MINING SAFETY AND HEALTH IN NORTH AMERICA [Section 5]
The Future Culture of Mining Safety and Health In North America
Plenary Session (Canada) - Partnerships For Managing Safety and Health - Séance plénière (Canada) - Les partenariats en matière de gestion de la sécurité et de la santé au travail - Sesión Plenaria (Canadá) - Las Asociaciones para la Gestión de la Seguridad e Higiene
MS. MAY MORPAW (Director, Inter-American Labour Cooperation, Federal Co-Chair): Good morning. Bonjour tout le monde. Muy buenos días.
The first session this morning is on Partnerships for Managing Safety and Health. Our moderator is Dr. José Luis Lee Moreno. He will be introduced at the next session when he is a speaker.
I will turn this over to Dr. José Luis Lee Moreno, from Mexico.
DR. JOSÉ LUIS LEE MORENO (Director General, Cámara Nacional de la Industria Minera): Muchas gracias May. May ya hizo parte de mi trabajo presentando la sesión de hoy, y dando el nombre de nuestro expositor, yo haré únicamente la presentación del Sr. Gérald Lachance, debe decirles que mi nombre es José Lee y yo soy el Director General de la Cámara Minera de México.
El Sr. Gérald Lachance, es ingeniero de minas e inició su carrera en las minas de asbestos en Black Lake en Quebec, trabajando como mecánico de equipo pesado diesel. En 1970, se convirtió en oficial del sindicato de obreros siderúrgicos, y en 1972 pasó a ser presidente de su sección local hasta 1977. En 1977 fue nombrado funcionario sindical de tiempo completo en la región de Montreal. Su trabajo consistía en actuar en calidad de negociador y de agente de salud y seguridad para defender las quejas en casos de reclamaciones de accidentes laborales o ante los tribunales de arbitraje.
En 1987, el Sr. Lachance asume las funciones de coordinador de salud y seguridad para todas las secciones locales, a partir de ese momento puede asistir a las reuniones de la Comisión de Salud y Seguridad en el Trabajo. Más adelante, pasaría a ser miembro de la misma para la revisión del reglamento de minas. Ese comité adquiriría posteriormente la condición de permanente y en este comité se encuentra todavía el Sr. Lachance.
El Sr. Lachance es miembro representante de los obreros siderúrgicos de Quebec para la federación de trabajadores de Quebec. Ha participado en la unificación de los reglamentos industriales y comerciales que con el tiempo se convertirán en el Reglamento sobre la Calidad del Medio Laboral. Es también co-presidente de la Asociación Sectorial Paritaria Metálica y Eléctrica desde hace 15 años y ha sido miembro de la Asociación Paritaria Sectorial de Minas durante seis años. Es miembro del Comité de Salud y Seguridad en el Trabajo de la oficina nacional y se encarga también de dar información en materia de salud y seguridad. Dejo con ustedes al Sr. Gérard Lachance.
M. GÉRARD LACHANCE (Responsable santé, sécurité et environnement, Syndicat des Métallos, District 5, Montréal): Bonjour. Mesdames et messieurs, bonjour. Je tiens d'abord à remercier les organisatrices et organisateurs de la conférence de m'avoir invité à faire cet exposé. Je suis très heureux d'être ici aujourd'hui pour représenter le Québec, à l'intérieur du Canada naturellement.
J'agis à titre de responsable québécois en santé et sécurité et environnement au Syndicat des Métallos, affilié à la Fédération des Travailleurs du Québec (FTQ), qui compte plus de 50 000 membres dans différents secteurs d'activités au Québec.
Je vais vous expliquer, comment au Québec, les gens de l'industrie minière et les responsables en santé et sécurité du travail ont travaillé ensemble pour améliorer la santé et la sécurité dans des mines souterraines et à ciel ouvert. Afin que vous puissiez mieux comprendre comment nous sommes organisés, je vais d'abord vous présenter les origines du régime québécois dans la santé et sécurité au travail. Je vais vous expliquer également comment se fait la prévention des accidents du travail au Québec. Vous verrez que nous avons plusieurs particularités, dont nous sommes très fiers.
Le régime québécois de santé et sécurité au travail remonte au début des années 30. En 1931, le Gouvernement du Québec sanctionnait une loi, qui s'appelait la Loi des accidents du travail, et qui a marqué la naissance d'un nouveau régime d'indemnisation pour les travailleurs accidentés.
Encore aujourd'hui, nous faisons souvent allusion au "deal" historique de '31. Les employeurs s'engageaient à financer entièrement le régime d'indemnisation des travailleurs accidentés et, en retour, ils bénéficiaient d'un régime collectif d'assurance-responsabilités, sans égard à la faute. Ça voulait dire que les employeurs ne pouvaient plus faire l'objet de poursuites individuelles devant les tribunaux de la part d'un travailleur accidenté. Depuis ce temps, la loi a été amendée à plusieurs reprises, mais le principe de base est demeuré.
En 1980, le Gouvernement du Québec a adopté une loi sur la santé et sécurité du travail, une loi avant-gardiste à bien des égards.
Le rôle de la CSST: La Commission de la santé et de la sécurité au travail, communément appelée CSST, a alors reçu mandat du gouvernement de gérer le régime québécois de la santé et de la sécurité au travail. Ceci comprend l'indemnisation des travailleurs et travailleuses qui ont subi un accident de travail ou qui souffrent de maladies professionnelles; de la réadaptation de ces travailleurs; de la prévention et de l'inspection des lieux du travail; et du financement du régime.
Une des particularités du Québec est que la CSST est un organisme paritaire. Cela veut dire que l'on retrouve sur le conseil d'administration un nombre égal de représentants des travailleurs et des employeurs, en plus du président qui agit comme chef de direction de la CSST. Je siège d'ailleurs sur différents comités à la Commission de santé et sécurité au travail comme représentant des travailleurs depuis 1980. Je représente le secteur des mines et, plus particulièrement, les travailleurs de ce secteur et d'autres secteurs aussi.
La Loi de santé et sécurité au travail, c'est quoi? Cette loi, qui régit la prévention et inspection, est entrée en vigueur le 1er décembre 1982. Il faut vous dire qu'avant cette entrée en vigueur il y a eu beaucoup de démarches. Il y a un Livre blanc qui impliquait les travailleurs et les employeurs pour arriver à un consensus pour faire cette loi.
Le but visé était d'éliminer à la source les dangers pour la santé, la sécurité et l'intégrité physique des travailleurs et travailleuses dans tous les milieux de travail. La loi établit donc un mécanisme de participation des travailleurs, des employeurs et leurs représentants à l'atteinte de cet objectif, c'est-à-dire l'élimination à la source du danger.
Au Québec, le fondement de la prévention repose sur la prise en charge de la santé et sécurité par chaque milieu de travail. Cela signifie que c'est un milieu de travail, c'est-à-dire l'employeur, en collaboration avec le travailleur, qui est le responsable de la santé et de la sécurité dans l'entreprise.
Quant à la CSST, elle joue le rôle d'inspection des lieux de travail. Elle assure l'application de la Loi et exige les corrections, si nécessaire. Je vous expliquerai plus tard comment cela s'est concrétisé pour les mines.
Pour favoriser cette prise en charge paritaire, le législateur a prévu différents moyens, dont l'élaboration d'un programme de prévention de la santé par les entreprises.
Nous avons aussi une particularité, qui est la désignation d'un représentant à la prévention, qui vient du côté des travailleurs, choisi par les travailleurs. C'est une particularité, et a force de loi.
