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Safety Comes First at Murray & Roberts Cementation

No-one would dispute the fact that mining is a hazardous activity. Added to this is the unpredictability of human behaviour.

Murray & Roberts Cementation has introduced the Enterprise Wide Risk Management programme to mitigate these risks and introduce a proactive approach to safety.

Dr Koos Oosthuizen, risk executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation says the programme is aimed at transforming the workplace to protect both the people and the business.

"This objective will be achieved through training, education, systems, policies and procedures, because once employees have been empowered with knowledge, they can be held accountable to deliver the job properly and safely," Oosthuizen says.

A safety pledge has been signed by all managers, who have committed themselves to achieving zero incidents and therefore zero accidents. ISO 9001, 14001 and OHSAS 18001 is the support basis for the Murray & Roberts Cementation Business Management System.

Oosthuizen says the company’s strategy is to integrate the risk management and the ISO management systems into the routine strategic and operational decision making process.

"In essence, the strategy aims to create the conditions in which an informal risk adverse culture can be enhanced through management interventions," Oosthuizen explains.

"The first step is the realisation that risks belong to all employees, with line managers taking responsibility for the risk management. Ongoing identification and risk assessment systems are also vital to the success of the programme. This process starts in the design and tender phase of projects and is facilitated by the risk coordinators and subject matter experts."

Oosthuizen says continuous risk management goes hand in hand with good project management and will become a normal aspect of all project managers’ daily routines. Open communication lies at the heart of all stages of any successful risk management programme and this is heavily emphasised at Murray & Roberts Cementation.

The Risk Service Department analyses risks and incidents to assess the likelihood of them recurring; how often they are likely to recur and what is the likely impact should they recur. Risk management has evolved from being a back office function to the CEO-level concern that it is today.

Eight key elements have been put in place for effective risk management:
1. Acceptance of a risk management framework as the focal point and common language - this includes everyone in the organisation, including board members;
2. Senior management commitment - management buy-in is essential;
3. Risk management owner - a risk executive will work with each business unit to implement the programme;
4. Communication - the compelling need for an evolution to an integrated risk management framework must be communicated throughout the organisation;
5. Training - staff must be mobilised with effective training and education;
6. Reinforcement through human resource mechanisms - effective behaviour needs to be rewarded;
7. Process - there must be a risk management process in place;
8. Monitoring - this will take place through internal audits, inspections, planned task observation and job analysis, process, product and service monitoring and management review.

With commitment from all levels of employees, "zero accidents" is certainly achievable within the mining environment.

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