Speaker Spotlight: Ed Santamaria26 August 2020
We are delighted to have Ed Santamaria, President and CEO, Normet Group Oy as a keynote speaker at this year’s Minesafe International Digital Conference. Recently we sat down with Ed to discuss his presentation titled “The importance of innovation at Normet” and the importance of health and safety in the resources sector.
Q. What message would you like to highlight to those attending the Minesafe Conference? What do you hope will be the main take away from your presentation?
A. Safety is the #1 priority in all underground construction, mining & tunneling. At Normet we aim to improve the safety and sustainability of operations via mechanizing / automating tasks, taking people way from danger and introducing best practices to ensure safe operations
Q. Will the latest developments in safety soon meet the challenges of current operations? What do you think is the key factor in working towards a zero-risk industry for the future?
A. Solid processes supported by strong leadership commitment, which are followed and improved constantly are key to driving safety. Additionally providing equipment, productsand services which have safety designed in to them is a key driver to minimise the risk. Zero-risk should be target for all of us in industry
Q. Our global community has been significantly altered by the COVID-19 pandemic. What do you think has been the main impact of COVID-19 in the resources sector with regards to Health and Safety? Has the pandemic shifted innovations and developments in a different way?
A. The pandemic has not shifted innovations – at least that is not visible yet. A lot around pandemic is about working practices, operating safely whilst minimizing risk of infection is aligned with how we generally work across mines sites and construction projects e.g., sound risk management processes, good fit for work screening, risk awareness, risk mitigation and being prepared to respond in the case of accidents or incidents. We have also learnt how to be more effective connecting with each other remotely during this pandemic period.
Q. As the mining industry continues to expand and life after the pandemic pushes for more activity to boost the economy, what can we implement now to guarantee a risk-free operation for the expected accelerated work rate?
A. We should always keep safety first and not accelerate to risk that, no short cuts and stick to the processes we have in place. Good practices and end-2-end process reviews to find optimal ways of working are critical
Q. 2020 has been an unpredictable year for Australia and the global mining sector. What do you think Australia should focus on to protect the mining workforce as best as possible? Is this something that can be collectively agreed upon?
A. Staying safe, efficient, productive and at the crest of world leading best practices in mining processes
Q. Mental health is a huge issue within all industries and significantly in the resources sector. What strategies are in place to ensure a healthy workplace culture that supports all employees? Has the pandemic outbreak also accelerated mental health issues within the sector?
A. We have not seen acceleration of mental health issues as such. A lot of thorough follow-up is needed as the isolation very easily drives to lesser communications. In many ways the issue of mental health impacts remains with much to do at a company level to understand what we can do and what we must do beyond general health and well-being programs
Q. As the sector continues to change at a rapid rate, what insights do you have for young professionals interested in learning more about health and safety within the sector or for those working for the first time in challenging environments?
A. Mining is an exciting industry. The scope and way of working will change significantly. This is an area, where there is plenty of space for innovation and new exciting solutions – many of those in areas not traditionally tied to mining, such as automation, software development etc. I would encourage all young professionals and new entrants into our industry to get involved, learn and be a part pf transforming the industry to new standards of safety and sustainability.