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Taking “safety share” to the next level

A new CIM society dedicated to the health and well-being of the people in our industry

Since CIM was founded in 1898, safety in the mining industry has improved dramatically. As these workplaces have grown safer, so have expectations of what can and should be done to ensure the safety of the workforce. In recent years, miners have set their sights on an objective - zero harm -  that once would have been unthinkable, while at the same time asking important questions about what defines a healthy and safe work environment. COVID-19 has added a new layer of safety concerns that has only sharpened the focus on this issue. 

This underscored the need for the newly created Health & Safety Society (HSS), the first in many decades of CIM’s history, and the 11th society to join CIM. Originally founded as the CIM Safety Committee, the longer term goal was to eventually transition into a technical society by building credibility, developing a vision, mission and core strategic goals, objectives and actions. The HSS as a society was formally established by the CIM Council on August 28.

CIM Past President Michael Winship (2016-2017) was among a number of committed national members who championed the effort. Winship said he believes the evolution of the Safety Committee into a formal society was necessary “to ensure strong focus on safety throughout CIM and, ultimately, the mining industry. Although safety should be a strong component of all societies, the creation of [the HSS] will ensure a dominant thrust on protecting our people.” 

The HSS will provide nationwide technical support focused on mining industry health, safety and wellness. And now as a formal society, the HSS provides the opportunity for individual membership for those with an interest in health and safety.

For mine health and safety professionals and those passionate about the subject, the HSS is an opportunity for networking and sharing of knowledge on a national scale. 

In addition, CIM’s partnership and contributions as part of the Global Mineral Professionals Alliance (GMPA) provides the necessary infrastructure to exchange health and safety knowledge on a global scale as well as participate in GMPA-partner conferences.

Glenn Lyle, Chair of the HSS, sees the society acting as a valuable space to exchange ideas and best practices, enhance member outreach and offer members a global perspective on the topic. 

“There has not been a national industry organization to facilitate this sharing. Through CIM connections, we will be able to maintain connections with other national mining organizations,” said Lyle. “Mining is certainly a global business and we need to be able to offer our members a global perspective.”

Aside from supporting the strategic goals of CIM, the HSS will share knowledge and contribute ideas and best practices at the annual CIM Convention and other events, host specialty events and work with other organizations. 

The bottom line for the HSS is contributing to the total elimination of critical injuries and fatalities in the mining industry.

“There is nothing more sobering or upsetting than an accident in our industry,” said CIM President Samantha Espley. “The work of this society will make a vital contribution to the efforts of mining management at our operations. Certainly, we have made huge improvements in safety over the years, and yet we continue to need to do more, as we strive for zero harm. [the HSS] is an essential society.”

CIM National members in good standing can join the HSS and help contribute to its growth. For those who are not current CIM National members, a membership can be purchased at cim.org/membership. A strategy session will be held in the near future and the HSS will be looking for ideas on how it can fulfill its goals and address gaps in the industry.