December 8, 2021  

PREVIEW: Mining Newsletter Issue #2

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Creating a culture for mining employees to speak up - myths and realities

We know that our employees servicing equipment are at high risk of getting injured. Recognizing this, SMS Equipment is creating a culture where our employees feel safe to discuss behaviours that lead to incidents before they happen.  We celebrate and share these stories across SMS Equipment and the shift in culture will have a positive impact on our employees physical health and mental well-being. 

For this edition of Experts' Corner, we checked in with three of our team members who contributed to making the program what it is today and providing the necessary resources for our teams:
  • Jonathan Soper, General Manager, OHSE
  • Jen Sutter, Manager, Health and Well Being
  • Rhonda Clarke-Tobin Benefits & Well-being Advisor
Between them, they share some of the myths and realities about keeping mining employees safe and healthy.
We are working to reduce the number of hand injuries in the workplace as it continues to be our number one reported injury, at 28% of all injuries sustained at SMS Equipment.
Safety Tip: Actions to prevent hand injuries includes training on selecting the proper gloves for the task, taking an investigative approach to ensure all affected parties understand “why” an employee put their hands in the line of fire, and ensuring everyone is accountable to “see it, own it, and report it,” so we can share key learnings.

Reality:In mining, health and safety are central to each employee's relationship with the company, and consequently, everybody's business.  In fact, our entire program rests on company-wide engagement in behavioural conversations and constant reinforcement that SMS Equipment cares about its employees.

Jonathan: Many companies are looking to drive safety conversations down to the worker level, and we believe it's essential to do just that. We are creating a culture where courage is not required to discuss behaviours in the workplace that lead to near misses, unsafe acts and conditions.  Also, taking the time to recognize positive behaviours to reinforce “what good looks like.”  These leading indicators are discussed and formally recorded into our system, where there's accountability for taking action and reporting back to an employee on the progress.

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2. Myth: Past incidents and trends tell managers what they need to know about health and safety risks.

3. Myth: Health and safety programs are a necessary expense that weighs against the bottom line.

4. Myth: When you don't hear from employees about health and safety issues, that's a sign that things are under control.

5. Myth: An employee's work and personal life are two separate issues.

6. Myth: Senior managers don't belong on the shop floor.

7. Myth: Workplace design issues should be left to the engineers.

Next steps:

Do you want to know more about our proactive safety program? We would be happy to share the knowledge and best practices we’ve learned along the way.
Jonathan Soper 
General Manager, OHSE
"Safety is up to each of us and we all have an important role in protecting each other – that’s why we’re asking every employee to declare a personal commitment. We want everyone to articulate what they will do to prevent injuries and incidents at work so we can keep safety top-of-mind and hold each other accountable for looking out for one another."
A statement Jonathan Soper made to all of our employees to promote the declaration of individual safety commitments at all levels.