Saving paper in performing Risk Assessments and Audits on mines


The Mine Health and Safety Act in South Africa requires that the employer ensures that a safe working environmentis maintained for all of its employees on the employer's mines. In order to do so, employers conduct Risk Assessments and Audits to ensure that the mine is compliant with all legislation including the accompanying regulations.

Defects or risks identified that may cause harm or render the workplace unsafe can then be rectified. Evidence of the Risk Assessments and the rectification of defects in the working environment are then reported on to the Department of Minerals and Resources. Health and safety audits are also conducted after the occurence of a serious incident which has caused, or may cause, harm to employees or has sadly resulted in the loss of life.

in many cases the Risk Assessment and audit process will be documented on paper or preprinted checklists. This information will then be entered into a database for analysis, reporting and where appropriate, rectification of any identified defects.

The volume of paper consumed in this process is significant over the life and the operation of the mine. Simple and cost effective ways to reduce the volume of paper consumed include:

  1. Reviewing the length and structure of checklists and questionnaires, in many cases the simplification of the checklists into structured forms will reduce the length of the form, the time for the employee to complete the form and also reduce the quantity of paper required to conduct the assessment.
  2. Use structured forms that allow for the pre-population of parts of the form to reduce rejections due to poor legibility.
  3. Increase the use of devices such as smartphones and tablets for conducting risk assessments and audits which require no paper.
  4. Recycle your paper after the required data has been captured.

At Paperless we have asisted many of our clients by reducing the volume of paper they consume as well as reducing the time taken to collect, reporton and analyse large volumes of data.

Perhaps more importantly, benefits include a reduced number of serious incidents, greater ease of compliance to legislation and the economic benefits of shorter periods of "Section 54" mine closures. It does pay to go Paperless.