Modern Mining October 2021

forming strategies for dealing with geographic- specific health issues such as malaria or more widespread health issues l ike the COVID-19 pandemic. These should be both preventive in nature and contain plans for handling larger-scale occurrences. Supporting health and safety initiatives RMI regularly works with mining companies and other organisations across a wide variety of indus- tries to support their health and safety initiatives. “We help organisations coordinate medical screen- ing programmes, and we install and manage turnkey medical clinics on site at remote locations. We have an assistance department to coordinate all patient movements when they are needed,” says Thompson. “We understand that each company and project brings unique requirements, and therefore we work in a consultative manner to put health solutions in place. Through all of these services, clinical gov- ernance and quality assurance are critical to our success – and therefore, key to protecting the health of our client’s workforce,” he adds. A major advantage of dealing with RMI is that the company works on a consultative basis with its clients. While it has been offering medical services to remote locations for nearly 20 years, “we are still learning every day”. When combining the company’s internal expertise

circumstances of each mine, but there are several factors to keep in mind. “I will focus on the ‘health’ side of health and safety here. Firstly, fit-for-duty and regular medical surveillance programmes can help ensure a healthy workforce and catch and address health problems early on – before their severity grows,” says Thompson. Secondly, he says, mines can build an on-loca- tion healthcare capability commensurate with the needs of the population and the project budget. In some cases, this may be a small team of healthcare professionals – even just one may suffice in some instances. In other cases, adds Thompson, where a mine may support a large workforce and even the greater community, there may be need for a fully equipped hospital. “Even where there is a hospital, it is essential to develop a plan to deal with medical issues requir- ing further treatment elsewhere. These plans – we often call them ‘Medical Emergency Response Plans’ – generally outline referral facilities and their respec- tive capabilities to treat a wide variety of health emergencies. They also detail how to get a patient to these places – sometimes it may be by road, and in some instances it may be by air. Based on the mine location, trustworthy referral facilities may be nearby or in another country,” says Thompson. In addition to or built into medical emergency response plans, mining companies should also be

Mining dump trucks at a mine site.

October 2021  MODERN MINING  29

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