System safety uses a system-based approach and the application of engineering and management principles, mechanisms, and techniques to optimize safety. 

 The purpose of this white paper is to provide a comprehensive view of the need for a system safety approach for those deploying and using autonomous systems in the mining industry. It also aims to increase awareness of system safety and its benefits in delivering and maintaining safe and efficient autonomous systems. This document, however, does not provide a detailed procedure to manage system safety.  

 This white paper addresses the use of autonomous systems within the mining industry, both surface and underground. It applies to all autonomous machines and to the integration of autonomous and semi-autonomous machines with manually operated machines, as well as to complex integrated systems of systems across the mining industry. While this white paper was developed with a focus on autonomous systems, most of the information is general and is also relevant to manual operations. 

This project is led by the Autonomous Mining Working Group


  • Introduction and Background: Provides history and context about system safety and the value of the approach within the broader context of workplace safety in mining. 
  • System Safety Management: Provides an overview of applying a system safety approach by describing an example of a lifecycle and offering further considerations about hazard identification and risk assessment and non-deterministic systems. 
  • Safety Case: Defines the purpose of a safety case in the context of autonomous systems in mining and some of the typical contents within one. 
  • Human-Systems Integration: Describes the significance of eliminating or controlling risks to humans and the environment over the course of a system’s lifecycle.  
  • Software Safety Management: Provides context on some factors that influence the degree of risk reduction that can be considered for a software-based safety control in the development and operation of autonomous systems. 


The System Safety for Autonomous Mining White Paper has now been published. Thank you to all of those who were involved in this project and contributed to the publication of this white paper. We encourage you to share this white paper with your company and network and to get involved in future projects on system safety.


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