By: Paul Farrow, Senior Vice President, People & Safety
There are few true turning points in the history of a company. I believe Goldcorp’s inaugural Day of Remembrance will be recognized as one of those landmarks.
On October 30th, across our entire business from northern Canada to southern Argentina, every single operation and office stopped production for a company-wide Day of Remembrance. This day was an opportunity to stop and think about safety; how to identify risks and make our operations safer; and to pay respect to grieving family and friends who have lost their loved ones in industrial accidents over the years.
Amongst the executive team who participated in events at various sites, I joined the Wharf team in South Dakota in a deeply impactful meeting. The families of those who lost their lives attended sessions at various sites and were invited to address the attendees. As they shared their powerful and emotional stories, we were all deeply touched by how these families were impacted by the loss of their loved ones. Their messages to care, think, stay alert and stay safe so that our families don’t have to suffer – as they have – left a profound impact on everyone who participated.
Over the past 18 months we have worked alongside other mining companies to research and analyze the causes of fatalities and Potential Fatal Occurrences. What we have seen is an industry-wide decrease in the number of injuries. Unfortunately, the industry has not achieved similar reductions in the occurrence of fatalities. Our track record as an industry demonstrates that we are not yet Safe Enough for Our Families and clearly we still have a lot of work to do. This focus on eliminating fatalities will continue to be our highest priority.
The purpose of the Day of Remembrance was to not only educate but to encourage employees to speak up and intervene if they see something that they feel is unsafe. If we are going to create sites that are Safe Enough for Our Families, we need to work together, to look out for each other and be accountable to ourselves, our coworkers and our families.
We need to go beyond thinking “what are chances something could go wrong”, and also consider “what are the consequences if something does go wrong.” We can’t get comfortable or complacent around the equipment and environments we are working with every day.
The Day of Remembrance will become an annual event at Goldcorp and going forward we will continue the momentum from this day through additional activities to support our focus on safe production, including: leadership training for supervisors and managers; positive flash reports to share safety behaviours done well; and access to incident investigations for all employees, focused on Potential Fatal Occurrences or PFOs.
We are only interested in safe production, not production that sacrifices anyone’s well-being. We will only get there if we all work together and do our part.
For related content, see Safety Conference Highlights Need for Better Industry-Wide Collaboration