La CSST agit en tant que chef de file en prévention. En plus d'avoir le rôle de soutien pour aider les entreprises à améliorer la sécurité, elle est responsable de l'application de la Loi. Les inspecteurs qui travaillent à la CSST doivent donc: (1) assurer le respect des lois, des règlements et des normes; (2) exiger des correctifs; (3) évaluer les programmes de prévention, les plans et devis qui leur sont soumis par les entreprises -- principalement dans les mines, c'est un point dont on a fait une vérification toute particulière; (4) enquêter lors d'accidents et, en cas de danger immédiat, agir rapidement pour arrêter les travaux dans un établissement, ou mettre des scellés sur les machines. Ce sont les pouvoirs de l'inspecteur.
Au Québec, toutes les entreprises n'ont pas à mettre en place ce mécanisme de prévention. Mais je dois vous dire que dans le secteur minier, c'est un mécanisme qui est là depuis le tout début, ainsi que dans la construction et plusieurs autres secteurs.
Par sa nature, le secteur des mines a été classé comme un secteur dit prioritaire. Étant donné le nombre d'accidents qui étaient là auparavant, ceci avait fait en sorte qu'on mettait une emphase spéciale, c'est-à-dire que tous les mécanismes de la Loi s'appliquent. Ainsi, chaque mine doit élaborer un programme de prévention, mettre sur pied un comité paritaire en santé et sécurité au travail, et désigner un représentant à la prévention. Je vous ai expliqué le mécanisme. Le représentant à la prévention vient du côté des travailleurs et a été élu par les travailleurs.
L'approche en prévention et inspection: La CSST peut compter sur quelques 280 inspecteurs pour environ 215 000 établissements, et 2,5 millions de travailleurs actifs. Ce n'est pas seulement le secteur minier, c'est l'ensemble des travailleurs de la province. En plus de voir à l'application de la Loi, les inspecteurs ont un autre rôle très important à jouer, celui du soutien auprès de l'ensemble des entreprises.
Depuis quelques années, on préconise au Québec une approche de prévention et inspection, basée sur la collaboration avec les entreprises et les syndicats, justement pour favoriser la prise en charge par le milieu. Cette approche se résume en trois mots clés: Convaincre, soutenir, et si ça ne fonctionne pas, contraindre.
Des inspecteurs de la CSST tentent de convaincre les employeurs et les travailleurs des avantages de la prévention. Ils les incitent à s'occuper eux-mêmes de la sécurité dans leur milieu de travail en leur expliquant les mesures à mettre en place. On recherche avec les employeurs et les travailleurs des solutions pour corriger rapidement, de façon définitive, les situations dangereuses.
Les inspecteurs jouent un rôle conseil. Par exemple, pour la préparation des programmes de prévention, les inspecteurs posent des gestes correctifs, si cela s'impose. Ils utilisent le pouvoir que leur confère la Loi, c'est-à-dire l'arrêt des travaux, demander des corrections immédiates, et imposer des amendes. C'est une provision de la Loi.
Comme le champ d'action en prévention est vaste, la CSST ne peut agir seule. Elle doit compter sur l'appui de nombreux partenaires, dont un, l'Institut de recherche en santé et sécurité du travail, les syndicats, les associations patronales, et le réseau québécois de la santé et les associations sectorielles paritaires.
Pour ce qui est des associations sectorielles paritaires, depuis le tout début, c'est un organisme qui va dans chaque milieu pour voir à établir des programmes de prévention, pour voir à établir où se situent des problèmes particuliers dans les usines et dans les mines. Ils ont mandat de faire de la prévention.
Comme vous pouvez le constater, la prévention des accidents de travail et l'inspection des lieux du travail sont bien encadrés au Québec, et les règles sont clairement définies. Rien n'a été laissé au hasard pour assurer la sécurité des travailleurs et la participation de tout l'assainissement des lieux du travail.
Je vais vous faire une petite historique de la prévention dans les mines.
Pour le secteur des mines, je dois d'abord vous dire que, chez nous au Québec, le secteur minier fait preuve de dynamisme en matière de santé et sécurité. Cela fait déjà plusieurs années que les employeurs et les travailleurs travaillent ensemble pour régler les problèmes de sécurité dans les mines. C'est d'ailleurs pourquoi la situation s'est grandement améliorée ces dernières années. Mais tout ça ne s'est pas fait toutseul. Malheureusement, comme ça arrive trop souvent, ce sont des accidents graves qui ont provoqué une réflexion et amené les gens à se prendre en main.
En effet, malheureusement l'industrie minière a fait face à une série noire d'accidents dans les milieux des années 90. Onze accidents mortels sont survenus dans les mines au Québec entre 1994 et 1995. Nous n'avions jamais eu un bilan si négatif. C'est alors que les représentants syndicaux avons sonné l'alarme et dénoncé la situation d'insécurité dans les mines.
Il en a résulté un débat de toute l'industrie minière et parmi les personnes qui s'occupent de prévention. Dès le départ, on s'est rendu compte d'une chose: Il fallait régler les problèmes, et il fallait que tout le monde y participe pour rechercher des solutions.
La CSST a donc amorcé sans tarder une série de rencontres avec les principaux intervenants pour identifier les problèmes présents dans ce secteur. Ces rencontres unissaient les représentants de mon syndicat, le Syndicat des Métallos, l'Association minière du Québec, qui regroupe les propriétaires de mines, et l'Association paritaire de la santé et sécurité du secteur minier, qui conseille les membres, entre autres, sur l'organisation de la prévention, et qui offre de la formation.
Deux membres du conseil d'administration de la CSST, un représentant patronal et un représentant des travailleurs, moi-même en l'occurrence, avons reçu mandat de poursuivre ces travaux. Ces rencontres ont débouché sur un plan d'action en vue de régler des problèmes des mines souterraines. Ce plan d'action a été préparé par la CSST en étroite collaboration avec les représentants syndicaux, et également avec les représentants patronaux. Le but visé était d'éliminer les risques reliés principalement aux roches instables, au danger de chutes dans les mines.
Il prévoyait différentes choses: L'ajout d'inspecteurs dans ce secteur; le maintien d'un programme d'intervention par risques, qui existait déjà depuis deux ans; et la création d'un comité paritaire présidé par un vice-président aux opérations de la CSST, qui est chargé d'assurer le plan de suivi.
La poursuite du comité paritaire: Le comité a été formé en 1995, et existe toujours. Il est composé de représentants du Syndicat des Métallos, de la FTQ, la Confédération des travailleurs syndicaux nationaux (CSN) et l'Association minière, qui représente les employeurs et les entrepreneurs miniers, ainsi que l'Association paritaire pour la santé et la sécurité dans le secteur minier.
Ce mandat consiste à assurer le suivi du plan d'action de la CSST. Dans les mines souterraines, il doit favoriser l'échange d'information pour faciliter la mise en place de mécanismes ou de mesures de prévention appropriées au milieu.
Le comité doit également proposer des solutions répondant aux besoins du milieu de travail en matière de formation. Aux yeux de l'industrie, l'importance de ce comité ne faisait pas de doute. Ses membres devaient soumettre au ministère du Travail du Québec, au bout d'un an, un rapport d'évaluation de la situation en ce qui a trait à la santé et à la sécurité dans les mines souterraines.
Entre-temps, d'autres actions se sont déroulées en parallèle. Par exemple, un autre comité paritaire du conseil d'administration de la CSST a révisé la réglementation en vigueur concernant la sécurité dans les mines. Là-dessus, nous avons, comme plusieurs provinces au Canada, un comité permanent qui amène tous les sujets d'actualité pour modifier les normes et s'assurer qu'il y ait un suivi. Je suis le co-président de ce comité.
