Blasting and explosives leader BME has again improved its safety performance, reaching a recordable case rate (RCR) of just 0,22 for its last financial year – well below the rate of 0,6 to 0,7 commonly achieved by the mining sector as a whole.
According the Ramesh Dhoorgapersadh – Strategic Safety, Health, Environment, Risk and Quality (SHERQ) Manager at BME – being an effective partner to mining customers today demands ongoing support for customers in achieving zero harm on mine sites and elsewhere.
“As the mining industry works towards creating a safer working environment, BME has supported these efforts by designing and implementing its own safety initiatives,” says Dhoorgapersadh. “These aim not just at people working on the mine, but at the community around the mine, the natural environment and the business assets.”
BME’s success in rolling out its programmes has led to its latest score being the lowest in the last five years. He highlighted the growing importance of safety in the relationship between mines and their suppliers; mines recognise suppliers’ past safety performance, as well as the systems and controls they have in place, when judging tenders.
“Our management systems are one indication of our commitment to safety, as we are certified not just in terms of the ISO 9001:2015 quality standards and the ISO 14001:2015 environmental management standards, but also the OHSAS 18001:2007 health and safety management system,” he said. “In addition, we are signatories to the Responsible Care Global Charter – for the safe management of chemicals throughout their life cycle – through our holding company, the Omnia Group.”
The company’s use of specialised software ensures effective SHERQ management by tracking progress in action and by identifying overdue actions or other lagging safety indicators – allowing senior management to react quickly to any trends that raise concern.
“The BME management team provides the necessary means for a safe working environment – such as appropriate equipment, systems and procedures – as well as the ability to remain safe through skills, training and know-how,” said Dhoorgapersadh. “This is how we are subsequently able to hold our employees accountable, which is a key element of building and maintaining a culture of safety. The result must be that every employee and contractor can go home in the same health in which they came to work – with no negative impact to the environment in which we operate.”
He said the company’s internal ‘Safety for Life’ campaign was launched last year to further enhance the safety performance. With a heart and shield forming the campaign’s logo, it aims to drive continuous improvement through focusing on employees, customers, the community and the environment (heart) as well as plant and equipment (shield).
The contribution to communities in the area of BME’s operations includes providing basic training to potential employees, and targeting these community members when employment opportunities arise. This feeds constructively into the requirement by mining customers that their suppliers invest proactively in the local communities.
Safety on the road is an important aspect of BME’s efforts, especially given the regular and sometimes lengthy distances covered to deliver emulsions and other blasting products; the company’s Driver Campaign includes a Driver Pledge Program to instil a safe driving culture throughout the business.