The mining sector is often a risky environment in which to work, making health and safety a major focus, and much has to be done to ensure that it is managed more efficiently in the industry, says employee experience company Wyzetalk CEO Gys Kappers.

Industry stakeholders’ aim is to reduce or eliminate injuries and deaths caused by repeat accidents and common hazards, including communicable diseases, accidents, slipping, falling, chemical exposure underground and hearing loss.

Kappers believes that relevant and timely campaigns can improve health and safety in the industry. In addition to the standard key messages that health, safety and environment departments send out, data and insights can be used to proactively develop campaigns so that relevant information – such as best practice and equipment check information, as well as accident reports – reaches workers.

Further, he notes that an informed workforce with more reason to be engaged in their work is likely to adhere more closely to processes and procedures, and be more alert, careful and aware of unsafe behaviours that could lead to accidents.

Achieving safer working conditions is a collective effort involving distributing relevant and thoughtful information, as well as training, testing knowledge and promoting employee engagement over time. The route to achieving a safer and more productive workforce is about knowing the employee, paying attention to the detail, listening as much as informing and being proactive, he adds.

“A safe and healthy workplace protects workers from injury and illness, reduces absenteeism and workforce turnover, increases productivity and quality, and raises employee morale.

Kappers notes that technology – such as the Wyzetalk platform – is a key enabler in delivering a new way of work. Wyzetalk is a cloud-based employee engagement platform that assists companies in reaching all their non-desk employees.

“However, it is often aspects that are employee-related that fall by the wayside when efficiency and cost reduction become the focus of business relevancy… one of the biggest risks inherent in this approach is disengaging your workforce, to the point where they work against you.”

Wyzetalk is continuously working towards shifting the paradigm to a new, dynamic way of engaging employees by, for example, giving companies the opportunity to not only share work-related information, but also community and lifestyle information.

The company firmly believes that improving the workplace experience and showing employees they are valued can improve not only morale and results, but also – and more importantly – job performance by sharing valuable information and educating employees.

“Happier and safer employees mean more productivity… attracting investment, joint opportunities and capital access, for example.”

An engaged workforce is required in the industry, particularly as many local mining houses enter the period for upcoming wage negotiations, Kappers notes.

“The digital era provides us with access to more information than ever before; how we gather, distil and connect this data and derive insight is going to be critical in addressing health and safety concerns,” he concludes.

This press release was published on Mining Weekly.