As Primero has grown into a multi-mine company with international operations, we have not lost sight of the value of our core asset, our people. Our first priority is the well-being of our employees: their safety on the job, their human rights and their professional growth and development.
At every Primero operation and project, we strive to protect the health, safety and welfare of our people and their communities.
We focus on safety leadership and fostering a safety-first work culture through programs like our Zero Harm and Circles of Prevention programs.
The Zero Harm program at San Dimas focuses on 10 critical tasks - such as rock scaling, driver accreditation, and explosives handling - to ensure that employees performing those tasks have the prior training and, if appropriate, the accreditation.
The key to building and maintaining a safety-first culture is employee participation. We operate a variety of safety-focused committees and groups.
At both Primero mines, Joint Health and Safety Committees (JHSC) provide forums for employees from the workforce and management through which they can identify workplace hazards and make recommendations for employee safety and/or to prevent equipment or property damage. JHSC members also participate in operational procedure reviews and take part in accident investigations that relate to their scope of work.
We have developed a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for Health and Safety that have helped us target the greatest risk factors, and focus on early corrective measures. As a result of emphasizing these KPIs in our safety programs, safety statistics markedly improved.
San Dimas has instituted planned observation checklists of each KPI. At Black Fox, employees use 10-point "Safety Cards". The cards provide safety messages and allow workers and supervisors to report injuries or near misses, or to take note of any damage or substandard conditions that are observed. The cards are collected and documented so any situation can be acted on by management and employees.
No examples of non-compliance were identified at either Primero mine in 2015. At Black Fox, the Ontario Ministry of Labour Regulator visited the mine 15 times, and the mill eight times. No non-compliance issues were identified and minor work orders were corrected. At San Dimas, state regulators made six visits. Two were regular scheduled visits and four were unplanned visits: two followed the fatal incidents, and two were for complaints registered with the labour regulator.
We at Primero recognize the dangers inherent in the type of work we do. Accordingly, we place enormous emphasis on building and maintaining a strong safety culture. Our efforts have resulted in a steady year-on-year decline in overall accident frequency.
For 2015, our goal was an overall reduction of 15% in our All Injury Frequency Rate. This target was not achieved; our TRIFR – total reportable injury frequency rate – for both operations combined, was up 60%.
As a direct result of the year’s safety performance, we are developing a series of safety initiatives, with the objective of transforming the safety culture at the mine sites. The initiatives include:
People First – Safety First
This values-based recognition program acknowledges employees for behaviour that is consistent with Primero’s values of Focus, Integrity, Respect, Teamwork – and above all, working safely and effectively.
The SafeCREW supervisor training program was launched in the second half of 2015. It is intended to address negative perceptions of front-line leadership, strengthen risk identification skills, and improve employee engagement and communications. In 2015, 122 front-line supervisors participated in the classroom and field training. San Dimas has also added leadership, communications and team building skills development for their front-line supervisors.
“Safety and Collaboration” is a new employee community engagement plan for San Dimas that promotes the sharing of concerns and ideas in a learning environment. We hope it will improve on the follow-up after employees raise safety concerns. Risk Awareness Among the improvements to our risk management program is an increased focus on perceptions and behaviours related to risk-taking. We hope to bring greater identification, control and accountability to risk management.
We regularly review safety training needs and will focus more specifically on training strategies that are designed to influence the overall “risk culture” of the team environment, with a true focus on risk competence. Training topics included new employee induction and safety systems refresher training, safety leadership, underground heavy-equipment training, explosives handling, reagent handling, rock mechanics and ground controls, first aid and mine rescue training.
Throughout Primero, we foster a culture of inclusivity and acceptance of gender, race, cultural background, age, religion and disability. We are committed to fair and equitable labour practices in every operation and office.
Everywhere we operate, we seek to be recognized as an employer of choice by offering competitive wages, above-average benefits, by preferentially hiring locally and recognizing and rewarding employee performance.
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