Ventyx says its third annual Mining Executive Insights survey has revealed that worker safety is the leading priority for global mining companies.

The survey was completed in December 2012, compiling the views of C-level executives from 374 mining companies involved in the full spectrum of the mining sector including coal, gold, copper, iron ore, zinc and nickel.

Respondents were asked to list their current priorities in order of importance, with the top four identified as ensuring workforce safety at 31%, managing capital projects at 25%, maximizing production effectiveness at 21%, and ensuring equipment operates reliably and predictably at 8%.

Ventyx senior vice president of mining industry solutions Bas Mutsaers says, “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 have is efficient, well-informed and safe.

“At the same time, these companies aren’t seeing a trade-off between worker safety and profitability. In other words, the same technologies and best practices that improve safety also improve performance and efficiency,” he adds.

Ventyx says the study demonstrates how closely mining executives correlate worker safety and mine productivity. When asked to identify their primary safety initiatives, nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents selected ‘development of skills, best work practices and situation-based decision making’.

Bas Mutsaers says companies are now able to change their traditional approach to training and skill development as they equip their workforces with new technologies which enable faster access to information regardless of location. “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.”

Ventyx is an ABB company, and a leading supplier of industrial enterprise software for essential industries including energy, mining and public infrastructure. Its solutions bridge the gap between information technologies (IT) and operational technologies (OT), enabling clients to make better informed decisions in both daily operations and long term-planning strategies. Some of the world’s largest organizations rely on Ventyx solutions to minimize risk, enhance operational and financial performance, and execute the right strategies for the future.

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