According to a recent survey by DuPont Sustainable Solutions (DSS), mining company executives are not identifying and preparing adequately for risks. The survey, 2018 Global Operations Risk Survey of Corporate Leaders, was based on interviews with 350 executives, 60% of which were from high-hazard industries, such as metals and mining.

“We found that executives are not putting sufficient emphasis on high potential risks that can lead to large-scale incidents. At the same time, onerous risk management processes are failing to identity risks effectively with evidence to support and confirm a growing disconnect between executives and personnel at the front-line,” said Johan van der Westhuyzen, DSS’s regional director for Turkey, Middle East, and Africa at the recent Investing in Africa Mining Indaba event.

“In South Africa for example, the mining sector is facing a crisis in safety which is having a negative impact on the already depressed sector that now makes up less than 7% of the country’s economic output.”

The survey identified three main areas where improvement from executives is needed. Firstly, there is not enough of an emphasis on risks that can lead to large-scale incidents. The survey suggests that executives are happy with low incident rates, with two thirds of those asked being satisfied with such, despite 78% agreeing that this does not correlate with reduced risk.

Secondly, while executives agree that processes and systems must be fully integrated into a company to be effective, they are often added in an attempt to manage risk unsuccessfully. Of those asked, 40% stated that they had trouble integrating such employee performance management processes and that many were currently insufficient.

Finally, there is a disconnect between executives and their personnel that can lead to increased risk. More than half of executives are not aligned with their personnel on the risks facing their organisation, and a quarter of front-line workers are not.