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Speaking SafeNickel with Scott, Mine Serviceperson at Fraser Mine

Author: Glencore Canada | Date: 12/09/2017

Glencore’s first priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of its employees. To achieve this, we must identify, manage and mitigate health and safety hazards in our workplace. In order to help realize this goal, we launched SafeWork to provide a common global foundation to build our culture of safety worldwide.

At our nickel assets, SafeWork has been adapted as SafeNickel, which supports the operation’s individual safety programs and protocols. 

Speaking SafeNickel connects with Glencore employees asking them about SafeNickel, and safety in general. In this interview, we chat with Scott, Mine Serviceperson at our Fraser Mine, part of Sudbury INO.

Glencore Canada: What does SafeNickel mean to you?

Scott: SafeNickel means safety over production. SafeNickel gives me comfort knowing that my employer is more concerned with me returning home safely at the end of the day than promoting a job to be done in an unsafe manner that could lead to my personal harm or that of a colleague’s.

SafeNickel means safety over production. SafeNickel gives me comfort knowing that my employer is more concerned with me returning home safely at the end of the day than promoting a job to be done in an unsafe manner that could lead to my personal harm or that of a colleague’s.

Scott, Mine Serviceperson at Fraser Mine, part of Sudbury INO

Glencore Canada: What changes are resulting from using safety standards such as the fatal hazard protocols (FHP)?

Scott: Before being hired by Glencore, I was employed as a mining contractor for various companies and worked on many different mine sites. One thing I have found moving from site to site is the difference in which safety plays a priority. When I started working in the mines, I found that the industry had an unspoken grey area where some jobs that were completed were potentially unsafe or had a high hazard risk; as long as the job was completed without injury, nobody thought twice about how the job was done. 

The FHP approach has made mining more black and white; safer. This approach identifies, without question, whether a job is safe or unsafe, and determines the best and safest approach of going about the completion of the job. The implementation of this approach has given confidence to workers, including myself. This is particularly true of people new to the trade who feel comfortable voicing their opinion as opposed taking on an unsafe task due to the fear of what an employer may think of them if safety concerns were raised.

Glencore Canada: Do you have an example of how safety standards and/or the FHP approach has added value at Sudbury INO?

Scott: Because of the FHP approach, when starting a shift and analyzing the tasks at hand with my partner, we seem to be on the same page identifying the hazards associated with the job. It’s times like these when you see firsthand the benefits of a system paying off; when the person beside you is seeing risks in the same safe manner as you. That the system is being accepted by all personnel on a wide scale regardless of age or experience, is important.

Glencore Canada: What are your current concerns regarding safety and how do you contribute to preventing a safety incident?

Scott: One concern I have at our site is one that makes Fraser Mine unique. At Fraser, two mines (Morgan and Copper) are run and operated on their own, but share one single shaft. Having been to many different mine sites and having seen the way they are run and operated, Fraser Mine is a busier mine on surface, as well as underground. Having identified the risk, I mitigate it by always sharing advice in a positive manner to people who may be unaware that what they’re doing could potentially get them hurt, and how. 

An example of this regards one of my duties underground – operating a 40-tonne haulage truck. In some sites underground, the haulage equipment has designated travel routes isolating them from other smaller vehicles. Occasionally, I’ll encounter a vehicle operating too closely to my haulage truck, or working in the blind spot of my haulage truck. Instead of just asking the person to move, I’ll stop and explain that given the size of my vehicle, I can only see about 15% of what’s around me and if I have to sneak by, we’re too close to each other. A little understanding about our respective roles can go a long way.

Glencore Canada: Has your behaviour regarding safety evolved since you joined Sudbury INO? And what events have influenced you positively?

Scott: My behaviour regarding safety has definitely evolved since I’ve joined Fraser Mine. I’ve noticed now that regardless of what job may be in front of me, I stop and identify all safety hazards prior to starting the task. Previously, I would rely on my experience and common sense to identify unsafe hazards as I went. Working at Fraser Mine, and following all safety precautions and regulations, I realize how that initial mind frame is what could lead employees to overlook safety without realizing it. 

I know I have been positively influenced by the safety approach and behaviours at Glencore because I take it home with me on my days off. Whether it’s working around the farm, or heading to camp, I’m always thinking about what could happen and how fast things could and can go wrong. Placing safety first at work has caused me to put safety first in life.