We recognize that there is more to ensuring worker health and well-being than simply working to prevent injuries. We strive to create and maintain a safe, healthy working environment through the prevention and treatment of occupational diseases. We want our workforce to avoid exposure to occupational illnesses that are both preventable and detectable.
Through biological monitoring, environmental monitoring and various medical examinations, we seek to prevent occupational diseases from arising in the first place. Common occupational diseases in the mining industry include dust and noise exposure, fatigue, and trauma from vibration and strains.
We follow a hierarchy of hazard controls to reduce and eliminate environmental exposure to occupational disease, where the last line of defence is Personal Protective Equipment and the strongest defence is eliminating the hazard altogether. A total of 15 occupational diseases were reported by sites in 2015, which amounts to an occupational disease rate (ODR) of 0.06. Our industrial hygiene program, rolled out in 2013, has helped sites implement best practices to identify and mitigate risks associated with exposures.
Top Three Occupational Diseases
In general, each mine carries out its own specific occupational health program, depending on its individual demographics and risks of exposure. Programs include health sampling and surveys for hazards such as chemical, dust and noise exposures, as well as providing such services as ergonomic surveys, pulmonary function tests and physical exams. Although no specific corporate-wide programs exist, several Goldcorp mines have proactive programs in place to address the potential for serious diseases and health problems, including drug and alcohol abuse, smoking cessation and diabetes.
Community Safety and Health Programs
For the benefit of our local communities, we coordinate health programs that provide basic medical services through local community and government organizations. Several mines also offer wellness programs for employees, family members and local communities. For example, Red Lake, Los Filos and Peñasquito hosted popular health and safety fairs, which welcomed local communities on-site for educational and fun activities to raise awareness about health and safety in the community and on-site.
In December 2014, we committed C$605,000 over a two-year period to the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF). These funds are aimed at supporting stroke awareness, professional development, Telestroke preparedness and integration activities, focused mainly at our operations in Canada as well as their surrounding communities, which are typically remote and/or lack such services locally. Project work began in March 2015.
This gift will support the HSF in implementing a three-point strategy to improve stroke awareness and outcomes in the key areas identified above, by focusing on:
- Stroke awareness: Improving awareness of the signs of stroke and the importance of seeking immediate medical treatment
- Professional development: Training key health professionals at the sites and surrounding communities on the latest best practices in stroke prevention and care
- Telestroke preparedness and integration: Supporting Red Lake healthcare providers and communities near the Éléonore mine in assessing capacity and establishing key partnerships with the goal of further integration into regional stroke systems