La CSST a également veillé à la mise en place du plan d'action, notamment du principe de tolérance zéro, face au danger. Cela voulait dire qu'on ne voulait plus d'accidents, mortels ou autres. Cela signifie que, lorsque confrontés à un danger, les inspecteurs doivent prendre des mesures immédiates, comme l'arrêt des travaux.
On pensait avoir la situation bien en main. Or, après six mois d'intervention dans le milieu, on s'est aperçu que l'objectif d'amélioration de la sécurité avait pris du retard. Cela a conduit la CSST a revoir sa stratégie d'intervention.
Des inspecteurs ont commencé à visiter les mines une par une, pour faire un bilan de la prise en charge. Ils ont rencontré la direction de chaque mine en présence d'un représentant des travailleurs, et parfois d'autres membres du personnel de la mine, s'ils jugeaient nécessaire.
Chaque rencontre comportait une visite sous terre pour valider les renseignements recueillis. L'inspecteur dressait ensuite un portrait sommaire de la gestion de la santé et de la sécurité du travail, ainsi que la liste des points forts et ceux à améliorer.
Il y retournait une deuxième fois, pour rencontrer l'employeur et le personnel de la mine et leur soumettre un rapport d'intervention. Il restait aux gens de la mine à faire le plan d'action dans les 30 jours suivants, pour corriger les points faibles identifiés.
Par exemple, pour illustrer ce qui est ressorti de cette analyse de la situation dans les mines, on a noté parmi les points forts que presque toutes les mines étaient dotées de structure de gestion de la santé et sécurité au travail, et les plans et devis étaient disponibles sur chaque lieu où s'effectuaient des excavations.
Parmi les points à améliorer, on a remarqué notamment la nécessité de mettre en place des moyens de communication, d'identifier des procédures à suivre dans les cas d'un comportement inhabituel de terrain, le besoin d'améliorer la communication entre les directions des mines, les contremaîtres et les travailleurs. Ceci s'est fait par une formation spécifique qui a été donnée par l'Association sectorielle paritaire.
Lors de cette opération d'envergure, on a fait beaucoup de travail pour sensibiliser les gens et les inciter à agir. On a rencontré les directeurs de mines, les membres de l'Association, entrepreneurs miniers du Québec, des coordonnateurs en santé et sécurité au travail, des surintendants, et des travailleurs. On a rappelé le même mot d'ordre à tous: Tolérance zéro face au danger, et tout cela selon les principes de la prise en charge de la prévention par l'industrie.
Un autre exemple pour la seule année 1996: L'Association sectorielle des mines a consacré 75 jours à des activités de conseil auprès de ses membres, concernant surtout l'organisation de la prévention, l'élaboration des plans d'action et le fonctionnement du comité de santé et sécurité.
Quant à l'Association minière du Québec, elle a élaboré une carte de travail pour que les travailleurs et les superviseurs aient un guide sur le contrôle de la qualité et de l'installation de soutènement minier. Entre-temps, le comité paritaire chargé de réviser la réglementation a poursuivi ses travaux.
Il s'agit du règlement sur l'examen de la santé pulmonaire des travailleurs des mines, qui précise les éléments nécessaires à la surveillance homogène des travailleurs en vue du dépistage des maladies reliées à l'exposition de l'amiante ou à la silice, et du règlement sur la santé et sécurité au travail dans les mines. Encore une fois, ce règlement est établit paritairement pour ensuite être déposé dans la Gazette officielle.
Bilan positif: Je dois dire que le bilan de toute cette opération est des plus positifs, même si nous savons qu'en tant que représentants des travailleurs, il faut demeurer vigilants. Il y a eu une baisse des accidents depuis 1994. La gestion de la santé et sécurité s'est améliorée dans les mines. Il s'est établi une relation de confiance entre les inspecteurs de la CSST, les patrons, et le syndicat de l'industrie minière, et les intervenants concernés en santé et sécurité.
Ces résultats positifs, nous les avons obtenus en grande partie parce que le plan d'action pour améliorer la sécurité dans les mines résultait d'un consensus parmi les intervenants, c'est-à-dire les travailleurs, les employeurs, les entrepreneurs miniers et les associations du secteur.
D'autres facteurs sont essentiels au succès d'une telle démarche, par exemple, la qualité de la communication entre la direction d'une mine et les mineurs, de même qu'entre les instances supérieures des organisations syndicales et les membres.
Je veux aussi signaler l'engagement des travailleurs, qui est primordial en santé et sécurité. Sans eux, on ne pourrait pas faire de vraie prévention. En ce sens, le rôle exercé par mon syndicat et la Confédération des syndicats nationaux auprès de nos membres respectifs demeure crucial.
En conclusion, nous savons que tout n'est évidement pas gagné. Il reste encore beaucoup de travail à faire pour éliminer les dangers dans les mines du Québec. Il faut notamment augmenter la contribution des comités de santé et sécurité, et voir à ce que les mines réalisent de façon adéquate le plan d'action qu'elles se sont donné.
Il faut également continuer d'appliquer avec rigueur les mesures de sécurité mises en place et poursuivre nos actions pour changer les attitudes et les comportements face au danger.
Une chose est certaine: Nous l'avons prouvé, la réussite de toute intervention visant la prévention des accidents du travail repose sur l'engagement des parties.
Je suis convaincu que la résolution des problèmes dans le secteur minier passe par la prise en charge de la santé et de la sécurité au travail. Il faut intégrer le volet santé et sécurité à la gestion courante, et en faire un élément essentiel de processus de qualité et de performance. C'est la voie qu'a choisie le Québec en mettant de l'avant, dans le milieu de travail, une loi très avant-gardiste basée sur une véritable collaboration entre les travailleurs et les employeurs. C'est exigeant, bien sûr. C'est surtout une formule gagnante dont nous sommes très fiers.
Question Period - Période de questions - Período de Preguntas
DR. LEE MORENO: Muchas gracias Sr. Lachance, por esta excelente presentación, ¿hay alguna pregunta o comentario, sobre la plática del Sr. Lachance?
NEW SPEAKER: Mencionaba usted que el plan de acción tiene como objetivo eliminar los riesgos originados por el terreno inestable, ¿los 11 accidentes fatales a que usted hace mención fueron originados por este tipo de terreno?
M. LACHANCE: Pour répondre à votre question, oui, le plus gros des mortalités qui sont arrivées dans les mines a été par des roches branlantes, des chutes, et aussi des terrains instables. Ce sont les principales causes de décès des travailleurs miniers. Est-ce que ça répond à votre question?
NEW SPEAKER: Sí contestó la pregunta, lo que sucede es que hay muchísimas otras causas en la minería subterránea sobre todo, que originan accidentes.
M. LACHANCE: Oui. Il y a plusieurs autres causes dans les mines souterraines. C'est sûr que les roches branlantes, les chutes, les travailleurs dans les puits ou dans le fonçage, sont des travailleurs exposés. Cela fait en sorte qu'il y a un danger réel qui existe pour ces travailleurs-là. C'est pour cette raison qu'on a fait des programmes de prévention pour donner la formation à ces travailleurs.
NEW SPEAKER: ¿Qué resultados les ha dado el diseño de los software para rocas discontinuas?, tengo entendido de que en Ontario aquí en Canadá, diseñaron el dips (sp) para fortificaciones y darle estabilidad a los terrenos minimizando así la probabilidad de que éstos se desprendan atrapando a los trabajadores, perdón el dips, para los esterogramas (sp) y el unway (sp) para el sostenimiento de los techos, ¿qué resultado les ha dado el manejo de esos software en este país?
