ASPASA audits at the centre of best practice in surface mining

Nico Pienaar, director of ASPASA.
Nico Pienaar, director of ASPASA.

Leveraging 30 years of experience in the implementation of correct operating procedures, surface mining industry association, ASPASA, is helping its members with legal compliance.

Previously dubbed compliance audits, the checks are a comprehensive safety net that tests companies’ procedures and policies with national legislation and internationally accepted standards. Rather than reprimand companies where non-compliances are found, the ASPASA checks point out issues and highlight corrective actions to ensure compliance.

According to ASPASA director, Nico Pienaar, the association tackled health and safety, as well as environmental management related issues, nearly three decades ago with the introduction of two compulsory audits. The subsequent success of the audits later gave rise to additional audits covering a host of important business-related topics. ASPASA also frequently shares best practice documents which a freely available and an invaluable aid for training of employees.

“We have Health and Safety Compliance Checks which are conducted by an independent professional auditor who fully understands the health and safety issues in our industry. Based on the Mine Health and Safety Act and Regulations, the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations, the check is designed to improve standards and ensure compliance of ASPASA members.

“The check is a one-day visit to the operation. A walkabout and document check are done in terms of the legislation and the operation gets an electronic outcome. What is important is that the operation and top management are given a non-compliance report. This report can then be used in management meetings and budget meetings to ensure that issues are corrected.

“Similarly, our newly revamped Environmental Compliance Check deals with the challenging laws and regulations that need to be met by surface mining operations. It also provides members with remedies where transgressions are found.

“Technical, laboratory, quality, explosives and blasting checks are also offered and follow a similar structure to the previous checks. The association has plans in place to offer PDS/TMM checks soon. We therefore urge all members and other surface mines to take up membership and undertake the necessary checks to ensure they are compliant with legal requirements and generally accepted standards internationally,” concludes Pienaar.

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