Following the death this week of a 36-year-old man at Vale’s Smelter in Sudbury, mining industry safety is top of mind.
The manager of safety for GlencoreXstrata's Kidd operations in Timmins says a new safety program at its mine and metallurgical sites is showing promising results.
Ed Pieterse says no worker has been injured in 2014, aside from an incident last week when a worker went to hospital for strained muscles.
The program was put in place a few years ago. Having that long with zero harm is significant, he said.
The program includes getting employees to change their mindsets and check in with themselves as they work.
“If I'm tired [or] I'm fatigued, well maybe I should stop and stretch or maybe I need to take a little bit of a break and cool off or take a drink of water,” Pieterse said. “If you can embed some triggers into the workers that are doing the work, they can help themselves.”
Stats from the company show that injuries at the Kidd Operations have dropped from a high of 28 per million man hours in 2006 to 2.8 per million man hours in 2013.
It’s been a challenge to keep up with the workforce, he added.
“In that period, we've trained probably 50 per cent new employees in that group as well,” Pieterse said. “So it's not just [the] veteran work force.”