Safety is job one in the minerals industry, and each year, the John T. Ryan Trophies are
awarded in recognition of outstanding achievements in that most important aspect of
mining: safety. The John T. Ryan Trophies are awarded at the CIM Awards Gala by Mine
Safety Appliances Canada Limited, as a memorial to the founder of the company. The
Canadian trophies are handed out to mines in three categories—metalliferous, select, and
coal—all of which, in the previous year, experienced the lowest reportable injury frequency
per 200,000 hours worked in Canada. The John T. Ryan committee sets the eligibility criteria.
Instances that are counted include modified or restricted duty (when a person gets hurt
to the point where they cannot perform their regular duties) and lost time injuries (when
a person cannot work at all). After speaking with each of the winning companies, it was obvious their efforts
all boiled down to the same goal: to make sure everyone goes home at the end of the day.
The award for the metal mines category went to North Mine in Copper Cliff,Ontario.The underground project
is owned and operated by CVRD Inco Ltd. and opened back in 1967. The nickel/copper mine extracts about
4,200 tonnes a day and employs about 260 people.Vice President Michael Winship said their long-time vision
of ‘zero accidents’ has finally become a reality. Since December 2005, the mine has gone 920 days without a
Winship credits their winning to strong safety leadership: everyone from upper management down
through to the workers have all pulled together to make the environment as safe as possible. They’ve had
strong safety systems for years and recently they’ve started doing Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment.
The technique consists basically of individual assessment. First, evaluate the situation or risk in the workplace.
Once the risk has been identified, then go through options on how
the risks can be mitigated and brought into an acceptable zone.
They also have a program at the worker level called S.U.P.A. See
the hazard, understand the hazard, plan a course of action before
working, and act using the appropriate tools, equipment, and procedures.
CVRD Inco likes to create an environment in which workers
are fully engaged and can feel like partners in how the company is
run—so far the results have been positive and have proven to be
There has been a noticeable rise in empowered and inspired
employees at the mine—everyone seems to want to join in on the
safety dance. At CVRD Inco’s Coleman Mine, one worker actually
came in on his own time and did an entire risk assessment in Power
Point, identifying hazards and finding solutions to mitigate them.
Individuals can come forward with ideas and suggestions on how
to make the workplace a safer place to be. At North Mine, safety is
part of their culture, and CVRD Inco is very proud to be one of the
leaders in safety performance.