Mines: five aspects of safety and operational efficiency in Latin America

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

One of the workspaces with the highest health and safety regulations is mines. The risks, as well as operational challenges, are multiple and dynamic. Not surprisingly, the International Labour Office presented a code of recommendations for this sector in 2017 that replaced another document from 1991.

Governments and companies are aware of the complexity of carrying out effective monitoring in the areas where this activity takes place: large areas with access difficulties and some instability on the ground to carry out facilities that allow the control of any organization over the daily operations of its employees. 

To that extent, technological developments have become a first-hand ally in solving some standard mine safety and operational efficiency needs. The experience of several companies in charge of exploitation in different parts of Latin America highlights five aspects in particular:

  1. Access control

  2. Evacuation control

  3. Visitor management

  4. Document management

  5. Power management

Below, we briefly present each of these issues and what alternatives you could go to manage them efficiently.

  1. Access control

It is not the same to control the entrance to a corporate building with particular floors as to a deposit of several hectares in an open area, which is often away from the population centers and is determined by rough conditions typical of nature. 

This type of space merits a careful registration of each of the people present there in case of any emergency. 

A good part of the companies that intervene in mines keeps the records of their personnel in physical spreadsheets, subject not only to the wasteful work of the surveillance team in charge, which in turn hinders the flow of movement of the operators but also to the lack of information and possible loss of it given the dynamics of the place. 

Faced with this, it would be convenient to have a mobile device that, just by presenting the respective credential, could record the complete data of each employee and their specific position in the mine. 

On the other hand, a good part of the mining companies assumes the transport of their employees to the mines, which are usually far from the population centers. What if, on the way, the operator remembers that that day did not correspond to his shift and therefore doesn’t have access to the job site? How about that when the operator taps its card when boarding the corporate bus, the system grants or denies the entry from that very moment? 

With social distancing controls, restrictions on the number of employees sharing the same workspace have become stricter. And if someone presented Covid-19, how to trace the colleagues with whom you had contact? How about that same mobile application arranged on the bus the workers are transported provided that information?   

  1. Evacuation control

At the time of a mine evacuation, either due to a collapse, leak or explosion of gases, a common but imprecise way to verify that all workers are safe and sound is to check the names of those who signed the form. 

But what if they didn’t sign it?  Moreover, what if someone signed for an absent colleague by dismissing the incidence of such an irregularity for the same rudimentary way of carrying out assistance? 

Such human errors could be solved with technological tools such as readers located at the entrance and exit of the mine. But what if these do not correspond to the evacuation route? And even more: during the chaos, will anyone stop to swerve their ID card through that fixed point?

What if, when meeting at the meeting point, each evacuated person passes their credential through that mentioned mobile device to, in a matter of seconds, identify who is missing and in what location they are? It would be a sacred time for the rescue of anyone trapped.

  1. Visitor management

Now, in case of an accident in a mine, what to do with those visitors outside the company who could be affected without the corresponding permits? 

The company could handle any situation quickly if they self-manage their visitors, not through a current spreadsheet, but through software that tells security personnel if the visitors are authorized to enter the mine, where they are going and what function they will execute.

All this information and more could be stored on an electronic tablet within reach of the site managers to effectively control the entry and exit and the individuals who enter with their possible cargo transport.  

  1. Document management

This additional information can also be essential for controlling various contractual and administrative matters by the human resources department. 

How about handling that history of each contractor at the turn of a click after checking with their credential that they have enabled the permits to enter the mine?

  1. Power management

A final aspect to consider in the operational management of a mine is the feeding of your staff. Yes, just as you hear it: how do you know how to realize after lunch offered to the company employees that there are surpluses or unsuspected overruns in the service provided by a third party?

The logistics for transporting dishes not allocated by an inaccurate registration can be more expensive than the food itself. There would be no need to outsource to a catering company if you had a management tool to optimize resources. 

All these processes are often outsourced. But what if you could bring them all together on one platform? This platform is the mobile solution offered by Alutel Mobility through its suite. That can be the axis of greater productivity of your company, no matter how remote, complex its operation may be. Get to know it here.

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© 2023 Alutel Corp.

© 2023 Alutel Corp.

© 2023 Alutel Corp.