Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mining industry's new global aviation standard

Australian mining companies are spearheading a new global aviation standard to make flying safer for mining employees. Developed by the Melbourne office of the non-profit Flight Safety Foundation in conjunction with Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton, Lihir Gold and Minerals and Metals Group, the Basic Aviation Risk (BAR) Standard will provide an industry-wide safety approach to airline operations.

Airlines contracting to do fly-in, fly-out work will benefit because they will be subject to as little as one annual audit by the resources sector rather than multiple audits by different mining companies.

"I think sometimes we forget about the aircraft with the mud on the floor mats, the working stuff ," foundation chief executive Bill Voss told Steve Creedy of The Australian. "And this is really starting to touch something important."

"For anybody who has to contract for a lot of lift in difficult conditions, this sort of risk-based standard is exactly what they need," he said.

FSF Australian regional director Paul Fox said the strength of the program was that it had been developed with people who needed it. The standard took on board all the leading thinking on risk-based safety systems and would allow audits based on a single standard, with the FSF overseeing the quality of audits and auditors.

Mr Fox said the audits would be particularly helpful in regions where regulatory oversight was an issue, such as Africa, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

"It's really going to lift the bar," he said. "The operators who fly for that sector will have to lift their game, otherwise they won't be in it."

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