Modernisation is an important element in achieving improved health, safety and productivity in mining. Modern innovations and technologies such as the introduction of biometrics in business have led to advancements in business growth, increased safety and productivity. SATCAP commissioned research to test whether the same benefits could be reaped in the SAMI with respect to an improvement in health, safety, security and production.

Research and development

The research team looked at which organizational systems would be affected by smart biometric technologies. These typically include fingerprint recognition technology linking the employee identification to medical records, transport arrangements, location of personnel, and shift management. Data was collected utilising a combination of desktop studies and interviews with participants working in mining companies where biometric technology is already implemented. The data was analysed to uncover underlying themes.


Fingerprint-based biometric systems are the dominant form of biometrics used in South Africa. However, a shift towards facial recognition and finger vein devices are gaining prominence given the reliability of fingerprint systems where employees have worn out their fingerprint due to manual labour. These technologies are now being linked to organisational system infrastructure such as payroll, access control, time and attendance, security control, towards improving of health, safety and production.

Whilst beneficial, adoption of these technologies have raised concerns around several issues including the issue of privacy and how to make sure that the information gathered about the employee can be protected, and the assurance that the data will only be used for its intended use.

The project team recommends that more detailed investigation on the potential barriers to adoption and implementation, as well as potential solutions for improved success of the chosen biometric system is undertaken, and warns that the proper change management is critical to its success.



Research partners