Tesch, L, Kinsella, J & Burke, KD 2011, 'Managing the closure process with an effective safety, health and environmental management system', in AB Fourie, M Tibbett & A Beersing (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Mine Closure
, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 87-93, https://doi.org/10.36487/ACG_rep/1152_76_Tesch
An Environmental Management System (EMS) plays a critical role in providing organisation, consistency, and compliance to an organisation. An EMS is not just for “active” facilities—it can be a useful approach to managing environmental issues for any operation with the potential to impact the environment and with regulatory obligations. This case study presents the benefits gained from implementing an EMS at a mine undergoing closure.
A systematic approach was used to develop working relationships with the mine staff and ensure the EMS process was understood as each phase was approached. This approach aided in achieving a common vision for the EMS and helped each staff member feel responsibility for the EMS. By adapting corporate policies to site specific conditions and understanding EMS activities at the operational level, including the health and safety issues, an effective and integrated Safety, Health and Environmental Management System (SHEMS) was developed and implemented.
Many benefits were realised at the facility including improving sampling methods for surface and groundwater monitoring which led to a request for reducing monitoring requirements, identifying additional training needs, improving safety performance and increased employee morale. In addition, much of the facility’s environmental and health and safety operations were retained by specific individuals with a long history at the facility. The SHEMS provided a mechanism for systematically documenting that institutional knowledge to ensure continuity as personnel transition away from their current positions.