M. LACHANCE: À date, on peut dire qu'on a un bon résultat, sans être parfait, parce qu'on a vérifié le boulonnage qui se faisait dans l'ensemble des galeries. À des endroits, on a même cimenté pour empêcher des roches de descendre, et on a vérifié ce qu'était le terrain comme tel avec les plans et devis.
Il était fort important de connaître, avec un géologue, exactement la teneur du terrain.
NEW SPEAKER: Thank you very much. Thank you, Gérard, for your excellent presentation.
Gérard, I understand in Quebec that under the prevention plan there is also a provision that deals with removal of a pregnant worker. Maybe you could explain that one, if you know it.
Secondly, I also understand that under the prevention plan the Occupational Health and Safety Committees in the Workplace have a right to choose the physician of their choice to perform medical monitoring.
M. LACHANCE: Au Québec le travailleur a, en cas d'accident, le choix de son médecin. Ce choix-là va aussi pour ce qui est de la travailleuse enceinte ou de la femme qui allaite.
Si vous avez une prescription médicale qui mentionne que la travailleuse ou le travailleur ne peut plus exécuter ce travail-là, il doit arrêter. S'il y a un danger pour sa sécurité et son intégrité physique, il ne retournera pas travailler à cet endroit.
NEW SPEAKER: Good morning. Congratulations, Mr. Lachance, on the cooperation being exhibited between the workers and the unions and the employers in the Quebec mining industry.
I would like to ask what is being done in Quebec to get the cooperation between the worker and the supervisor in the workplace. I see this as being a very important interface in the recognition of risks and in the prevention of harm due to those risks.
Could you please talk a little about the interface between the worker and the supervisor, and what is being done to make that work better?
M. LACHANCE: Pour débuter, je vais répondre à la première question. Cela a été une sensibilisation des travailleurs et des employeurs par le biais de la formation.
De prendre connaissance des dangers, c'était un. Souvent, avec les travailleurs, nous avions l'impression de prêcher dans le vide. Ils nous disaient, "Ça fait des années que j'entends dire ça, et c'est pas mieux".
L'information, principalement celle qui a été donnée par l'ensemble des travailleurs et des employeurs, a fait en sorte qu'il y a eu une prise de conscience des dangers. C'était fort important. En plus, lorsqu'il y a des fatalités ou des amputations de membres, on prend plus facilement conscience du danger. Par la suite, c'était plus facile de passer le message à nos travailleurs et à l'employeur. Personne veut aller au travail pour se tuer.
Est-ce que ça répond à votre question?
NEW SPEAKER: Thank you.
NEW SPEAKER: Felicidades por su presentación, usted mencionaba tres palabras claves: convencer, apoyar y obligar. Me gustaría saber cuál estrategia utilizó y cuánto tiempo se llevó y si a algunas de las empresas las tuvo que obligar.
M. LACHANCE: Lorsqu'on a passé les deux premières étapes, la contrainte est toujours là.
Comme je vous ai mentionné dans ma présentation, nous n'avons pas à nous rendre à la contrainte s'il y a des modifications suite aux conseils. C'est le point principal. Et lorsque ça ne fonctionne pas, on y va par la contrainte et souvent le travailleur est d'accord.
NEW SPEAKER: Sir, do you have any particular strategy that works well with small mines and contractors to larger mines?
M. LACHANCE: Une bonne question.
Vis-à-vis la sous-traitance, cela a toujours été important pour nous de faire en sorte que celui qui prend un contrat de travail du gros employeur respecte exactement les mêmes règles. Je ne vous dis pas que toutes les petites le font, mais on s'assure dans plusieurs industries que la santé et sécurité va être respectée autant du sous-traitant que de l'employeur maître. Ça, pour nous c'est important et on fait des revendication continuelles vis-à-vis la CSST là-dessus.
Pour ce qui est des stratégies comme telles, la stratégie a été de l'information et de la formation. Pour nous ça a été fort important pour que les gens comprennent bien de quelle façon la prévention se fait.
NEW SPEAKER: Mr. Lachance, thank you very much.
Could you say a few words about the modular training program that you have recently instituted in Quebec for miners?
M. LACHANCE: D'ailleurs, j'ai travaillé avec le groupe de Val d'Or pour la formation modulaire des mines. Cette formation a été donnée à l'ensemble des mineurs, qu'ils aient 15, 20 ou 25 ans d'expérience et qui avaient peut-être de mauvaises pratiques de travail. La formation modulaire s'adresse comme telle aux mines souterraines et aux contracteurs qui vont sous terre.
Cette formation modulaire, bien qu'encore jeune, a apporté de bonnes choses. Et on peut dire qu'on a copié nos confrères de l'Ontario sur certains points pour arriver à ce résultat.
DR. LEE MORENO: ¿Alguna otra pregunta para el Sr. Lachance?, bueno en ese caso les pido que me acompañen con un caluroso aplauso para agradecer su participación y presentación.
MR. TED REDEKOP (Chief Occupational Medical Officer, Workplace Safety and Health Division, Manitoba Labour): (off microphone) I hate to interrupt your conversations, but I think we will get this session underway.
Good morning. My name is Dr. Ted Redekop. I work for the Department of Labour, Safety and Health Division in Manitoba. I am the Chief Occupational Medical Officer for the Province, and a member of the organizing committee of this conference.
This morning we have a very interesting group of speakers to talk about performance measures. Hopefully we are going to learn where we are going, where we have been, whether we have got there yet, how we know when we arrive there. I think our speakers will be able to enlighten us in that capacity.
Just a little housekeeping. If you can hold your questions until the end of the three sessions, then the speakers will try and answer any questions you have.
Our first speaker today is Dr.José Luis Lee, who comes to us as a Director General of the Mexican Chamber of Mines. He has a long history of work in geological exploration and environmental geology and geochemistry, and has worked worldwide in exploration projects, although I don't know if any of this has included Canada -- no, not Canada? Today is his introduction to that.
He has been on a variety of committees in Mexico looking at regulations and standards, and also has dealt with a number of international agencies, such as the International Council for Metals and the Environment and the Business and Industry Associations Committee, setting up standards and regulations.
Dr. Lee is going to speak about the performance measures that are prevalent in Mexico, particularly relative to providing for awards in safety and health in the mining community.
DR. JOSÉ LUIS LEE MORENO (Director General, Cámara Nacional de la Industria Minera): Muchas gracias Ted, dice la introducción del tema tanto compañías como instituciones de reglamentación gubernamental necesitan probar la eficacia de sus intervenciones en cuanto a la seguridad e higiene. En esta sesión se discutirán varias medidas que se están utilizando para evaluar el rendimiento del programa de seguridad e higiene. Lo que yo pretendo compartir con ustedes durante unos cuantos minutos de esta mañana, es un sistema que se ha establecido en la Cámara Minera de México, para otorgar reconocimientos especiales a las empresas que han tenido un mejor desempeño durante el año inmediato anterior en asuntos de seguridad e higiene en minas.
Hemos observado nosotros en la Cámara Minera, que además de que este sistema nos permite tener acceso a una estadística directa de las empresas afiliadas a la Cámara en materia de seguridad e higiene, también es un programa de enorme estímulo en todos los niveles de trabajo en la mina para llevar a cabo un mejor desempeño en la seguridad. Hemos notado que realmente existe un deseo enorme de los supervisores por supuesto, de seguridad, de los supervisores de mina, pero indudablemente, y tal vez es más grande el deseo que hay en los trabajadores dentro de la mina por saber que con su esfuerzo y con su comportamiento adecuado en cuanto a la seguridad su unidad minera se hizo acreedora a un premio que de hecho es un premio nacional que se otorga a la seguridad.
