing large workforces in remote locations how a company communicates procedure changes or safety issues is of vital importance.  Making sure everyone has not only received but also understood critical messages isn’t easy, especially when dealing with shift workers and rotation changes.

    The nature of the mining industry means conditions on sites can change at a drop of a hat with underground and above ground movements, weather condition changes, and heavy equipment on the go.  Having a foolproof communication strategy is therefore critical for maintaining on-site safety.

    Whether it’s strengthening links within your own company or improving ties with external groups, communication takes a vital role in keeping employees up to date, informed, and ready for work.

    Communications is something that we are all guilty of taking for granted and making assumptions that we have achieved our goal of transmitting our message in terms that are clear, unequivocal and understood by the intended recipient.  We are all being constantly bombarded with messages, and of around 2000 a day, we will only remember some 65 - hardly a good average.

    Studies confirm this very low rate of retention, but go a step further in looking at the retention for the various means of communication: reading 10% retention; hearing 20% retention seeing 30% retention hearing and seeing 50% retention.

    I don’t believe that there is a right way or a wrong way to communicate within an organisation, or that one method is better than another. What is required is a mindset shift away from compliance and generation of more paperwork for everyone to sign off on.

    Great communication requires the development of a sense of community throughout the organisation.  Community may not be a trait of many organisations, but it is what defines organisations with strong cultures.  By establishing strong communication patterns and interpersonal relationships between the various levels of an organisation, the flow of messages becomes more functional internally and externally and any risk of dysfunction is greatly reduced.