September 24, 2017

Targeted training for Southern African quarries

Aspasa’s Nico Pienaar

The Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa) is farming information from within the industry that will enable it to develop custom training courses to meet current and future needs of the industry.

With much of the groundwork already done, the courses, seminars and workshops will closely match the requirements of the general industry and will be designed to upskill all levels of workers within a quarry.  They will also focus on maximising efficiency, meeting ever-stricter quality requirements and contributing to a safer and more sustainable industry in future.

According to Aspasa director, Nico Pienaar, South African quarries urgently need to cultivate skills in order to capitalise on new techniques that are available to improve outputs and help them meet the growing need for high-quality aggregates. Simultaneously, courses are being developed with evolving construction methods in mind that require aggregates that are manufactured according to strict requirements and exacting specifications.

In-house training

“Rather than relying on a handful of training institutions to provide general training, we are taking the bull-by-the-horns and developing training materials that is exactly what the industry needs. We want our members to be ahead of the curve when it comes to meeting future construction requirements and be in a position to innovate and provide the market with new materials that can be used for new kinds of construction techniques.

“This can only happen with well-trained people within a successful and profitable quarrying environment. In this type of flourishing environment staff and management can be motivated to go beyond expectations and drive the company forward while leading the rest of the industry to follow in its footsteps,” says Nico.

He adds that further information is still required from within the industry to finalise courses and to give feedback about specific training requirements on a quarry-for-quarry basis.  This information will be processed by the association’s HR/Training/IR Committee who will collate the information and ensure that appropriate courses are developed to meet requirements.

Thus far, the industry has indicated requirements on courses for:

  • Crushing
  • Health and safety
  • Environmental management
  • Risk assessments
  • Explosives
  • Transport legislation
  • Lockout procedures
  • Supervisory training
  • First aid
  • HIRA
  • SHE incident investigation
  • Safety for senior executives
  • Examine and make safe
  • Blasting assistant
  • Quality management principles in working environment
  • legal requirements of a quarry
  • Supply and control of construction materials
  • Basic construction materials, sampling and testing
  • Supervision and management in surface mines and quarries
  • Handling and transporting of hazardous chemicals
  • PLC, VSD, Soft Start, scales
  • ISO
  • Train the trainer

A number of other subjects were also raised which the association needs more inputs on including training on legal register service (environmental), awareness training, environmental law, mining charter compliance, quarry managers course, quarry slope stability, skills development facilitator, OHS & COIDA training for union members and shop stewards, as well as social and labour plan drafting.

Questions have also been asked whether courses should be provided for sales training, emergency evacuations, root cause analysis, applying SHE principles, finance for quarry managers, vetting of contractors, as well as human resources, labour and industrial relations training.

“As can be seen, the sheer number of topics is bewildering and we need to get feedback from the entire industry in order to ensure that we find the target with our training efforts. We therefore urge the industry and all its role-players to make contact with us and make comments about the subjects we have already identified or to discuss their own requirements.

Aspasa, Nico Pienaar, Tel: (011) 791 3327, Fax: 086 647 8034, Email:, Web:

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