Report: APP CMHS Project 4

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2.1.5. Risk Management Process and Approach

A number of documents and standards have been developed to provide guidance in the risk management process. In New South Wales, the Chief Inspector of Coal Mines (NSWDPI, 1997; revised 2007) published a risk management handbook MDG1010 that outlines a variety of processes to assess and manage risks. Queensland followed (QDME, 1998 and QMC, 1999) with its own standard. MISHC is also responsible for the development of the National Minerals Industry Safety and Health Risk Assessment Guideline. The Australian Standard on Risk Management AS 4360: (Standards Australia, 2004) was revised in 2004 (now replaced by International Standard ISO 31000) and provides a risk management framework widely used by the mining industry. This is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Risk Management Framework

After the context of the risk process has been clearly established, the hazards are identified by the location, nature and magnitude of energies present. The risks these hazards present are then identified and assessed in terms of likelihood and consequences. The controls that are in place and any additional controls necessary to manage the risk are identified and implemented. The controls should be monitored and performance audited. This is typically done on a regularly scheduled basis and changes are made to the process as needed.

Commencing from a broad perspective, all mines are required to develop a Safety and Health Management System for managing all operational facets of the mine. This is in addition to any prescription laid out in the legislation. This management system has a number of key components and is in accordance with the above required standards – over all system document; safety and health policy; management structure; hazard management plans for hazards with potential for multiple fatality; standard operating procedures; training and communication; audit and review requirements; document control; and continuous improvement.

It is important to recognise the significance of the life cycle of a mine in regard to risk management. Risk management concepts and principles are applied at every phase of a mine – from concept through design, construction, acquisition, operation, maintenance, modification, rehabilitation, to disposal. Without detailing every technique for each application a broad précis of the commonly applied processes is described.

Initially a Preliminary Hazard Analysis is undertaken in the form of what is typically referred to as a Broad Brush Risk Assessment. This looks at the whole of the mining operation at a high level to identify hazards. A risk register is developed and used as a baseline with which to further develop more detailed risk assessment and controls. This process identifies critical hazard areas that require major hazard management plans and standard operating procedures to be developed.

Major hazard management plans are developed specifically detailing how these major (or principal) hazards must be managed. Such plans typically follow the structure as indicated in AS 4804 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems and include details of planning, prediction and monitoring of hazards and implementation of control activities. Other significant aspects to be covered are: responsibilities, triggers and resultant action plans, emergency response, audit, and review requirements.

Standard operating procedures may be legislated and specified procedures or simply recognised as best practice. They are intended to be a consistent approach to completing a particular task or series of tasks in the safest most efficient manner. They are developed using team based risk assessment techniques and rely on having a competent cross section of the workforce represented in order to develop an optimum approach.

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