Assessment of statutory equipment compliance for South African mines based on a centralised database

Project Status: 

This project reviews how the maintenance of statutory equipment is scheduled, inspected and reported in South African mines with the aim to develop a conceptual centralised database system for the maintenance of statutory equipment in terms of scheduling, inspection and reporting.

During an incident at the Elandsrand mine (Harmony Gold) in October 2008, approximately 3 200 workers found themselves trapped underground due to a falling pipe damaging a shaft. This resulted in a Presidential audit on mine safety being commissioned. The audit had a very clear and specific reference and recommendation to identify all old installations at mines and ensure that actions were developed to address these installations.

Considering the age of some South African mines, most of the statutory mine equipment needs to be inspected.  A system is needed to guide  mine mechanical and electrical engineers on issues such as the age of the infrastructure, the date of the last service and the date of the next scheduled service. This is critical for a planned maintenance schedule that will help mitigate the risk.

The use of non-compliant equipment or machinery can endanger the lives of miners and compromise the operations of the mine by reducing productivity. Being able to monitor the status of mining equipment and machinery and set reminders regarding maintenance would reduce the risks of fatality and keep productivity at the top.

The manually captured data will be used to design and populate a database model, which will host all equipment and machinery data for every mine and will generate alerts and indicate when a mine is not complying with the set standards. The database will be accessible by every mine to update the status of the equipment and the Mine, Health and Safety Council will be able to conduct frequent assessments and confirm that the equipment is operated under the recommended conditions.

It is hoped that ultimately this web-based database will contribute to the target of zero harm and contribute to the realisation of the vision that “every mine worker return from work unharmed everyday”.

The project has two major phases, namely: An investigation phase, during which investigations were physically conducted at selected mines on maintenance of listed statutory equipment; and an implementation phase, during which the database system is designed and implemented according to specifications provided and findings from the investigation phase.


Mine Health and Safety Council

Contact Person

Tony Lumbwe

Key Concept

Statutory equipment
Statutory equipment in the context of mining refers to winding plants, shafts, chairlifts, elevators and boilers, which are considered critical equipment that requires regular inspection and maintenance to avoid potential major disasters.