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Daily Mining Inspections using Paperless Solutions

For all industries, businesses and organisations it is essential to keep a structured and organised working environment. In the mining industry, as is the case in many other industries, certain disparities in employee recklessness or improper maintenance of their workplace can have possibly fatal consequences. This is why it is imperative to have a thorough daily work environment inspection. This inspection checklist can maintain safety standards in each workplace zone at the mine site, as well as helping all those in the control room, office, camp to keep their work in check too.

A daily or working shift inspection should be completed by a supervisor, manager or appointed competent employee and can include checks such as inspection of work areas and bays for spills or untidy sorting; inspection of walkways and emergency signage; identify , assess and analyse risks, inspection of lighting and barricading or inspection of appropriate washing facilities.

All these factors can be instantly checked via use of mobile device features such as the camera which gives the inspector the ability to take pictures and annotate them using the touchscreen. Using attached reference material in the form of previous reports, manuals, drawings or ideal conditions, it is much easier for inspectors to visually establish if the check passes or fails or there is any risks presented. Like wise for inspection of other factors such as PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) or emergency equipment, the smartphone or tablets’ camera can be used to scan barcode/RFID to ensure that they match the compliance requirements detailing the PPE or emergency equipment’s issue or use.

Where there are deficiencies, risks or issues such as problems in safety kits or protection equipment, there is the possibility for the inspector to record problems via general typing or speech-to-text services. When marking a failure, risk or issue, this can result in a trigger notification to the relevant parties who can react in real time and for example choose to shut down certain areas or operations.

This principle can, of course, likewise be applied to any general equipment or specialised piece of mining equipment that may be in use. Daily checks should monitor the wear of the equipment when compared against the historical records and cradle to grave lifecycle tracking available via the back end web-portal part of the paperless digital solution. Reported failures can just like the safety equipment trigger notifications and corrective actions for relevant parties, like maintenance and repair teams advising them what needs fixing, or for management who can calculate ROI or life cycle costing and contemplate replacement and future equipment investment. Daily mining inspection can in this way increase the information knowledge that is available between inspectors and teams operating, maintaining or purchasing equipment.

This is highly useful when trying to reduce company waste, which can often be a costly part of operations that are inefficient. Daily inspection solutions can keep a closer track on how much waste is being produced, reused and recycled into processes, whilst also making sure that it is being segregated and disposed of properly. Tracking employee, contractor, equipment and process performance can help management to better see what is working well for the mine and what is not contributing as much as was planned. This helps manager to make important strategic decisions and plan long-term.

Daily inspection solutions don’t have to be limited to methods and safety equipment however, they can also be used to improve existing inspection and integrated with other checks. Pre-start checks for heavy machinery is one such checklist that greatly benefits from having a daily or shift inspection. This means the likelihood of a fault occurring and persisting to the point of irreparable failure is greatly reduced, as is the case with most other processes and equipment. However for heavy machinery and heavy vehicles, the replacement or repair process can of course be significantly more costly both monetarily and time wise. In this sense it is hence perhaps even more important that inspectors implement daily inspections when using the most valued or crucial equipment, assets and vehicles.

For such inspections, heavy machinery can make use of all the regular inspection functions of a mobile device as already outlined, improving the data entry speed and reliability of reporting. This can, similar to all inspection checklists, be hosted either via the Cloud (SaaS) or in-house using private servers. Hosting in this manner allows for miniscule physical storage requirements compared with filing cabinets, as well as the obvious improved access capabilities. Access to mining compliance, reports and data can be attained anywhere, anytime. Using a simple web-portal login, users and auditors can be provided with the information they need instantaneously. This improves the audit trail by making it clearer, as well as providing optional analytical capabilities (if existing business intelligence is not already integrated).

When selecting an inspection method for your daily inspection consider how you need to integrate it into your other systems. After establishing this, it is best to choose a trusted provider with experience in the field including interfacing with in house systems.

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