Swopping face-to-face inductions for online recorded inductions may seem like a perfectly safe, cost and time saving way to ensure safety on quarries and mines, but of surface mining association, ASPASA, cautions that this practice may leave the door open for system failures and may even expose companies to the risk of liability in the event of an incident.
He explains that in the event of recorded online inductions, the recordings can often become proof of system failures or non-compliances particularly where inductions are not kept up to date with changing legislation or the changing nature of the operation. For example, the introduction of certain mechanised equipment may require additional information to be covered in the induction.
“If an incident occurs and the investigation shows that the induction did not cover part of or all of the environmental, health or safety information as required by legislation, then the very record of induction that was meant to protect the operation, can become the single-most damning piece of evidence to prosecute an operation. It is therefore critical to ensure inductions are completed in line with the latest legislation as per the operations risk assessment. Any changes need to be timeously adopted and reflected in the induction,” says Nico.
He continues that in the interest of real safety, face-to-face inductions are often preferable as it allows the inductee to question points and gain a real understanding of the unique requirements of a site. Also, the person presenting the induction can draw special attention to certain risks on site and test an inductee’s understanding of for any reason they suspect the person may not fully understand certain requirements.
In the same manner that a video portrays images and information about an event, it is not quite the same as being there, which makes it preferable that the person be present and onsite when the induction is being done. Also, it allows an element of dynamic intervention that can be easily adapted according to prevailing conditions, such as warning a visitor of the risk of slipping and falling which may be increased in the event of rainfall or dust suppression in the event of dry windy conditions.
Online or distant inductions do not allow this type of common sense to prevail and even in the event of the induction being completely up-to-date and comprehensive it is still doubtful that it could ever be as effective as a face-to-face induction or, better still, a combination of both. “In the interest of true safety, and not just for the sake of legal compliance, we recommend that quarries and mines pay careful attention to inductions and always maintain a good level of human interface to supplement any remote or online induction,” concludes Nico.