Este sistema, nos sentimos muy orgullosos de haberlo implantado y nos sentimos muy orgullosos de los resultados que año con año vemos y que ustedes verán más tarde. Nos ha conducido parcialmente, porque también hay otros factores que han ayudado a reducir nuestros índices de siniestralidad y demás índices relacionados con la seguridad.
El objetivo como lo había mencionado, es estimular los esfuerzos que llevan a cabo las empresas mineras y metalúrgicas en el campo de prevención de accidentes, esto realmente lo hemos logrado.
¿Quiénes pueden obtener los premios? Los premios pueden ser obtenidos por empresas del sector minero-metalúrgico que obtengan el menor índice de siniestralidad durante el año inmediato anterior al concurso y adicional a esto no deben de haber tenido ningún accidente fatal, porque el índice de siniestralidad no incluye necesariamente el monto de accidentes fatales como ustedes lo saben, son medidas internacionales y la vamos a mostrar en un momento.
Mencionamos que este concurso es exclusivamente para las empresas afiliadas a la Cámara Minera de México. Debo decirles que el 98.5% del valor de la producción minera nacional en México, es producido por empresas afiliadas a la Cámara Minera de México. El otro 1.5% tal vez 2% varía, se encuentra en manos de pequeñas empresas que no se encuentran afiliadas a nuestra Cámara.
Las empresas deben entregar toda la información que solicita el formato, dentro de un plazo requerido. La participación en el concurso no es automática, tienen que entregarnos los datos conforme a los formatos establecidos.
El primer formato es un formato general que únicamente identifica a la empresa y a la unidad minera específicamente, a la persona que es responsable de la información y luego la clasificación dentro de la cual va a participar en el concurso de seguridad. Tenemos unas categorías que les muestro después de la siguiente lámina.
El promedio de trabajadores, las horas total hombre trabajadas, los accidentes no incapacitantes, los accidentes incapacitantes, los accidentes fatales, el por ciento de incapacidades permanentes por accidentes y enfermedades profesionales, los días perdidos por accidentes incapacitantes y se consideran 1000 días por accidente fatal y diez días por cada 1% de incapacidad permanente para los cálculos, en esa forma es como lo hacemos.
Más tarde pedimos a cada una de las empresas que nos haga directamente el cálculo del índice de frecuencia, el índice de gravedad y el índice de siniestralidad con los parámetros internacionales que ustedes bien conocen.
Las categorías en las que entregamos nosotros premios son tres: minería subterránea, minería a cielo abierto y plantas y fundiciones, sin embargo dentro de la categoría de minería subterránea hemos hecho dos subgrupos, uno para las empresas que tienen hasta 500 trabajadores y otra para las que tienen más de 500 trabajadores.
Como en mucho otros lugares del mundo nuestras empresas mineras a menudo son grupos corporativos que tienen varias unidades mineras o varias minas dentro de su operación y administración, cada una de estas unidades mineras participa individualmente dentro del concurso de seguridad. No es un concurso de unidades corporativas, de corporaciones, es un concurso de unidades mineras y dentro de las categorías que mencioné antes, si una misma unidad minera tiene dos categorías, puede tener subterránea y a cielo abierto, o puede tener también planta de beneficio, pude participar en las categorías que tengan.
Se entrega un trofeo a la unidad minera que tenga el menor índice de siniestralidad y quiero decirle que estoy siendo un poco repetitivo con la lectura de la proyección para facilitar que ustedes reciban la traducción. El trofeo es entregado al ganador que lo conserva durante un año y si alguno de ustedes es seguidor de la Copa Mundial de Soccer, conocerán que el sistema con la Copa Jule Reimer (sp) se entrega al que la gana tres años aunque no sean consecutivos, nosotros le prestamos esta idea a los organizadores de la Copa Jule Reimer y también la establecemos en esa forma.
Esto lo había mencionado anteriormente, un trofeo para cada una de las categorías que comenté con anterioridad.
Quién hace la evaluación de los ganadores, una vez que recibimos todos los datos de las empresas que desean participar en el concurso, porque hay algunas que indudablemente no participan tal vez porque en el año inmediato anterior tuvieron alguna mala fortuna de algún accidente o consideran que sus registros de seguridad no les van a permitir realmente estar dentro de los aspirantes al premio. Entonces los datos que recibimos de los concursantes son analizados por un comité que está integrado por personal de la Cámara Minera, por personal del sindicato único de trabajadores mineros y metalurgistas de la República Mexicana y hace un momento platicaba con Steve y le decía que nosotros tenemos solamente un sindicato, una unión sindical para toda la República Mexicana que está regida por regulaciones federales tanto para la relación laboral como para todas las demás regulaciones relacionadas con la industria minera. También participan con nosotros algunas autoridades en la materia.
Esto es lo que utilizamos para la calificación. Es bien simple, todos ustedes lo conocen pero nos da una indicación directa, real, fidedigna y pronta para evaluar el desempeño de nuestras empresas mineras y nos da números que nos permiten ir directamente a la entrega del premio.
Las fórmulas para la evaluación de estos índices son bien conocidas de todos ustedes y simplemente las menciono ahí para ver que estamos trabajando básicamente con parámetros sencillos internacionales y de amplio conocimiento.
Además, entregamos nosotros otros premios complementarios - esto es un diploma- a todas aquellas empresas que participaron en el concurso y que redujeron en 25% o más, su índice de siniestralidad con respecto a la del año próximo anterior.
Hemos encontrado que muchas empresas no ganan el premio porque no lo pueden tener todos. Lo gana el que está en primer lugar, pero otras han hecho un esfuerzo grande y esto es reconocido también con diplomas, estos premios se entregan en un evento especial que se lleva a cabo anualmente en el que están presentes altas autoridades de la Cámara Minera de México.
Cada dos años en México, tenemos una convención nacional a donde asiste toda la industria minera. Este año se va a llevar a cabo del 20 al 24 de octubre en la hermosa ciudad de Acapulco. Todos ustedes están invitados. Y el año de la convención, la entrega de estos premios se hace justamente en el ámbito de esta convención nacional y en presencia de los representantes de la industria minera, de las más altas autoridades de México porque a menudo tenemos la presencia incluso del Presidente de la República Mexicana y de los secretarios del ramo involucrados.
Estas son algunas estadísticas generales de seguridad, Steve también me decía que aparentemente no había conseguido unas estadísticas, ¿dónde está Steve?, bueno es una pena porque aquí podía haber visto las estadísticas que me decía que no había conseguido con anterioridad de algunas otras fuentes que había solicitado de México.
Nosotros con mucho gusto podemos compartir no sólo las estadísticas de nuestro concurso, sino las estadísticas generales de seguridad. El Dr. Alberto Aguilar el día de ayer hizo una presentación de estadísticas también según los registros del Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social adonde por ley, todas las empresas de México tienen que reportar sus accidentes de mayor o menor grado, o sea tenemos un banco de datos estadístico muy completo y muy actualizado que definitivamente, podemos con quien nos lo solicite. Nosotros podemos ayudarles en caso de que no tengamos esta información.
Ustedes ven ahí las cifras generales, el número de trabajadores, les recuerdo que esto es de los registrados dentro del concurso, no representan todos los trabajadores en la industria minera.
Ahí tenemos los accidentes fatales registrado en 1998. Si ustedes lo ven, tuvimos 11 accidentes fatales en todas las empresas que participaron en el concurso y el total de los accidentes fatales en 1998 en la industria minera fue de 13 como lo reportó el Dr. Alberto Aguilar el día de ayer. Los otros dos simplemente significa que ocurrieron en empresas que no participan en este concurso y además están las gráficas del total de accidentes, los incapacitantes y los accidentes no incapacitantes.
