Despite the documented operational challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, ASPASA members have once again exhibited high levels of health & safety compliance. Members audited in the association’s 2021 ISHE Audit demonstrated total commitment to the industry’s quest for Zero Harm, in the face of difficult operating conditions, Quarrying Africa can report.
That the past two years will be remembered as the most difficult in managing health & safety at operations is no overstatement. Nonetheless, ASPASA members have managed to maintain high standards on their sites. Testimony to this is the 89,19% average score achieved in the 2021 ISHE Audit.
The enforcement of strict COVID-19 protocols and the non-stop development and implementation of health & safety management systems, says ASPASA ISHE auditor Marius van Deventer, is testimony to the industry’s commitment to mitigate what is believed to be the biggest health and safety challenge in modern history.
Speaking at a recent ASPASA event, Van Deventer noted that there was a notable increase in the number of operations audited in 2021 than in 2020. A total of 69 operations participated in the audit, compared with 48 the previous year.
“Despite the challenges brought about by the pandemic, the majority of ASPASA members agreed to continue with the ISHE Audits for 2021, with strict COVID-19 protocols followed throughout the process. In the end, we tackled the audit with a positive attitude under strenuous circumstances, driven by the commitment to add value to the industry,” says Van Deventer.
The ISHE Audit, explains Van Deventer, covers all operations on the mine that fall under the legal requirements of the Mine Health and Safety Act and applicable regulations. In 2021, audits were also done for members who run operations that are governed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Both audit protocols are frequently revised and updated in line with new legal requirements and industry standards.
The audit process is designed to provide guidance and to add momentum to the industry’s quest for Zero Harm. Knowledge and experience are shared between operations, thus uplifting best practice and compliance standards at industry level.
A total of 69 operations were audited during 2021, with some members opting out of the audit due to COVID-19 restrictions at their operations. Although the average score for the year was 0,25% lower than the previous year, some encouraging improvements were recorded, in the face of tough operating conditions.
“The average score of the 2021 ISHE Audit was 89,19%, with the highest being 97,63% and the lowest 70,4%. Some 60% of the audited members scored more than 90%, which is an excellent achievement. Special recognition is given to those quarries that achieve Showplace Status, but to be honest, it’s no easy feat to score above 90% in this audit,” says Van Deventer.
A total of nine operations achieved Showplace Status (95%+), while 33 operations achieved 5 Shield Status (90 – 95%). Some 19 operations attained 4 Shield Status (80 – 90%), with eight managing 3 Shield Status (70 – 80%). No operation scored below 70%, which shows the high-level nature of compliance among ASPASA members.
Key highlights of the 2021 ISHE Audit
Showplace Status (95% +): 9 operations
5 Shield Status (90 – 95%): 33 operations
4 Shield Status (80 – 90%): 19 operations
3 Shield Status (70 – 80%): 8 operations
No operation scored below 70%
A full article report on the 2021 ISHE Audit will be published in the January/February edition of Quarrying Africa.