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A case study exploring field-level risk assessments as a leading safety indicator

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2017, Vol. 342, No. 1, pp. 22-28

Haas, E.J.; Connor, B.P.; Vendetti, J.; Heiser, R.



Health and safety indicators help mine sites predict the likelihood of an event, advance initiatives to control risks, and track progress. Although useful to encourage individuals within the mining companies to work together to identify such indicators, executing risk assessments comes with challenges. Specifically, varying or inaccurate perceptions of risk, in addition to trust and buy-in of a risk management system, contribute to inconsistent levels of participation in risk programs. This paper focuses on one trona mine’s experience in the development and implementation of a field-level risk assessment program to help its organization understand and manage risk to an acceptable level. Through a transformational process of ongoing leadership development, support and communication, Solvay Green River fostered a culture grounded in risk assessment, safety interactions and hazard correction. The application of consistent risk assessment tools was critical to create a participatory workforce that not only talks about safety but actively identifies factors that contribute to hazards and potential incidents. In this paper, reflecting on the mine’s previous process of risk-assessment implementation provides examples of likely barriers that sites may encounter when trying to document and manage risks, as well as a variety of mini case examples that showcase how the organization worked through these barriers to facilitate the identification of leading indicators to ultimately reduce incidents.