Who's Afraid of the Mines Inspector?

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 0
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
COPING WITH COMPLEXITY In every industry, and mining is no exception, plant and processes increase in complexity over time and managers and operators need correspondingly more knowledge. The mine manager has to delegate details to operators, engineers, metallurgists, accountants, safety specialists, personnel officers and the rest. Is it reasonable then, to expect the Mines Inspector to be competent to judge the conduct of all these operations against the criterion of the regulations? Obviously not, but what are the alternatives? One is a superficial inspection where the inspector goes on a hazard hunt for broken steps and missing handrails. Another is one in which an army of specialist inspectors marches on a mine, sometimes outnumbering the staff. Each is competent to assess some part of the operation and if he or she can find an opposite number among the mine staff, they can discuss details. But what good does it achieve? The system acts to remedy present defects and to make recommendations which, if only they were followed, would prevent the same things happening again. Given that this process has been going on since the first Factory Act of about 1840, how is it that there are any more defects left to put right? The answer of course is that defects keep appearing, and new defects arise as fast as the old ones are found and corrected. Further progress can only be made by preventing defects at their source.
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