October 4th 2016, I just received Coal Mine Fatalgram #8 for 2016 from MSHA, the Mining Safety and Health Administration in the US. Last year there were 9. Last week I received Metal/NonMetal Fatalgram #12 for 2016. More than one death per month is just too many. But, I also receive MSHA serious injury notices almost every week. For the last twenty years I have worked to improve safety performance in many of the worlds largest companies and across multiple industries. I have worked in the US, across Europe and in Asia and the Middle East and implemented lean processes, efficient business models and integrated software systems for Health, wellness and safety management. In every country, Mining is the industry that I have found to be most resistant to any ideas, systems or improvements. It is a closed door. No one wants to admit there is a problem. They will do the minimum required and that is all, beyond that they want no visibility to outsiders.
This baffles me because mining accidents have the potential to be extremely serious and highly visible. If for no other reason safety should be a high priority and a major concern simply for the PR repercussions. There may be a few mining companies that are serious about safety beyond lip service. However, fear of exposure often outweighs their willingness to improve on safety procedures and processes. Safety matters EVERYWHERE and even one death is too many.
Do you work in the mining industry? Have thoughts about Safety? Let’s hear your comments. How can we do better?