Mining consultancy The MSA Group is currently developing a mobile safety, health and environment (SHE) management toolset that integrates with a client’s existing SHE management systems.
The company explains that, at present, many small mines and exploration sites run tedious paper-based systems that collect data that is never collated or centralised. As a result, it is impossible for these companies to manage their risks or associated costs, holistically. The purpose of the group’s product is to collect SHE data generated within a business, compile the data in the cloud and display the information in a graphical dashboard.
This allows data to be shared rapidly so that decision-makers are informed and can to take action on critical issues. The company aims to launch the product by the end of this year.
The MSA Group geology operations manager Craig Blane explains that the product has been developed based on current technological trends, where devices are increasingly connected in the digital ecosystem, including connected vehicles, homes, power grids and wearable devices. “Data is being shared far more freely and easily with the expansion of the connected ecosystem facilitating real-time decision-making,” he adds.
The most frequently used data sources in the SHE environment are checklists and inspection forms. These can be completed on any mobile device and are captured into the secure data repository. The product will also integrate a variety of data sources, including spreadsheets and files, business applications, relational databases, Web services, automated monitoring systems and automated data loggers.
Blane adds that data is then synthesised down to key indicators which are displayed in an easy-to-read, graphical user interface. “Ultimately, these outputs will allow instantaneous and informed decision-making,” he says.
Moving data from hardcopy forms into the digital environment facilitates real-time insights and trend analysis. The data will be continuously updated in real time so that users are proactively acting on information, rather than reacting on a monthly or quarterly reporting basis. Further, any noncompliance logged during an audit will be flagged, notifying decision-makers immediately of any such incidences.
Blane points out that The MSA Group is developing the product for a niche market, including smaller mining operations and junior explorers that have not yet invested in electronic SHE management systems, as it is simpler and more cost effective for them to use an already available product.
He notes that the tool is designed to complement existing SHE systems and protocols, as a lot of companies have dedicated significant resources to designing and implementing their own management systems which are well suited to their intended purpose.
Further, there is a lot of diversity in how SHE systems are set up; therefore, the tool is easily customisable and designed to maintain flexibility to cater for the various management systems that businesses currently use.
As a result of early-phase exploration and mining projects and small projects being located in remote sites where Internet connectivity is poor, The MSA Group points out that designing the product to work under such conditions is a challenge. Blane stresses the importance of designing the product to operate in areas where Internet access is poor (or nonexistent).
“This has been one of the fundamental difficulties, but has been managed by The MSA Group,” he concludes.