Living Our Safety Values
17 Aug 2020
Doe Run’s first value is safety – protecting one another. We hold each other accountable to work safely every day, and milestones at several of our facilities are a testament to our safety culture.
“At Doe Run, safety is more than a priority – it’s a value,” said Ryan Seelke, safety manager at our Southeast Missouri Mining and Milling Division (SEMO). “Priorities can change, but values are consistent. That’s why we hold frequent safety trainings, as well as find opportunities to talk about safety every day on the job. We watch out for each other, so every one of us can return home safely to our families each day.”
Evolving Our Safety Training
Companywide, our employees completed approximately 15,000 hours of environmental, health and safety training in 2019. We also begin every shift discussing safety, and employees complete safety refresher training aligned with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA). Previously held once a year, we have revamped the training so it now will take place monthly, allowing us to dive deeper into specific topics.
Doe Run also is piloting changes to SEMO’s task training program. Task training is a program consistent with MSHA that trains employees in very specific job tasks, such as the use of a new piece of equipment. In the revised program, employees will be able to move at their own pace when learning. The goal is to ensure employees not only demonstrate competency, but also feel completely confident before using equipment, such as front-end loaders and haul trucks.
Learning From Near-Misses
Another way we keep each other safe is by identifying near-misses – situations that could have resulted in an accident, but didn’t. A new program at SEMO incentivizes employees to report near-misses, so we can all learn from them.
“Identifying near-misses is important because they give us a chance to fix conditions or provide more training before an incident occurs. We want to create a culture where employees are actively looking for safety hazards before they become an issue and feel comfortable raising these issues.”Ryan Seelke, safety manager at SEMO
Employees submitted more than 30 near-miss examples in 2019, and were entered in a quarterly drawing for a cash prize. One employee, a front-end loader operator, won the grand prize of $1,000 for submitting the most impactful near-miss of the year.
The winning submission addressed how to safely locate, remove and store broken steel drill-rods to prevent them from becoming mixed in with ore piles.
Despite our ongoing commitment to safety improvement, like any workplace, accidents can happen. As previously reported, we experienced a tragic fatality at our Resource Recycling facility in March 2019. We worked with OSHA to fully investigate the incident and continue to work to maintain a safe work environment.
Our continued focus on safety helped several of our operations achieve safety milestones. The following facilities achieved significant milestones with no lost-time accidents as of early 2020:
- 23 years at Sweetwater Mill
- 20 years at the Seafab Metals facility of Fabricated Products Inc. (FPI), a wholly owned subsidiary of Doe Run
- 16 years aboveground at Sweetwater Mine
- 14 years at the SEMO Port, the Missouri river port where Doe Run ships our metal concentrates
- 13 years at Brushy Creek Mill
Our mine rescue teams continued to earn top honors at regional mine rescue contests. The Gray team earned overall contest champion at the Northern Regional Mine Rescue Contest, and the Maroon team was named overall contest champion at the Southwest Regional. The Maroon team also won first place for the team technician competition at the Missouri Regional Mine Rescue Contest in Rolla, while our Gray team took home first place in first aid.
“Many of the members of the Gray team were new this year, so we’re particularly proud that they’re already operating so well as a team to win a regional contest,” said Ryan. “It’s a testament to how our more experienced team members are invested in training the next generation of mine rescuers, and how newer members are quickly applying new skills.”
In addition, we are proud that Charlie Walker, development miner at Brushy Creek Mine and new captain of the Gray team, was inducted into the Missouri Mine Rescue Hall of Fame in 2019.