According to the third annual Mining Executive Insights survey by Ventyx, an ABB company, worker safety and managing capital projects are the highest priorities of today's mining executives, followed closely by maximizing production effectiveness.
Completed in late 2012, the survey represents the views of 374 mining companies with operations in virtually every world market. The majority of respondents were C-level executives, vice presidents or directors across the full spectrum of mining sectors, including coal, gold, copper, iron ore, zinc and nickel.
When asked to identify their current priorities by level of importance, 31% said workforce safety was most important, while 25% named managing capital projects, and 21% said maximizing production effectiveness was their top priority. Ensuring reliable and predictable operation of equipment trailed at 8%.
"Our research shows the mining industry remains cautious about the strength of global economic recovery. In response, many mining organizations have begun looking inward, especially in regard to the labor market. In doing so, they have shifted their focus from finding qualified workers anywhere, at any cost, to ensuring the workforce they currently have is efficient, well-informed and safe," says Bas Mutsaers, senior vice president of Mining Industry Solutions at Ventyx.
"At the same time, these companies aren't seeing a tradeoff between worker safety and profitability. In other words, the same technologies and best practices that improve safety also improve performance and efficiency," he adds.
The study demonstrated how closely mining executives correlate worker safety and mine productivity. When asked to identify their primary safety initiatives, 64% of respondents selected "development of skills, best work practices and situation-based decision-making."
"As companies equip their workforces with new technologies, such as mobility solutions that enable faster access to information regardless of location, they're finding they can change their traditional approach to training and skill development," says Mutsaers. "There is definitely an opportunity for mining organizations to leverage emerging technologies to transform how they educate and empower their workers to reduce safety incidents and improve efficiencies. By delivering on-demand information to the point of work, for example, new mobility solutions can reduce the need to train workers for every possible situation, while equipping them to make better on-the-spot decisions."
For complete survey results, visit http://bit.ly/WCyQf3.