Across the mining industry, the number of mining fatalities and non-fatal injuries is decreasing. Compared to other industries, however, injury rates remain high. As gold grades decline and new deposits are harder to find, we can expect mining conditions to become more challenging. As a result, the industry is investing in new technology to reduce these risks. One area we are exploring is remote operation of surface and underground equipment and the use of drones to inspect and measure difficult to access areas. We are evaluating the use of autonomous vehicles where the equipment self-operates without the need for operator intervention. The skill-set needed for mining is also changing. As we introduce new technology, recruitment and training programs will need to be modified to accommodate these differences.
Additionally, the overall focus on health in the workplace is expanding; not only exposures to materials such as respirable dust and silica, and environmental conditions such as noise and heat, but the overall health of the worker and its impact on safety is of increased priority. Managing fatigue, obesity and musculoskeletal diseases takes a comprehensive approach that looks at work and home environment, fitness, diet and medical or occupational health monitoring.
Why Is This Important to Our Stakeholders?
Our stakeholders want us to ensure that our working environment is safe, and that we are committed to ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for all. They want us to cooperate with interested parties and with the industry on safety and health matters to improve the industry as a whole. They want to eliminate fatalities, and for us to re-examine our workplace practices and address issues identified as precursors to safety incidents.
Why Is This Important to Us?
Safety is critical to us because our people are our strength, today and in the future. Of all our company values, none is more important than safety: no ounce of gold is worth risking a life or injury. Our commitment, above anything else, is to have Zero Fatalities. We failed in that objective in 2016, and it is clear we have more work to do in this area. Safety begins with preparation: anticipating incidents before they happen and improving ongoing training to identify risks and respond appropriately when the unexpected happens.
Our strategy is to create and maintain a culture of safety and health in the workplace, as embodied in our safety vision, “Safe Enough for Our Families”. We recognize that individuals are ultimately responsible for their own safety, and we strive to equip our employees with the tools, training and attitudes needed for continual safety awareness. Continual monitoring and evaluation of our safety performance is integral for us to achieve our vision.
Our Safety and Health strategy is embedded in our Sustainability Excellence Management System (SEMS). Our strategy is as follows:
We believe that we can only achieve our vision of “Safe Enough for Our Families” when each and every Goldcorp employee is actively engaged in our safety culture. We realize that our systems and processes are only as good as the leadership and commitment we demonstrate on the job. Our vision is reflected in three basic principles: Care, Think and Act.
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We provide an environment that demonstrates that safety is a core value, that we care about our people, and that we are prepared to listen, learn and act.
All tasks contain an element of risk. We expect all employees to think about their actions – not only about the impact a decision might have on themselves, but also their co-workers.
We provide procedures, programs, systems and training to ensure that tasks can be completed safely. We encourage all employees to share best practices and improve the ways in which we carry out our work functions.
Our corporate safety and health function is headed by the Vice President of Safety and Health, who reports directly to the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. The Vice President of Safety and Health is responsible for the oversight, strategic development and management of our safety and health policies, programs and activities. They work with all functions of the organization, including Operations, Exploration, Projects and Administration, to enable safety excellence across the company. All our operations have Safety and Health managers responsible for supporting the implementation of our strategies on a day-to-day basis.
Our Chief Executive Officer is ultimately accountable for our safety performance. At the Board level, the Sustainability Committee has oversight of all safety and health functions.