This guideline provides a common approach to applying functional safety to autonomous systems and references international standards within the context of the mining industry and its current maturity. It also describes clear expectations for the communication requirements to support change management and effective application.

Mining is transitioning into automation, but international standards that are applicable are not clearly defined and managing functional safety becomes unclear. There are several reasons for this lack of clarity:

• The use of autonomous systems is accelerating but adoption is uneven across the industry.

• Current OPSs are at different stages of maturity in terms of managing functional safety.

• Several international and national functional safety standards exist, but there is a lack of clarity on what applies to autonomous systems in mining.

• Some regulatory authorities do not provide specific guidance on the requirements for functional safety

I have passed the guideline on already to my team at SMTafe to use in the newly created Cert II in automation for the unit on functional safety. - Peta Chirgwin, SMTafe Munster campus (ACEPT)


2020 Aug | GMG has published the Guideline for Applying Functional Safety to Autonomous Systems in Mining.

Functional safety is an important industry challenge as adoption of autonomous systems grows. While autonomous mining is an opportunity to remove people from potentially hazardous situations, there are also residual risks. Automatic protection systems in a mining environment need to respond to various kinds of errors and changes in conditions, such as human error, software failures and operational/environmental stress. Click here to read guideline.

2020 Jul | Guideline voting period

Guideline voting ongoing: The review period for Guideline for Applying Functional Safety to Autonomous Systems in Mining is now closed and the final draft is circulating among GMG members within the Autonomous Mining Working Group to vote on publication. If you did not receive the vote information by email or are unsure about your company’s membership status, please contact us here.

2020 May | Update on the guideline review 

Project has made significant progress, feedback received from Working Group has been revised, pending software section has been incorporated, and is currently in its final stages.

2020 Feb | Update on the guideline review

The project leaders met twice with representatives from ICMM, EMESRT and CMEIG to review our groups’ respective work on the topic. As a result of these meetings, an updated draft of the guideline will soon be circulated back to the working group for further review.

2019 Dec | Working Group Review 

The draft guideline was circulated within the working group for review.

2019 Jan | Project wins award

Shortly after it was launched in 2018, this project won the Mining Magazine Safety Award. Read more about why here.