Summary of documented performance and impacts

Xstrata Kroondal Chrome was selected as the Source Mine. It was on this operation that the practice was observed to be working effectively and resulting in safety benefits for the mine. A Source Mine report was written to document the leading practice on Kroondal Mine (Appendix 1).

Subsequently, the leading practice was demonstrated at Joel Gold Mine, both in terms of the adoption of the procedure and the impact on improved safety that occurred or may be expected in the longer term.

Monitoring of the effectiveness of the TARP system covered the following as indicated more fully in Table 3 below:

Leading indicators:

  1. Quality of support
  2. Distance of support from the face
  3. Distance between support members
  4. Personal testimony

Lagging indicators:

  1. Lost-time days
  2. Injuries (treat and return to work)
  3. Anecdotal evidence from mining staff

The generic value case

The value case for adopting technological and people solutions to eliminate fatal and serious injuries is not only a business consideration but a moral, reputational and ethical one.

Working place name:Team leader:Mine overseer:
Date:Miner:Date of adoption of TARP:
Number of crew members:Shift boss:Other:
MeasureWithout leading practiceWith leading practice
Number of yellow stoppages    
Number of red stoppages    
Number of incorrect stoppages    
Average maximum and minimum support distance to face (m)    
Average dip and strike support spacing (m)    
Rock related LTIs    
Rock related serious and fatal injuries    
White flag days    
Time taken to conduct TARP procedure    
Condition of stopes/tunnels hanging wall    
General housekeeping (good/moderate/bad)    
Section 54/55s    
Absenteeism in crews (total days per week for crew)    
Evidence of team work (good/moderate/
Mental model changes(y/n, if yes what?)    
Tonnes per person per month    
Area mined(m2) per crew    
Personal observations/ experience/ feedback/ input    

Table 3: Template used for recording the parameters measured before and after the leading practice

Many mines have experienced closure of sections, shafts or even the mine itself through Section 54 notifications issued by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR). This often results in considerable loss in production and profit for a mine, sometimes threatening its very existence, with social repercussions such as loss of jobs. It is conservatively estimated that, on average, one fatal accident costs a company about R2.7 million (2).

This is an expense that comes directly from the profits of a company. With the many fatalities currently caused by falls of ground in mining (38), the annual cost of these accidents to the industry is enormous. More recent work by Joughin (3) indicates that losses of R500 000 or more per day may be suffered by mines for stoppages for any reasons and that mines have been stopped by the DMR for as much as five to 10 days. These stoppages inevitably follow fatalities, including rock-related fatalities.

The use of TARP should reduce the possibility of unexpected falls of rock that could lead to injury or death of workers, with all the emotional and psychological scarring to mine personnel, damage to equipment, heightened health and hygiene risks such as dust and poor ventilation, and unscheduled stoppages. With the application of TARP, working places will be safer, with fewer stoppages for injuries to workers. There will be fewer falls of rock that will need to be cleared, worker moral should improve, together with improved productivity. There is therefore a large incentive, morally and financially, to use the leading practice.

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