Las estadísticas generales de seguridad con los índices numéricos de lo que obtuvimos en 1996, 1997 y 1998 no voy a aburrirlos con la lectura de los números únicamente quiero enfatizar que la gráfica va en descenso del 1996 al 1998 y como al principio lo dije, sentimos que además del cuidado que tienen nuestros trabajadores mineros, en alguna forma aunque sea pequeña, nuestro concurso los estimula también para esmerarse más en su desarrollo en el trabajo.
Estas son las estadísticas de cada una de las categorías que voy a pasar un poco más rápido, más de 500 personas con los índices respectivos. La anterior era de menos de 500 personas en minas subterráneas. Si alguien tiene interés en estos números, los hemos entregado al comité organizador de esta conferencia e indudablemente en algún momento nos serán entregadas también copias de las presentaciones.
Esta es para minas a cielo abierto, plantas de fundición que es la cuarta categoría, y éstos son los índices de las empresas que ganaron para que se den ustedes una idea de con qué números se han ganado los premios dentro de las empresas de cada una de las categorías desde 0 en una de las minas hasta 6.2 en una de ellas, pasando por un 0.5, hablando del índice de siniestralidad.
Estas son las ventajas colaterales del concurso que en alguna forma es señalado durante esta charla. La Cámara Minera tiene acceso directo a las estadísticas de seguridad durante la entrega de los premios de cada compañía ganadera. Se ha hecho costumbre además, que la compañía haga una presentación pública de su sistema de seguridad enfatizando los puntos y las medidas que ha tomado, que sientan los encargados de la seguridad en cada compañía, que han coadyuvado para la obtención de este premio, es un ejercicio muy completo en el que se lleva a cabo un intercambio de ideas entre los ganadores del premio y todos los demás interesados en seguridad en la industria minera.
Este es el trofeo - un casco minero de plata con unas placas grabadas que indican el nombre de la compañía o de la unidad minera y la categoría en la que ganó el trofeo, este es el que cada unidad minera, cada ganador conserva por un año y si lo gana tres años es de ellos para tenerlo por el resto de la vida de la unidad.
Es todo, si tienen alguna pregunta con mucho gusto puedo contestarla ahora aunque Ted dijo que las iba a acumular para el final de la sesión. Lamentablemente yo tendré que salir dentro de un momento al aeropuerto o sea que este sería el momento Ted, si tú estás de acuerdo.
MR. REDEKOP: Thank you very much, Dr. Lee.
Our next speaker is Dr. Larry Grayson, who is the Associate Director of Mining at NIOSH in Washington. Dr. Grayson has attained this position coming through a life from being a miner to being a professor of mining engineering. So he brings a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge to this presentation.
Please, Dr. Grayson.
DR. LARRY GRAYSON (Associate Director of Mining, NIOSH, Washington): Thank you very much for the introduction.
I do want to bring a historical context to the experience in the United States, but also look into the future a little bit as I address the performance measures in occupational safety and health.
There are some major transformations of course that occurred in the United States, as with every country. The 1969 Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act is certainly one of those, with major impact.
The 1977 Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act, which brought the metal and nonmetal sectors basically into the same regulatory scheme -- there are some differences, but pretty much under the regulatory scheme -- as effectively, if you will, as the coal side.
Since 1978, there really has been a worldwide economic competition that has just been intensifying ever since that point in time, and certainly affects the bottom line prices for the products that are being produced. That is also having a major impact along with the acts. If you look at the convergence of the 1977 Act and also this whole global competition aspect of it, it certainly forces our hands, if you will, in many ways.
Let's talk a little bit about using performance measures in occupational safety and health, and examine for just a little bit what has been the impact of these forces and, no. 2, how should the performance changes be measured and tracked now that we are in this great level of intense pressure. Then, ultimately we will ask the question: Has the health and safety culture changed? I would submit, at least in the United States and it appears from what I have seen in the other countries as well, it has.
What safety performance measures should be used? There are many of them. My predecessor presenter here certainly presented a number of them: Numbers of fatalities, loss time accidents, incident rates for each of these categories, rates of change of the various IRs over time, indicating maybe progress and a little bit better perspective, various severity measures, or there are various measures of risk that we could use.
Basically, risk is the probability of occurrence of particular events or outcomes, if you will, that occur to the miners times the magnitude of the loss. It can also occur to the operations in general, so equipment losses, any unplanned events that just are not supposed to happen, we want to control those. So we take a total loss control perspective too as we look at risk.
We can look at working a lifetime likelihood of an outcome to an individual or to the mine. We can certainly do it either quantitatively or qualitatively. There are fairly good qualitative risk assessment methods that can be part of a risk management approach at operations, and for government.
We can prioritize by frequency, severity, cost. We can compare and target various safety and health outcomes. We cannot do everything all at one time, so we indeed do need to target, and probably those who are having the largest impact are the ones we deal with first. This gives us a way of doing that.
If I look at the bottom line occupational safety and health impact in the U.S. mining industry, from 1971 to 1975, indeed after the 1969 Health and Safety Act, there was significant change. What I have done is I have based each of the five year periods that I will be presenting here on the previous five year period on a comparison basis.
In 1966 through 1970, the fatal IR, for instance, which was 0.109, and that is per 200,000 normalized hours, is smoothed by using these five year averages. So you get sort of a better idea on a comparative basis instead of single year peaks. The fatal IR was down 25.7 per cent to 0.081 during the next five year period of 1971 to 1975.
The coal fatalities, as you would expect, because it was a Coal Act primarily, went down very significantly, from 246 to 151. The non coal fatalities, however, sort of hovered around the 180, 170 level, and not as much progress was there.
The Sunshine Mine fire in Idaho, where 91 miners died, stimulated the next reaction, if you will, in our Congress and the outrage of the citizenry of the country itself. In 1977, the Amendments Act then encompassed the metal and nonmetal side as well.
What happened after that Act? We could look at the first five year period, which has the 1977 Act in it. There was more significant change. As a matter of fact, it was so significant that it was the single greatest drop in the fatal incident rate in the history of our country, at least to the extent that I have examined it, and that goes back to the turn of the century.
So, 39.4 per cent in the fatal IR, it dropped to 0.049 at that point in time. The coal fatalities went down a little bit, but the metal and nonmetal fatalities went down from 171 to 122. Again it was a specific to metal, nonmetal Act in this case.
At the same time, and this is phenomenal, the employment rose 31.5 per cent. So you can imagine, a new work force coming in but still achieving that kind of a reduction on the fatal incident rate. Most of that was in reaction to the oil embargo.
There was continued improvement in the fatal IR. I know that in our country we have been talking about sort of hovering around a plateau on the fatal incident rate, especially recently, but if you note for the different five-year periods, the rate of change, 1981 to 1985, there was still an 18 per cent reduction in the fatal IR. It went down now to 0.04. The total fatalities in both coal and metal and nonmetal were 177.
If you go to 1986 to 1990, still a 15 per cent reduction, again very good, down to 0.034 and 122. If you go to 1991 to 1995, again a close to 15 per cent reduction. So still the impetus is there for change in the fatal IR. Now we are down to an average of 98 minor fatalities across the country.
Each sector, for the very first time in 1986 through 1999, had less than 100 fatalities -- first time in history. In 1991 to 1995 there was another first in our country. That was that the average total fatalities were less than 100. You can see the average for coal and non-coal there.
