South Africa's mining industry is supported by an extensive and diversified resource base and has since its inception been a cornerstone of South Africa's economy. The changes which have come about in our country make it necessary to prepare the industry for the challenges which are facing all South Africans as we move further into the twenty-first century.
A safe and productive working environment is critical for any operation in the mining sector. Various technology and security companies provide solutions to meet your company’s specific needs to ensure that people, equipment and assets are safe. Biometric identification and authentication are currently used at various mines in South Africa and in the SADC region.
Fingerprint biometrics is still the most widely accepted form of biometrics. However, more mines and large industries are looking at newer technologies. Finger vein detection devices are also becoming more popular in the mining industry. These devices detect the pattern of the blood vessel under the skin simultaneously with a fingerprint match. This new technology offers an unrivalled secure form of identification.
Another recent technology is the 3D facial recognition, which provides a hands-free recognition ideal for the mining industry, entering or exiting a mineshaft is simple, secure and quick. Through biometric technology, mining companies have better control over short-time and overtime hours worked at access points where shift control procedures are executed.
Access control systems can be upgraded to meet one of the most important mining safety requirements – the 'shaft clear for blasting' procedure, by automatically and electronically providing assurance that all personnel have left the area to be blasted. Fingerprint readers can readily be linked to systems including everything from payroll systems to what meal choices staff may make or what certified skills they have, when they are due for leave and even when they are next due for a medical check-up. In the latter case, a miner, for example, won't be allowed underground if his check-up is overdue. These business tools are not just about security but also impact on safety, for complete protection of both employees and assets.
In addition, the technology can improve risk management and ensure compliance with mining safety regulations through the implementation of a management and control system for monitoring and enforcing safety issues relating to personnel working underground such as lamp issue as well as red ticket and competency certificates.
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