In the heat of the summer and our peak season, we often are confronted with high demand for our resources. It is often easy for us to overlook our most valuable resources and a large part of our success: the teams we work with every day from employees, to customers, to community stakeholders. During this busy time of year it is appropriate that we take five to ensure our teams are performing in a safe and efficient manner. In addition, we should ask, “Are our teams being utilized to their full potential?”
Through June 30, 2015, the mining industry experienced 17 deaths – nine within the Metal/Nonmetal category with five of the nine being in aggregate operations. These numbers should be disturbing to all of us, and we should be asking ourselves, “Do we have the right safety culture in place within our operations? Is our performance within our Colorado operations a result of how strong and effective our safety culture is or is it luck?” We all know that simply complying with CFR 30 Part 46 will not prevent the possibility that one of our team members will not go home safe at the end of the day. The only way to reach a goal of our teams going home safe to their families every day is through the development of a strong safety culture, which is focused on making safe decisions, developing safe habits, and establishing standards well above those prescribed by MSHA. This culture will not develop overnight. It will take time to develop, and the key to its development is strong leadership at all levels and engaging the hearts and minds of team members. The team members need to drive the culture for it to be successful. What type of culture exists within your facilities?
A good resource for understanding the key elements of a strong safety culture within an organization is the book, “A Race Against Time”; it is a book that explains the key principles for success within a mining environment through a story format. We as an industry must protect our most valuable resources by providing the environment and setting the stage for a strong safety culture to develop. Not only will our team members go home to their families every day, the productivity and cost effectiveness of our operations will also improve.
So, in this busy time of the year, let’s take five to ensure our teams are keeping their minds on task and looking out for each other so we do not have another miner who does not return home to his family at the end of the day. Be Safe!
CSSGA Board President
Regional VP/GM – Martin Marietta | Aggregates | Rocky Mountain Division