A focussed approach towards safety in support of coal mining operations in the South African coal mining industry

Veldman, Kirmar Adriaan (2009-12)

Thesis (MBA (Business Management))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African Mining industry has had a poor safety performance over the past couple of years, which led to a lot of questions being asked about how effective mining operations are managed. Numerous concerns and opinions have been raised on the reasons why no improvement is seen in organisations’ safety trends. The general concern in the mining industry is that safety and operations are managed as separate entities and not as an integrated unit. Besides the perception of operational issues that are managed more diligently than safety issues, the associated competency levels of line personnel are also questioned. Safety management systems in mining organisations are also under the spotlight in respect of quality, effective application and a positive contribution in preventing accidents and incidents. A more intensified focus on safety is required by the respective mining houses. The main contributing factors that lead to accidents and incidents need to be determined. The possible reasons for the unsatisfactory safety results can be divided into controllable and uncontrollable elements when seen from a safety perspective. The controllable elements are all possible reasons for why a safety management system is not working. There might also be different contributors to poor safety performance but these are definitely underlying to the main reasons identified. The influence of human behaviour on accidents as well as the considered organisation safety system is essential in safety management. Human behaviour is a function of the characteristics of both the person and the environment. Individuals bring elements to the organisational setting, including abilities, personal beliefs, expectations and past experiences. The environment provided by an organisation has a number of features: jobs, relationships between people, work that needs to be done, rewards available to individuals, and so on. Behaviour results from the interaction of individual and organisational characteristics. The behaviour of humans and the understanding thereof will be a science in its own right. To prevent incidents, one should know their causes. As Louis Pasteur put it, over 100 years ago: “All things are hidden obscure and debatable if the cause of the phenomena be unknown, but everything is clear if the cause be known.”

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse mynboubedryf presteer die afgelope aantal jaar swak wat betref veiligheidsbestuur en ʼn hele aantal vrae word gevra oor hoe effektief mynbouoperasies bestuur word. Verskeie besorgdhede en opinies is gelug oor die moontlike redes waarom daar geen verbetering in ondernemings se veiligheidsindekse ervaar word nie. Die algemene bekommernis in die mynboubedryf is dat veiligheid en operasionele verantwoordelikhede afsonderlik bestuur word en nie as ʼn geïntegreerde eenheid nie. Afgesien van die persepsie dat operasionele uitdagings meer doelgerig bestuur word as veiligheid, word die gepaardgaande bevoegdheidsvlakke van lynpersoneel ook bevraagteken. Veiligheidsbestuurstelsels in mynbouondernemings is ook onder verdenking wat betref gehalte, effektiewe toepassing en ’n positiewe bydrae ten opsigte van ondersteuning en voorkoming van insidente en ongelukke. ʼn Meer intense fokus op veiligheid word benodig by die onderskeie mynhuise. Die belangrikste bydraende faktore wat tot ongelukke en insidente lei, moet bepaal word. Die moontlike redes vir onbevredigende veiligheidsresultate kan verdeel word in beheerbare en onbeheerbare elemente wanneer gesien vanuit ʼn veiligheidsperspektief. Die beheerbare elemente is moontlike redes waarom ʼn veiligheidbestuurstelsel nie werk nie. Daar kan moontlik ook ander bydraende faktore wees tot ʼn swak veiligheidsprestasie maar dit is definitief onderliggend tot die hoofredes soos geïdentifiseer. Die invloed van menslike gedrag op ongelukke sowel as die inaggenome veiligheidstelsel van die organisasie is essensieel by veiligheidsbestuur. Menslike gedrag is ʼn funksie van die eienskappe van beide die persoon en die omgewing. Individue bring sekere elemente na die organisatoriese opset wat vermoëns, persoonlike oortuigings, verwagtings en ondervinding insluit. Die omgewing geskep deur organisasies behels ʼn aantal elemente: werksomskrywing, verhoudings tussen mense, werk wat gedoen moet word, vergoeding van individue, ens. Gedrag is die resultaat van die interaksie tussen individue en die kenmerke van die organisasie. Die gedrag van mense en begrip daarvan sal ʼn wetenskap in eie reg bly. Om insidente te verhoed, moet die oorsake bekend wees. Soos Louis Pasteur dit meer as 100 jaar gelede gestel het: “All things are hidden obscure and debatable if the cause of the phenomena be unknown, but everything is clear if the cause be known.”

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/978
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