For Dominion Diamond, safety is not only a priority, it is a core value. While priorities change, values are ingrained and constant. A goal of Zero Harm drives our health and safety culture.
We recently introduced an integrated health, safety, and environment management system (HSEMS) to meet our goals and requirements under ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. The HSEMS is a series of management processes that provide a framework for ensuring that tasks are performed consistently, correctly, and effectively to drive continuous improvement in health, safety, and environmental performance.
In India, we established a Health and Safety Committee which meets regularly to review and monitor work standards.
Progress towards Zero Harm is measured using the North American standard of All Injury Frequency Rate (AIFR), a metric introduced in 2014 that covers lost-time injuries, restricted work duties, and medical treatment cases. In 2015, the Ekati mine achieved an AIFR of 1.06, an improvement of 0.18 over our 2014 performance. As of the end of December 2015, the Ekati workforce achieved 67 days without a single recordable injury (the mine remained recordable injury free for 129 days in total).
A key catalyst for improvement was the behavioural-based Zero Incident Process (ZIP) program. Since the program was launched in October 2014, more than 90% of our workforce has attended the one-day basic training module and all supervisors have participated in the two-day module.
To encourage employees to take a proactive approach to safety, we present semi-annual awards in the areas of Health Safety Environment and Communities (HSEC) and Business Improvement (BI). An individual or group is then chosen to receive the annual Chief Operating Officer (COO) Award, in recognition of an achievement that makes a significant impact on how we operate and the long-term success of the company. In 2015, Brent Mosher, a Warehouse Technician, earned the Chief Operating Officer Award for recognizing and addressing a safety hazard in a storage sprung building.
Brent recognized that a large number of beams were missing safety lock pins in a storage sprung building. Although there was no immediate danger, Brent took the initiative to address the issue. In just over four hours, Brent and his team corrected the situation and ensured the safety of all people in the area.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
The Working on Wellness (WoW) program is a collaboration between Dominion Diamond’s Health and Safety department and the GNWT Department of Health and Social Services. The program aims to reduce preventable cancers and other chronic diseases through comprehensive workplace education and wellness activities.
In December 2015, we surveyed employees to assess their utilization of the WoW program, including satisfaction with the program and its impact on health behaviours. Results showed that there is a high level of readiness among the workforce to pursue a healthier lifestyle or make changes to health-related behaviours. An extraordinary 79% of respondents had tried to make healthier choices since the introduction of the WoW program. We plan to capture the momentum created by the WoW program to offer a wide variety of activities.
Because the Ekati mine is an industrial workplace, we monitor our employees for long-term occupational health risks. Monitoring programs focus on diesel particulate, silica, welding fumes, and noise levels. Medical surveillance programs include pulmonary (lung) and audiometric (hearing) testing.
Given the risks associated with mining, Dominion Diamond has robust emergency response and crisis management capabilities. The Emergency Response Team (ERT) at the Ekati mine is a dedicated team of volunteer employees who are professionally and competently trained to protect our workforce during emergencies. Each new member completes an intensive five-day program that includes theoretical and practical testing of emergency response and mine rescue techniques. Training time is crucial for the competency of our ERT members. The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) requires a minimum of 48 hours of ERT training per year; at Dominion Diamond, our policy is a minimum of 72 hours.
To test their elite response skills, ERT members are invited to compete in the annual Territorial Mine Rescue Competition each June. The competition includes a series of skill-testing events in field competitions, first aid scenarios, and surface and underground obstacles. The 58th annual competition saw the Ekati mine ERT take home the Overall Surface and Overall Underground trophies, in addition to four single category wins. Following their win, the team travelled to Fernie, BC, where they competed in the biennial National Western Region Mine Rescue Competition. Once again, the team had a fantastic showing, winning the top Overall Underground competition.