Sub-standard practices : effects on safety performance in South African gold mines

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 12
  • SDG 8
  • Abstract:

    Sub-standard practices and their adverse impact on safety performance remain a challenge in the South African gold mining industry. The purpose of this study was to investigate the root causes of sub-standard practices and the effect on safety performance in South African gold mines. The focus of the study was on the underground production operations at a gold mine in the Free State. The study consisted of three parts: a personal investigation into the causes of sub-standard practices at the mine, a comparison with the results of a cultural study performed at the West Wits mines, and a behavioural survey. The studies described in this article yielded similar results in terms of the key drivers behind sub-standard practices. It was found that substandard practices had a number of causes, and the origin lies within the habits, attitude, and behaviour of employees. Current methods of addressing sub-standard practices and improving safety performance were found to discourage employees from performing work safely and according to procedure. It was concluded that the lack of critical behavioural habits for the given work environment and job title could possibly be the primary reason for the occurrence of sub-standard practices.