Open Cut

Selection and Optimisation of Risk Controls

Open Cut » Health and Safety

Published: June 15Project Number: C23007

Get ReportAuthor: Maureen Hassall, Jim Joy, Chris Doran & Marcus Punch | University of Queensland, Jim Joy & Associates, Mitacom & Marcus Punch Pty Ltd

The Australian coal mining industry recognises it is important to have effective controls to successfully manage risks. The importance of improving risk control has also been highlighted by the ICMM who suggest that "the top factors for why fatalities, serious injuries, serious diseases and high potential incidents occur are due to people not properly identifying risks, controls not being in place, or the controls not being effectively implemented or maintained. (ICMM 2013 Requests for proposals - Health and safety risk managing in the mining and metals sector)


ACARP has had a long history of investing in research focused on developing better approaches to risk control. Examples include ACARP project C20003 and its extensions Research and development of a RISKGATE resources system (Kirsh et al, 2011-2015), ACARP project 15011 Ext C26202 Acceptable Risk: A Matter of Establishing Adequate Control (Joy J and Kizil G, 2009), ACARP project C17014 Development of Risk-Cost-Benefit (RCB) Decision Support Tools, RCBGEN & RCEMETHOD with Practical Applications to Coal Mining High-Risk Areas (Kizil G V, Bye A & Joy J, 2012), and ACARP project C18021 Quantitative data assessment to support risk-based decision-making in the minerals industry (Yilmaz G V, 2014).


This study builds on the previously funded research to define practical 'Control Selection and Optimisation' methods for achieving tolerable risk at sites based on measured control effectiveness. The aim is to provide methods that help people proactively and objectively select potentially effective controls for addressing site based risks and to measure the effectiveness of the controls.


The approach used to develop practical methods for selecting and optimising risk controls was a cooperative research process. It involved conducting three workshops within which representatives from coal mining companies along with industry risk experts worked together to identify and refine best practice approaches to managing risk controls. In this document we describe the best practice approached identified for selecting and optimising risk controls. The recommended approach is based on 1) developing quality bowties, 2) assessing the effectiveness of controls and 3) using bowtie and control effectiveness information to improve the selection, optimisation and management of risk controls.


This document is a research report on the work done to develop practical methods for selecting and optimising risk controls. However, to help site and local corporate practitioners implement the findings, section 4 has been written as a stand-alone instructional manual on how to improve risk control selection and optimisation. The document concludes with a discussion on the research process, potential implications of work done and recommendations.


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