Rand-Air, a Southern African plant hire and equipment rental company and part of the global Atlas Copco group, ensures safe mining operations through its stringent Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) standards and procedures. SHEQ is in place to ultimately reduce risks at mining operations, leading to efficient, safe processes and less down time.
This is according to Bongani Thobela, Rand-Air’s quality manager. “Rand-Air complies with South Africa’s mine health and safety act. This means that the company compiles a safety file containing risk assessments and proof of the competency of our technicians, as well as a letter of good standing.
Therefore, before we hire our compressors or generators to mines, we have met the attendant regulations,” Bongani says.
In terms of occupational health and safety, the company complies with OHSAS 18000:2007 – the latest standard compatible with the mine health and safety act. Furthermore, Rand-Air follows global quality and safety standards, being certified with ISO9001:2008 and ISO14001:2004 respectively. The company’s compressors and generator fleets have also been ISO accredited.
Bongani explains that Rand-Air has to take precautionary measures against potentially hazardous situations, for example if a compressor hose bursts on site, or if there is contamination from an oil or diesel spillage. A pressure test certificate is therefore issued.
There is also the risk of the compressor being placed in a precarious area on site and the possibility of it sliding. However safety blocks are placed on either side of the equipment if there is not a level installation.
Furthermore, employees will ensure that each compressor or generator on hire from Rand-Air at the mine is outfitted with fire extinguishers and that the equipment has reflecting tape. Every employee will wear protected personal equipment and safety shoes and if the employee is driving the van transporting Rand-Air’s equipment or driving a vehicle to service the equipment, he/she must ensure that there are fire extinguishers on hand.
Rand-Air’s general manager Louwrens Erasmus elaborates on the policy of stringent evaluation: “There is a detailed system of accountability in place.” The tools in place ensuring this accountability include an innovation database, ISO database, mission directed workteams (MDW) systems and departmental charts. The databases reflect how quality standards and legislation are constantly monitored.