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Zero Injuries in the Mining Industry

Zero Injuries in the Mining Industry: Introduction

All supervisors and members of management must embrace the ideology that they are responsible for injuries that occur during the execution of work under their direction. When pain and loss occurs by injury, it becomes a moral issue; one that declares that no one has a right to harm another in this country. Regardless cost, schedule and even quality, management must find ways to eliminate all accidents on job sites. The only acceptable number of injuries is ZERO

As a supervisor it is there duty to observe workers and be aware of potential at-risk situations, unsafe actions and behaviors. When such is seen, action must follow. Supervisors must have an effective communication process with workers so that suggestions for elimination of hazards and a safe path of execution may be provided to those doing the work.

Supervisors must believe that injuries are preventable and none are acceptable. With that thought, a prudent supervisor should do everything in his/her power to eliminate at-risk situations that could lead to incidents that cause pain, suffering and losses to individuals and to the company.Supervisors should empower workers to step away from hazardous work and re-plan their actions, re-move hazards and re-start the work only when safe.

Safe work is the plan. Zero injury is the goal!

Use all your abilities to prevent injuries at the work site. It’s the right thing to do for all the right reasons.

“Zero Injury” as a concept is frequently misunderstood. Many say that it is unreasonable to expect workers to go uninjured; therefore “Zero Injury” is a misnomer. In this sense it might be, but like all words there is frequently more than one meaning.

Properly defined as now used, the term “Zero Injury” represents a position by management in the interest of the workers. The “Zero Injury” position adopted by employer’s top leaders is this: Zero injury is the desired end product. Any injury is unacceptable on its face. We are committed to “eliminate injury from the workplace.” This top leader stance sends the unfailing message to all employees that any injury is an unacceptable “non-quality” event.

With this definition, from the CEO on down in the organization, all management knows that there is no higher priority than to complete the work without injury. This is “safety commitment redefined.”

The world record for hours worked without a recordable in construction using the Zero Injury Concept now stands at 33,000,000+ hours. The contractor? S&B Engineers & Constructors of Houston Texas. The world record for hours worked without a Recordable now stands at 4,600,000 hours. The contractor? Again S&B of Houston, Texas.

This amazing performance has been achieved while embracing the notion that Zero Injury is the only acceptable end product of safety. Have these believers totally eliminated injury? No. But one can hardly argue with their success. Have these employers had to spend money on enlarged safety program content? The answer is Yes. They have spent significant sums of money in the area of safety awareness and education, but rather than lose money they have increased profit margins markedly because there are indeed greater losses in a workplace filled with the direct and indirect cost of injury than most people are willing to consider.

The Zero Injury Concept

The Zero Injury concept is based on the principal lead safety technique of a “Demonstrated Senior Management commitment to eliminate injury.” Flowing from this is a renewed commitment at all levels in an organization to work injury free. Once the employees see such a commitment to their welfare from their leaders they become more productive. This is not a theory. It is proven fact.

Why is this? Call today for your introduction to Zero Injury.

The Zero Injury concept does not mean another injury will never occur. But it does mean a commitment to working as many hours as you possibly can without another injury. And it means that if an injury does occur it is not just another “ho-hum” event because with the “Zero Injury” concept in place any injury is unacceptable and people react accordingly. Safety of the workers becomes primary! When all understand this, it is then the “extremely high cost” of worker injury can be reduced to sums that were only in your dreams prior to seeing it happen in your workplace.

Requirements to Achieve Zero Injury

  • Vision
  • a Commitment to Zero
  • a Culture Change
  • Unity of Purpose
  • Selling
  • Training
  • Time
  • Hard Work
  • Quality of Effort

The “Sounds Unreasonable” concerns addressed:

It is safe to say that eliminating injury is exactly what most folks in facility construction and maintenance or any industry have always wanted to do. It is also safe to say that no one wants an injury to occur to a worker. This being true leaves a company in a very frustrating position. Given that no one wants to be injured and no one wants an injury to occur, why then is it that worker injuries continue to happen?

Some wish to blame it all on the worker. These say that if the worker would just pay attention to what they are doing and comply with all of the safe work procedures then the workplace would be injury free. Others say that worker injury is all caused by an unsafe workplace. They further say that the cause of most all injury is because managers and supervisors keep pushing the workers to get the job done without proper re-gard for safety measures. The truth, of course, is much more complex than either of the above positions.

While the above argument is waged there are those in some quarters experiencing a new phenomenon on their projects. They are working millions of hours without any serious worker injury. Zero Lost Workday cases! Some have even worked a million hours without even so much as a Recordable! Yes, while the above argument rages, some are quietly eliminating serious injury from their projects! How do they do that? You can also!

Example from Lockhead Martin

Anyone who thinks changing safety direction and outcomes at a large company is impossible should look closely at Lockheed Martin (LM). Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, LM is a global security business that employs about 146,000 people worldwide.

In 2003, 530 LM employees missed work due to an injury. By 2008 that number had dropped to 280, and the injuries were less severe. What’s more, the total number of missed days was down to 7,820, compared with more than 20,000 in 2003. The change—a 56 percent drop in the corporate injury rate—was no accident.

Tools and Practices

Essential to the 5-year safety turnaround was helping employees develop and maintain a “zero accidents” mentality, a culture where avoiding injury is possible.
LM identifies the four key components associated with that culture:

Visible leadership. Leaders personally perform frequent environment, health, and safety (EHS) area inspections; ensure that team members are properly trained; and solicit, listen, and respond to employees’ ideas for improvement. Leaders establish performance objectives and use injury data to identify injury trends.

Accountability. Safety performance objectives are tied to employees’ annual evaluations. Honest reporting and prompt corrective action are rewarded. Leaders ensure that employees and managers receive training, most of which is available on the company’s internal Learning Management System. Also, the safety implications of all proposed process changes should be tracked.

Communication. Communicating about safety is an ongoing activity. It includes everything from routine safety conversations to making sure that performance metrics are included in employee reviews and made available to all personnel.

Employee involvement. Teams are asked for input about how leaders can make improvements. Cross-functional safety teams (including management, hourly, and salaried employees) participate in audits and communicate EHS information and actions. Employee and team contributions to a safer workplace are acknowledged through a corporate recognition program.

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