The contract aviation industry is furthering the adoption of a single international aviation risk standard, with mining giants Mineral Resources (MRL) and SSR Mining joining the Flight Safety Foundation’s Basic Aviation Risk Standard (BARS) Programme as BARS Member Organisations (BMOs). Prior to joining BARS, MRL and SSR Mining’s operations utilised the services of a range of aircraft operators (AO) across the globe to transport their employees. As there are wide variations in how companies assess the safety of outsourced air operations, AOs are subject to multiple audits annually.
BARS Programme Director David Anderson said the Program is one of only three standards globally recognised in aviation and the only standard applicable for contracted aviation suppliers. “Implementing a single standard reduces the audit burden on the operator, provides consistency and standardisation, and saves both the mining sector and the aviation suppliers a significant amount of money and time,” Anderson said. “Our standard comes from the industry, and we have become a conduit of collaborative information to promote safety among companies on the other side of the world, which is why we are so pleased to be seeing next year in with more Members on board for the BARS Programme.”
Headquartered in Australia and USA respectively, MRL and SSR Mining’s global footprint spans USA, Turkey, Canada, Australia, and Argentina.
SSR Mining Director Health, Safety and Risk, Andrew Lewin said he saw joining the Programme as an investment in improving aviation safety within the mining industry. “BARS provides an opportunity to raise standards across our aviation partners in managing the risk to our employees and contractors,” Lewin said.
MRL Exploration Safety Superintendent Alistair Christie said backing a consistent and globally recognised aviation standard is aligned with the company’s commitment to supporting the safety of its employees. “MRL’s success is driven by our people, including our committed fly-in-fly-out workforce across our iron ore and lithium operations,” Christie said. “We look forward to working with the Flight Safety Foundation to continue strengthening aviation safety across our business and the mining industry in general.”
As BMO’s MRL and SSR Mining and their aircraft operators will contribute audit and incident data to identify safety risks (non-conformities) and develop solutions to advance the safety of the contract aviation industry. The BARS Programme released data this year demonstrating that the onshore resource sector is on a downward trend in fatal accidents. The dataset includes all known accidents associated with the mining sector and covers all aviation activities, including passenger operations, aerial mustering, survey, helicopter sling loads, powerline construction and cargo.
Anderson said the downward trend demonstrates the impact of organisations implementing a consistent global standard. “The Flight Safety Foundation, through the BARS Program, is proud to be a part of this ongoing investment in improving aviation safety within the mining industry and the aircraft operators supporting this sector,” he said.