Traditional mining operations are not immune to the post-pandemic effects of lost profits and an evolving workforce. As enterprise operations struggle to meet pre-pandemic production levels, they must also do so in a way that complies with new health-safety mandates and promotes a secure environment for their employees. Failure to rise to such a challenge not only negatively affects profits, but leaves an operation open to unimaginable risk.
Further compounding these challenges is the fact that mining workforces are similar to those found in construction wherein the work tends to be temporary and often performed by workers who travel from one job site to the next. Maintaining proper oversight of an ever-changing workforce is key to protecting both people and profits. Competency management software and physical access control systems (PACS) help achieve the kind of oversight required, but alone are not as effective or efficient as they could be.
Data mining makes use of the reams of data gathered by such systems to address multiple challenges unique to the mining industry and boost an operation’s bottom line. Here’s how.
What is Data Mining?
Since the inception of corporate mining, various hardware and software solutions have played a critical role in helping organizations manage their workforces. For years these systems (PACS, competency management software, time clocks, HR software, etc.) worked independently to perform their necessary functions whether it be to prevent unauthorized access or ensure an employee had completed the necessary training. However, by operating in silos, these systems were limited in their ability to proactively address noncompliance or inappropriate access.
Data mining effectively aggregates and processes the data gathered from PACS and other related enterprise systems to provide mining operations with a holistic view of every employee, contractor, and visitor on site. In this way, mining operations can take advantage of the data already available to them to create a more proactive approach to physical security, compliance, and overall workforce management. Best of all, the entire process is automated and makes use of systems already in place, saving operations value time and resources.
What Does Data Mining Look Like?
Imagine the ability to limit access to a job site based on whether or not the employee has completed their training requirements. Or automating random drug and alcohol testing without giving any indication to individuals based on observation, history, or other discretionary factors prior to gaining on-site access. Or ensuring audit confidence by maintaining detailed audit trails of all enrolled individuals, access level changes, and automating periodic access audits — all in near real time.
With data mining, this all is possible.
How Does Data Mining Help Boost Profits?
By mining data from existing enterprise systems, mining operations gain visibility to activities and data that may otherwise go undetected to dramatically improve overall operations. These improvements can also have a dramatic effect on the bottom line.
Prevent Costly Compliance Infractions: Mining operations are highly regulated, and for good reason. It is of the utmost importance to maintain employee safety while on site, leading to a number of regulations set forth by the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), and other state and local entities. A violation of such regulations can lead to costly fines and long-term profit loss if the infraction necessitated a halt in production.
With data mining, mining operations can enforce safety requirements by automatically establishing and validating access rights based on local policies across all mining facilities and internal sites. This includes using PACS technology to curtail worker fatigue, which is a common source of workplace errors, accidents, and lost productivity.
Automate Manual Processes: Changing user access is a traditionally manual process that necessitates human capital to approve access changes, assist with on/off-boarding, etc. These needs are often compounded due to the transient nature of the mining workforce, which can also create a backlog of requests and the hidden issue known as Access Chaos. Manual tasks also introduce the opportunity for costly human errors. Perhaps a missed email requesting an access change or wrong keyboard stroke results in an individual having inappropriate access.
Data mining software automates many of these error-prone manual processes with provisioning for smart on-boarding and enrollment, badge management, access requests, access audits, off-boarding, and numerous other processes that affect access and compliance across an enterprise. The human capital once required to oversee such processes are now free to handle more mission critical tasks.
Create a Zero Trust Environment: Physical access plays an instrumental role in preventing cybersecurity breaches. Many high-profile cyberattacks result from an individual gaining physical access to a server, IP phone, laptop, or other IoT using expired, stolen or copied ID badges, falsified emails, or other invalid credentials. Once inside the controlled perimeter of a facility, any type of networked device becomes a prime attack surface that can be easily weaponized to bring operations to a screeching halt (or worse).
Data mining helps prevent physical cyber breaches from occurring by automating the management of all physical access control activities and policies. Specific proactive measures such as tracking and reporting anomalous access activities, limiting access privileges, and maintaining compliance and security policy mandates helps enforce zero trust.
RightCrowd Workforce Access effectively mines data from existing PACS solutions to deliver new insights on all access activities for a much broader scope of business intelligence applications across the enterprise. Our advanced software solution not only automates manual processes, it provides visibility to activities and data that may otherwise go undetected. RightCrowd Workforce Access software seamlessly integrates with PACS and other enterprise systems, applying attribute-based access control (ABAC) rules to ensure that all mining personnel and contractors who are on-site are in compliance with established safety and health requirements, and are accounted for in the event of an emergency.
Discover how RightCrowd Workforce Access can improve operational and health safety, mitigate risks, enhance productivity, and increase profits at your mining facilities. Learn more here!