Explorers Post a New Safety Milestone

The De Beers Canada Exploration team has established a remarkable record of safety excellence, going six years without a lost time injury.
Mar 17, 2017 4:30 PM ET
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This achievement came despite the fact that the team members often work in remote and inhospitable terrain, dealing with swamps and heavy brush, and sometimes packing heavy equipment as they undertake geological mapping, claim staking, sediment sampling, bulk sampling, ground and airborne geophysics, core drilling and sample processing.

De Beers as a whole recorded safety improvements in 2016. The Group’s total recordable case frequency rate (all types of incidents) was 0.41 versus the target of 0.45, a 23 per cent improvement on the previous year’s performance of 0.53.

The lost time injury (LTI) frequency rate was 0.09, a 36 per cent improvement on the previous year’s performance of 0.14. Thirty-one LTIs were recorded, against 53 in 2015. Forty per cent of them were related to slips, trips and falls and 37 per cent to manual handling.

In Canada, Julie Kong, Senior Exploration Manager, said: “The exploration team has a strong safety culture. We instil this culture to our extended ‘family’ during our projects. It is important that everyone returns safely at the end of the day.”

Communication is essential to ensuring the team is able to deal with unexpected and sometimes sudden changes to working conditions, including poor weather, wildlife encounters, and hazardous and unpredictable terrain, forcing them to make decisions as they go along. 

John Delgaty, Project Manager, listed effective and timely communication, managers actively participating with each team member in the office and field, pre-field training workshops, and close relationships with contractors as being among the keys to the team’s success.

Learning from incidents is also important for the Exploration team. At the end of each project, surveys are sent to project team members inviting them to rate the safety performance of the project and to make suggestions for improvement.

Part of the team’s success can be attributed to an active effort to identify and tackle hazards (near hits) using the SLAM (Stop, Look, Assess, Manage) process adopted by all Anglo American operations (Anglo American is De Beers’ parent company). Since the exploration team’s last lost time injury in 2010, near hit reporting has increased five-fold – with 1,199 near hits reported from 2010 to 2016.

The past year has seen a number of safety milestones across De Beers Canada, including Victor mine receiving the national J.T. Ryan Award for safety in May, Gahcho Kué mine being recognised by the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce Workplace Health and Safety Award in October, and Snap Lake mine achieving one year without a lost-time injury in December.

De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver held a safety summit for all the company’s top managers in Johannesburg in January to make sure the company was doing enough on safety and to seek improvements.

About De Beers
De Beers is a member of the Anglo American plc group. Established in 1888, De Beers is the world’s leading diamond company with expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of diamonds. Together with its joint venture partners, De Beers employs more than 20,000 people across the diamond pipeline and is the world’s largest diamond producer by value, with mining operations in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. As part of the company’s operating philosophy, the people of De Beers are committed to ‘Building Forever’ by making a lasting contribution to the communities in which they live and work, and transforming natural resources into shared national wealth. For further information about De Beers, visit www.debeersgroup.com.

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