A very important aspect for the advancement and development of a solid safety culture in a mining organization is the search, selection and hiring process of the professional that will cover the position of safety and occupational health manager.
As an initial premise, we must establish a clear difference in the type of mining company that is conducting the search and selection process, whether it is underground operations or open-pit mining.
Experience shows that a professional coming from an open-pit operation will take a long time to know and master the risks and controls that will be found in the underground operation and, often, the least we have in mechanized mining operations and High risk is time to be testing or learning.
Similarly, the professional who will go from underground to shallow mining will take time to adapt to a mining system that requires different types of controls and strategies, and a different safety culture than the one he knew.
Another very important aspect, modified in the latest occupational health and safety regulations published by the Ministry of Energy and Mines, is related to the professional requirements that must be met by the Occupational Health and Safety Manager (SSO) for a mining company.
On this point it is important to consider whether the professional in evaluation will cover a post of corporate manager of SSO or if he will act as manager SSO of a specific mining unit. They are two different positions and I think they require different profiles.
An SSO manager of a mining unit with underground operations is strengthened by having a professional training in mining or geology engineering and having worked some years in operations. In this way, you can count on a solid knowledge and criteria to deal with issues of falling rocks, landslides, rock burst, geomechanics and sustainment, among others, which are, have been and will be the main type of accident, mortal or incapacitating, in Peruvian mining.
Another important aspect for the professional with the profile indicated in the previous paragraph is that they will be respected and listened to by the operators in charge of production, not because the company has granted them certain hierarchical authority, but because they observe that they are before a professional with solid knowledge. and operational experience that can advise them in the best way.
A vital approach in these processes of selection and hiring of the manager of SSO in a mining organization is to identify an adequate approach between the security culture of the postulant to the post and the security culture of the organization in which he will work.
An SSO manager who comes from working for several years in an organization of high standards and an advanced safety culture is very likely to be misunderstood and rejected by an organization that is still in an initial stage of safety culture. This will generate a discomfort in the professional and, in a short time, will be looking for opportunities in other companies.
Finally, it is important to mention that the processes of search and selection of SSO professionals for mining must have the active participation of senior professionals from the mining sector who have worked in similar positions. At some stage of their professional life they occupied those positions of SSO, which will facilitate them to identify and select the professional that will have greater probability of success in the new position and contribute to the improvement in security of a mining organization.