Achieving a Zero Incident Targets in Mining and Exploration Drilling
In recent years, the mining industry has become increasingly committed to improving the overall safety standards and reducing incident rates. Achieving a zero-incident target is possible and requires a holistic approach and commitment to safety management, which covers every aspect of the drilling operations.
One of the first and most critical steps is to ensure that all employees and contractors are adequately trained and aware of all the risks involved with their roles. Drilling operators must undergo complete safety training covering both the equipment they operate and the overall risks they may face in the process. The safety training should be upheld by the company and reinforced regularly to ensure that the employees are always alert and always up to date on the necessary safety measures.
Implementing a strong safety management system is equally important. The system must be specific to the organization and its processes while also designed to identify and control all hazards and mitigate all associated risks. To ensure that the safety management system is improving the overall safety performance, it should include regular safety audits and reviews that test and confirm its effectiveness and ensure that any new potential hazards are identified promptly and included in the safety procedures.
Another excellent tool to improve and uphold safety levels is risk assessments. Such assessments should be carried out at every stage of the drilling operations, including before, during and after drilling is completed. These assessments ensure that all potential safety risks are identified beforehand, and the necessary controls and mitigation measures are put in place to prevent them from occurring.
Drilling operations involve heavy use of specialized equipment, and necessary steps must also be taken to assess and prevent any of the associated risks and hazards. The drilling equipment must be well-
maintained, serviced regularly and used correctly at all times. Advancements in technology such as automated drilling systems, sensors and cameras can also be applied to further strengthen the associated safety levels by offering additional means for monitoring and hazard identification.
As drilling operations involve large teams of operators and stakeholders from various organizations, good communication is paramount in achieving a zero-incident target. Communication should be two-way, with all employees strongly encouraged to report hazards or incidents they suspect or encounter. The management teams, on the other hand, should offer regular feedback to their teams on the safety performance of the project. Conducting frequent safety meetings between all the stakeholders involved will also ensure safety is kept at the top of mind and that everyone is aware of the relevant safety procedures and protocols at all times.
All the above are just a few examples of how drilling companies can work towards achieving zero-incident targets. At Drill Masters Africa we believe that safety should also be embedded deep into the company culture. We see safety as a set of shared values, beliefs and attitudes which are necessary to ensure that all the measures taken work in practice. We ourselves lead by example and adopt strict zero-incident targets and encourage everyone within our organization to promote safe behavior and encourage everyone to take full responsibility for the safety of our teams and those of our clients. With the necessary measures and mindset in place, achieving zero incidents in mining and exploration drilling is possible, and it should be the goal of every drilling company in our industry