The success was mirrored, if you look at the non-fatal injury rate. If I look at 1989 through 1995 and the reduction in non-fatal injury -- the reason I had to look at 1989 was because the last change of the definition of an accident occurred, legally, in 1986, and also right around that time-frame there was a general accounting office, sort of an arm from Congress, that looked and examined the accident reporting in mines. They did find some under-reporting of accidents in some mines, particularly smaller mines. That certainly had an impact, with a rise in the non-fatal incident rate.
What that did is it stabilized in 1989, from 86 to 89. Then in 89 to 95 there began the trend that you will see here. If you look at underground coal, the non-fatal injury rate went from 12.39 to 9.9; metal, nonmetal, underground, you see again a good reduction. Surface coal, again went down. Surface metal, nonmetal went down. It is a good success story on the non-fatal injury rate as well.
If we look at cases of co-workers pneumoconiosis, in our country we are still paying about 1.2 billion dollars a year in benefits to those who suffer from co-workers pneumoconiosis and/or their families, if the families, the wives, survived them.
If you look at the mortality factor, in other words, on the death certificate it is listed as a contributing cause to the death of the individual. That is the interpretation of the mortality factor. You see here also, from 1979, 1980, down to 1991, 1992, and this is the NIOSH publication, it shows a reduction, from 2,445 cases per year to 1,852 in the latest period of time. Although we do not have this published yet, there had been about 1,500 or so cases per year, looking at death certificates. So, improvement in that as well.
Today's rule, as all of you know in the industry and at government agencies too, because we are not immune to this, continuous improvement is the rule. We must improve our performances and demonstrate that. We could look certainly at fatalities and disability, and we have had the improvements over time, continuous, injuries and disease, but also in productivity and cost. It is absolutely driven by all of these performance measures.
Cultural change indeed has occurred, because of this coalescence of the 1977 Act, along with the economic competition. What we are seeing now on the scope and the culture of continuous improvement is that we look at loss control. We say basically the following. We use the general definition of an accident, so anything that was not planned, whether it is downtime, additional cost, a fatality, a near miss, is something that we want to control.
We eliminate or reduce all unplanned events in many, many companies now. It is not permeated completely through the industry, but certainly the impetus is there to do it.
There has been a bigger focus on risk management, whether it is on the environmental side or whether it is the occupational safety and health side, as well as loss of equipment or plant.
Further, I would say that we are to the point where we prioritize the areas of focus. My own agency, in prioritizing the research that is going to be done, will look at the various work time likelihoods of incurring disease or injury, take the stakeholders' inputs, including our sister agency over in MSHA, and prioritize the research that will be done and target it to those that have the biggest impact at any point in time.
Successfully we try to address those targeted areas with planned interventions. We want to evaluate the incremental improvements as we go, by whichever measure was mentioned earlier.
Finally, it works well when we empower our expert employees in solving our problems. That is when it really works very, very well.
We must have a high level commitment obviously in order for this to happen. We talked a little bit about that on the ergonomics side yesterday. Resources have to be dedicated to support these group efforts for improvement.
Finally, culturalization basically equates to changed behaviours in the workplace in addressing whatever problems challenge them.
The goals of course are not only no fatalities at this point in time, but we also want no accidents, especially no loss time accidents, and many companies have actually been adopting -- we don't even want near misses at this point in time.
The challenges and impediments to achieving continued improvements are many. Fatality problem areas that we are still seeing are powered haulage in surface and underground, ground control, primarily in underground, equipment and machinery related fatalities. We also have injury rate problem areas. Some of these you would expect -- handling materials, especially with strains and sprains and things of this nature -- maintenance and repair tasks, construction tasks or support of production. Roof bolting is still a problem area.
And finally, other areas as targeted, and MSHA had targeted here fairly recently conveyor belts as a particular problem that needed to be addressed.
There are continuing problems in small mines in our country, where we have maybe 80 per cent of the mines in certain sectors, and in some sectors it is even more than that, such as in sand and gravel and stone. 80 per cent of the mines are small mines, with 50 or fewer employees. They have a higher risk for fatalities and/or serious injuries, which are 20 days lost or more at work.
The same problem is common with contractors. So we are trying to get our arms around those problems and how to better disseminate information to these small mines and contractors, in particular within the various sectors. It is a challenging problem. "How do we help these miners?" is the bottom line question we ask, and we are still looking for the answers on getting it down to that level.
There are lingering health problems that we have. Co-workers pneumoconiosis, we are still seeing roughly between 2 and 3 per cent prevalence rate among miners who have worked even after the 1969 Health and Safety Act. No prior experience until that time.
Silicosis -- we found it in surface mine drillers at an alarming rate. Hearing loss -- just as an example, 90 per cent of the underground miners, coal miners in particular, by the time they reach age 51 are having a 25 decibel loss in their hearing. This is new. This is a newly recognized -- and there is a new impetus on handling this problem, with a noise regulation in place, to take effect next year.
Finally, musculoskeletal orders, sort of systematically starting to look at that whole area.
Some emerging realities at the same time: These are the problems we need to solve, but if we are going to solve those, we are still going to be facing, particularly in the underground setting, physical conditions are going to degrade rather than improve. In our country, we certainly have mined the best reserves first. So it will be tougher that way. There will be deeper and thinner seams and/or veins, discontinuous reserves, which means oftentimes the better technology that can mine on a broader scale will not be able to use. Even tougher global competition is certainly going to put more pressure on the miners, who are working longer hours, more days, and the operators as well.
Fewer and more international companies. We have seen this trend for a long time. There is no sign that it is going to let up just yet. When it will let up, I don't know.
To continue our improvements, the industry is going to have to do a number of things. We are going to have to employ new mining techniques or variations on those techniques, and new technologies that can make what we do a little bit easier. We are going to have to organize our work more effectively among our workforce. We are going to have to demand more health and safety features on the mining equipment, to better protect the people working with that interface of the equipment and the conditions.
We are certainly going to have to ensure that the best work practices are integral to accomplishing work. There are a number of toolboxes I have seen on the MSHA web page that are doing a good job on that.
Seek breakthroughs: We really need some breakthroughs, like dust control, for instance, is a problem, where we need some breakthroughs in handling some of these most persistent problems. We are going to have to take a fresh look. We are going to think out of the box when solving some of those problems.
We need to incorporate health, safety and environmental aspects in every facet of planning, from day one, using the system's perspective, if you will, because one thing does impact another. Even though we get new technologies or maybe modify work practices or something like that, there are still people who are there, and they impact other aspects of the operation.
Systematically setting goals and objectives to drive this continuous improvement across the board in a prioritized way. Productivity, safety, health and cost, all of those will factor in.
Certainly global change is accelerated. We have been pressed up against the walls, miners, for quite a while. We must act accordingly and redouble our efforts, in spite of how hard we are working now.
In summary, let me just say that continuous improvement in occupational safety and health performances has occurred since 1969 in the United States and what I have seen in other countries as well. Industry has always met the challenge -- meeting this challenge of being pressed against the wall -- quite well, as a matter of fact.
The prospects for the future, in my humble opinion, is that we are going to meet those challenges, we are going to again succeed, and we are going to have an even more sterling performance as the years come by.
One thing, and this was the theme of the earlier session today: Partnerships. We very much believe in this, that extensive partnerships, including global ones with our partners in North America in research and development, and application of those results, linking operators, labour and government together, all three, will be a key in continuing our improvements. Also I would admit that improvements in productivity and cost will accrue as we handle the occupational and safety health side.
Thank you very much.
MR. REDEKOP: Thank you, Dr. Grayson.
Our next speaker this morning comes to us from Canada, from Saskatchewan.
Mr. Nelson Wright has worked his way through the potash industry from a miner to Manager of Safety and Health. He will bring us the picture from Saskatchewan regarding the measurements of health and safety, particularly related to audits.
