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Speaking SafeNickel with Karen, Occupational Hygiene Technologist, at Sudbury INO

Author: Glencore Canada | Date: 23/04/2019

Glencore’s first priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of its employees. To achieve this, we must identify and manage 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. 

In the Speaking SafeNickel series, Glencore Canada connects with employees asking them about SafeNickel, and safety in general. In this interview, we connect with Karen, Occupational Hygiene Technologist, at Sudbury INO. 

Glencore Canada: What does SafeNickel mean to you? 

Karen: SafeNickel means exactly that: “mining nickel safely from start to finish” – that’s my number one priority every day for myself and my co-workers and I am glad that the company feels the same way and is promoting it company-wide.

Glencore Canada: What changes have resulted from using safety standards such as the fatal hazard protocols (FHPs)?

Karen: The changes that I have seen over the years is that now we are all focusing on the same issues. The fatal hazard protocols make it clear to all employees the standards that must be met by everyone every day. Everyone is on the same page.

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Karen's work as an Occupational Hygiene Technologist often has her working in the field and wearing her Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

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

Karen: It has added value because when we do our crew meetings in the morning we discuss specific safety issues that we know are present in our working environment. The intention is to get people to talk about safety issues and it’s working; the FHPs are based on previous experiences, so we know the issues are real. 

One relevant example that brought value this year was the introduction of anti-slip soles to be used on footwear when working outdoors, particularly in inclement weather such as snow and rain. Anti-slip soles are particularly useful when employees and contractors work at height, such as on a ladder. A ladder can accumulate ice and snow compounding the nature of the risk of a slip, trip or fall given the height involved. 

The new anti-slip soles arrived on time too as this winter has been particularly harsh, with more snow, ice and wind than we have been accustomed to over the past few years.

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

Karen: The Process Gas Project at the Smelter (Glencore Canada: the Process Gas Project represents a significant investment to enable the Smelter on site to further improve on emissions) is bringing about a tremendous amount of change on site due to an influx of contractors, large-scale equipment entering and exiting the site and an increased traffic flow. With so many new faces and different types of activity around, upholding consistent safety standards can become a challenge. 

I contribute to preventing a safety incident by getting out into the operation to visit all areas of the Smelter to initiate safety conversations with colleagues – employees and contractors alike – in a positive manner, with a focus on acknowledging those who apply safety standards.

I contribute to preventing a safety incident by getting out into the operation to visit all areas of the Smelter to initiate safety conversations with colleagues – employees and contractors alike – in a positive manner, with a focus on acknowledging those who apply safety standards.

Karen, Occupational Hygiene Technologist at Sudbury INO

Glencore Canada: How has your behaviour regarding safety evolved since you joined Sudbury INO? What events have influenced you positively? 

Karen: Absolutely. In line with my increased knowledge of safety has been an evolution in my behaviour regarding safety. I have been working at Sudbury INO for 29 years and have not stopped learning about safety since my first day on the job. In fact, I am sure you will find that most of my family members find my need to educate them on safety quite annoying, but that doesn’t stop me from constantly ensuring things are done as safely as possible!