Winning the Safety Battle

Simon Hanrahan and Stephen McLaughlin
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
First presented: 
AusIMM International Mine Management, 22 August 2016

A case study is presented that details the safety journey at a North American project involving two major contracts: a 1000 m shaft recovery and rehabilitation, and the development of a drainage gallery in a large open pit operation. In the early stages of the contracts, there were a number of incidents that created tension between the owner and contractor, which resulted in the contractor being placed on a final warning with almost imminent potential termination. As a result of this, it was agreed to initiate a focused safety recovery plan as a ‘last chance’.

Over a period of two years, the engagement and consequent performance of the contractor was turned around, steadily working to set it up for success such that in one of the contract work areas, a record of ‘one year LTI (lost time injury) free’ was achieved. The journey involved the owner and the contractor teams working cohesively to educate all parties in the safety requirements and, most importantly, providing the context and understanding for certain requirements being put in place. Early on in the process, it was recognised that the owner team unknowingly was an impediment in that they did not fully understand the safety requirements and so was not able to lead the way for the contractor effectively. The journey to rectify the situation was supported and followed up by focused engagement with the project team, which generated a progressive improvement in a very challenging environment.

In particular, the contractor turnaround was significant and of enough value for the contractor to ultimately export some of the safety systems from this site to other contract sites. This demonstrated the ultimate benefit of the contractor understanding and buying into a safety culture and system.


Feature Author

Simon Hanrahan

Simon Hanrahan is a mining engineer with 30 years’ international experience across multiple commodities.  He has been a team member and project leader across the whole resources value chain – option, pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, project construction, project commissioning and mine operations.  Simon’s experience has been gained in South Africa, Australia and the USA in gold, coal, base metals, copper, platinum, industrial minerals, diamonds and iron ore.  During his 10 years with Rio Tinto, Simon worked in major projects involving the development of block cave mines, whilst also gaining experience in operating open pit mines above caving zones.  Since joining SRK in 2010, Simon has worked globally in project management, due diligence and technical reviews for projects and studies involving both surface and underground mining.  Simon has a demonstrated ability to work within and lead multi-disciplinary teams and cultures across all resource types.

Principal Consultant (Mining and Project Evaluation)
BMinTech Hons (Mining), FAusIMM, PR Eng (ECSA)
SRK Perth
SRK Worldwide