Fatality Prevention Managing the Risk of Mining Fatalities

Fatality Prevention in the Workplace – 5 Days HSE- 08-01

Course Objective

Understand: How workplace culture, organizational systems, local workplace conditions, human error and leadership affect the risk of fatalities, and what safety professionals can do to prevent deaths.

No employer, family member or coworker ever wants a fatality to occur in the workplace. But it happens all the time. South Africa has one of the highest numbers of work-related mining deaths in the industrialised world, with an average of 244 per year reported between 1997 and 2007. Deaths rose by about 10 percent in the sector last year, according to the government.

Growing concern about slipping safety prompted the National Union of Mineworkers, South Africa’s biggest mining union, to hold a protest strike in December 2007 in which about 240,000 workers downed tools at gold, platinum and other mines.

South Africa’s government has responded to mining fatalities by temporarily ordering some operations to shut, a move that has sent a chill through the sector and led firms to focus more attention on the issue.

Unions say the mining industry, especially in South Africa, has generally been reluctant to sacrifice production in the name of safety and tended to view workers, especially black ones, as expendable.

Labour’s plea for a renewed focus on safety is starting to bear fruit, with government and some companies promising to take a closer look at health and safety standards for miners. In May 2008, mining group Anglo American signed a declaration committing it to work more closely with government and the NUM to improve safety.

Course Outcome

Participants will get working knowledge on the development implementation and assessing a fatality prevention programme:

  • How to Continuing to foster and monitor awareness and support principals of Fatality Prevention, Behavioural Alignment, Leadership Development and Risk Management
  • How to embed Fatal Risk Control Protocols within their organisation and improving levels of compliance.
  • How to apply Risk Control Measures through the hierarchy of defenses understand why one of the best ways to prevent and control occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities is to “design out” or minimize hazards and risks early in the design process.
  • How to Continual improvement in the company’s High Risk Profiles
  • Understand auditing techniques for Fatality Prevention compatible with legislastion
  • How to plan, perform, report on a Fatality prevention audit and to manage Fatal risks
  • How to Eliminate Fatal Risks
  • How to achieve continuous and sustainable improvements in safety performance, focuses on the key elements to tackle fatalities and critical incidents, as the primary safety challenge namely high potential risk incident (‘near miss’) reporting; behavioural safety programmes; leadership and training programmes and performance criteria; contractor management.
  • How to improved safety management systems and safe working procedures to manage key risks such as interaction between people and vehicles or mobile equipment and roof falls.
  • How to Eliminate Fatal Risks, avoiding pitfalls and false indicators

Target Group:

  • Line Managers-Production Foreman and Plant Superintendents, Area Managers
  • Risk Managers/Practitioner SHE Practitioners
  • Process Safety Specialists
  • Reliability engineers, mechanical, and electrical
  • Facilitators of Operability studies
  • Project Managers and Engineers
  • Union representatitives
  • Mine overseers
  • Mine and shaft managers
  • Safety officers
  • Full time health and safety representatitives
  • DME Personnel
  • Inspectors

Course Content


  • A Fatal Environment- Workplace Conditions
  • Frequent vs. Fatal the false indicator
  • Leadership in Safety
  • Labor turnover, Lack of proper skills and competence
  • Employee-Employer Ratio.
  • Economic Pressure (Power Failures-Skill Shortage

Who are at Risk- The Targets?

  • New employees.
  • Contractors, and subcontractors
  • Outsourced and temporary employees.
  • Workers logging overtime.
  • Risk takers.

Best Practices to Prevent Fatalities

  • Evaluation of current reality
  • Stand Up to Ownership.
  • Evaluate high potential Near Hits. Create a reporting culture
  • Engage Employees.
  • Risk Assessment.
  • Competence skills training and education
  • Observe Employees at Work.
  • Rely on Leading Indicators.
  • Design for Safety
  • The Challenge-Focus on the critical few

Stages in the development of a Fatality, Hazards, Defenses and Losses

  • Individual and organizational accidents
  • Finding the right level of explanation
  • Production and protection: two universals
  • The nature and variety of defenses
  • The ‘Swiss cheese’ model of defenses
  • Active failures and latent conditions
  • The accident trajectory

Dangerous Defenses-Barriers and Control Measures

  • Automation: ironies, traps and surprises
  • Quality control versus quality assurance
  • Writing another Procedure
  • Causing the next accident by trying to prevent the last one
  • Defenses-in-depth: protection or dangerous concealment?

The Human Contribution

  • The human factor
  • The varieties of administrative controls
  • The stage reached in the organization’s life history
  • Type of activity
  • Level within the organization
  • The trade-off between training and procedures

The Human Factor

  • Three levels of performance
  • Errors and successful actions
  • Violations and compliant action
  • Correct and incorrect actions
  • The quality of the available procedures
  • Six kinds of rule-related behavior
  • Some real-life examples
  • Assembling the big picture

Measuring the Safety Space and Key Performance Indicators

  • Key Performance Indicators Assessing safety
  • Introducing the safety space
  • Currents within the safety space
  • What fuels the ‘safety engine’?
  • Setting the right safety goals
  • A test to destruction
  • An overview of the navigational aids
  • Near-miss and incident reporting schemes
  • Proactive process measurement: the priorities
  • Are serious accidents really necessary?
  • Workshop Develop Key Performance Indicators for Fatality Prevention
  • Feedback and Group Discussion

A Practical Guide to Error Management

  • What is error management?
  • Ancient but often misguided practices
  • Errors are consequences not causes
  • The blame cycle
  • People or situations?
  • An overview of the error management tool box
  • Tripod-Delta
  • Review and MESH
  • Human Error Assessment and Reduction Technique(HEART)
  • The Influence Diagram Approach (IDA)
  • Maintenance Error Decision Aid (MEDA)
  • Tripod-Beta
  • Summary of the main principles of error management

Legal and other requirements

  • Statistics South Africa vs Other Countries
  • Current Reality- Media Reports
  • Meeting DME Objectives
  • SIMRAC Research
  • Mbeki Report Research and Findings

Engineering a Safety Culture

  • What is an organizational culture?
  • The components of a safety culture
  • Engineering a reporting culture
  • Engineering a just culture
  • Engineering a flexible culture
  • Engineering a learning culture
  • Safety culture: far more than the sum of its parts Postscript: national culture
  • The South African Industry Culture and Climate
  • Fatigue

Management Systems

  • Reconciling The Different Approaches To Safety
  • OHSMS-OHSAS 18001 :2007
  • Revisiting the distinction between individual and organizational accidents
  • Three approaches to safety management
  • Primary risk areas
  • The preponderance of risks in different domains
  • Can personal injuries predict organizational accidents?
  • Latent conditions: the universal risk
  • Has the pendulum swung too far?
  • Some problems with latent conditions
  • The price of failure Cost of Risks
  • Significant Risks- Failures In outdated Base Line Risk Assessments
  • Critical Task Inventories
  • Value of Job Safety Analysis and Planned Tasks Observations
  • How to determine and Measure at Risk Behavior
  • Quantity vs Quality Checks e.g Ventilation and Support

Fatality Prevention Programme

  • How to design and develop a fatality prevention programme
  • How to: identify critical, significant and fatal risks
  • How to: development the fatality prevention process
  • How to: follow the principals
  • How to: develop fatality prevention/fatal risk control standards
  • How to: implement the process
  • How to: develop protocols auditing guides
  • How to: conducted assessments
  • Requirements for proper standards
  • Cross matrix standards with controls
  • Success stories of successful implementation
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