MR. NELSON WRIGHT (Manager, Health and Safety, IMC Kalium): Occupational and Health and Safety Performance Measures in the Saskatchewan Potash Industry - The mining community in Saskatchewan is committed to continuing improvements in the level of safety in the industry. On a monthly basis, representatives from various mining operations meet under the auspices of the Saskatchewan Mining Association's Safety Committee to discuss health and safety issues facing the industry, and to share information about incidents and accidents that we have experienced.
The potash mining industry has always been a major supporter of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, along with the uranium and coal mining operations. In order to help us improve our safety performance, it is imperative that we understand the significance of the performance measures that we use.
First, a brief overview of the Saskatchewan potash industry and the Saskatchewan regulatory structure.
Along with nitrogen and phosphorous, potassium is an essential element for life. It plays a key role in various enzyme reactions which regulate plant growth, and after calcium and phosphorous is the third most abundant mineral in our own bodies. Approximately 95 per cent of the world's potash production is used as an agricultural fertilizer, with the remainder used for industrial purposes.
The province of Saskatchewan covers over 650,000 square kilometres, and has a population of about 1 million people. Between 350 and 400 million years ago, sizeable beds of salts were precipitated from an evaporating inland sea. Among the salts, sylvite and carnillite were deposited in a band more than 50 miles wide and up to 450 miles long. It is estimated that the province has about 5 billion tons of potash reserves.
The potash ore beds are found approximately 1,000 metres below the surface, along the northern edge of the deposit, which deepens as it extends to the south and to the west. Five conventional shaft mines and one solution mine are located within 100 kilometres of Saskatoon. Three conventional shaft mines are located in the southeastern part of the province, and one solution mine operates approximately 30 kilometres west of Regina.
Many of the overlying strata contain water, with the Blair-Moore formation representing the major initial challenge to the industry. But in the 1960s, through the use of a technique that involved freezing the Blair-Moore, the mines were able to sink shafts down to the potash deposits.
Since then, several operations have experienced water inflows, particularly from the Dawson Bay formation. In one case, at the former Potash Corporation of America mine near Saskatoon, the underground workings were eventually flooded and the operation was converted from conventional mining to solution mining. Another operation continues to handle several thousand gallons of inflow per minute, while mining operations continue in backfilling and grouting is underway.
The shaft mines use large boring machines, often referred to as miners, to cut the ore and deposit it on conveyor belt systems that transfer the ore to the shaft for hoisting to surface. The size of the miners varies with the size of the ore bed, from eight feet in height in southeastern Saskatchewan to over 11 feet high in the Saskatoon area mines. Drifts are cut from 30 to 60 feet wide, with ore extraction rates typically around 40 per cent.
The ore is hoisted to surface, where it is crushed, and the insoluble clays are scrubbed from the ore. The potash crystals are separated from the salt crystals through various processes, including heavy media separation and flotation.
The KCL is then dried and screened, with the undersize reporting back to a compaction circuit. The Saskatchewan Shaft Operations hoist about three tons of ore to produce one ton of finished product. Typically, red and pink potash is marketed as 0060 fertilizer, while crystallized white potash is marked as 0062, although the latter is often used for industrial purposes.
At the solution mines, wells are drilled from surface to the potash deposits and water is circulated through the formation to create KCL-rich brine. The brine is then pumped to surface and precipitated or crystallized.
At the International Fertilizer Industry Association annual conference in 1998, it was estimated that the world demand for potash was in the order of 40 million metric tons of KCL. The Saskatchewan potash industry has an annual capacity of well over 12 million metric tons of KCL, and as reported to Sask Labour at the end of 1998, directly employees nearly 3,000 people, not including sub-contractor workforces.
According to information provided by Sask Labour on the 20th anniversary of the legislation, in 1972 Saskatchewan pioneered comprehensive occupational health and safety in Canada. Except for those industries under federal jurisdiction, all Saskatchewan employers, including the potash industry, are governed by the standards contained in the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993, and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations of 1996.
Along with other mining operations, the potash industry is also governed by the Mine Regulations, which came into force in 1978 and are currently in the process of revision.
The Saskatchewan legislation creates a requirement for employers to establish Occupational Health committees at all workplaces with 10 or more employees. The committees are limited to 12 members, and include equal worker and employer representation. The two solution potash mines and at least one shaft potash mine operate with a single committee, drawing members from the various operational areas. Other potash mines operate with separate committees for surface and underground areas, although one operation has a total of five committees plus a subcontractor committee, which meets and tours jointly with one of the operations committees.
In Saskatchewan, the employer is required to develop various health and safety programs in consultation with the Committee, although the Occupational Health committees and their members do not have legal liability for controlling workplace hazards.
With the groundbreaking legislation of 1972, a new regulatory agency was formed. In a speech at the Saskatchewan Safety Seminar in early 1998, the Executive Director for the OH&S division described the organization changes that occurred: Industrial hygienists and radiological safety staff from the Department of Public Health, safety inspectors from the Workers' Compensation Board, and mines inspectors from the Department of Mineral Resources all moved to the Occupational Health & Safety Division in the Department of Labour. As a result, all regulatory responsibilities for worker safety are now coordinated through one entity.
As of June 1999, the Mines Safety and Radiation Unit of the Occupational Health and Safety Division has a Chief Mines Inspector with five mines inspectors and a provincial mine rescue coordinator working with the 27 mining operations in the province. Along with the potash facilities, Saskatchewan also has uranium, gold, coal, salt, sodium sulphate, and clay producers.
The Occupational Health and Safety Division updated the OHC Manual in August 1998. The manual describes the Saskatchewan approach to occupational health and safety as one that stems from a philosophy that the responsibility for occupational health and safety is contained within the workplace. The legislation sets out a structure that supports the concept known as the internal responsibility system.
In a nutshell, an internal responsibility system means that the legal responsibility for identifying and solving occupational health and safety problems rests on the shoulders of the people in the workplace. This is the opposite of a system where people do nothing until ordered to do so by a government inspector.
On the one hand, the Saskatchewan legislation provides for three basic rights of workers: The right to know about hazards in the workplace and how to deal with them, the right to participate in occupational health and safety decisions through occupational health committees, and the right to refuse work that is believed to be unusually dangerous, without fear of discriminatory action.
On the other hand, the Act and Regulations set out duties for the workplace parties, specifically for employers, for workers, for self-employed persons, for owners, for suppliers, and for contractors.
Given that every person involved with the workplace is required to integrate health and safety into their regular activities, the legislation envisions that one of the primary roles of the Occupational Health Committee is to function as an internal auditor of the IRS, through regular workplace inspections and discussions with workers.
In like manner, according to the Saskatchewan Occupational Committee Manual, Saskatchewan Labour inspectors are the external auditors of the internal responsibility system -- they are not the system itself.
The OHC Manual concludes the discussion on responsibility by pointing out that accountability is proportional to responsibility. The employer is ultimately responsible and accountable for health and safety.
Mine employers are required to report injuries on a monthly basis to the Saskatchewan Department of Labour. In January of 1994, the Chief Mines Inspector issued a directive to the mining industry establishing a classification scheme for reporting injuries. This scheme created five categories of workplace injuries.
A first-aid injury occurs when a worker is able to return to full duties after receiving treatment on site.
A medical consultation is when a worker is able to return to full duties on the next regular work day, but did not receive any treatment. He was assessed, but did not receive treatment.
A medical incident occurs when a worker receives treatment from a physician.
Modified work injury occurs when a worker is unable to return to work at his full and regular duties.
A loss time injury occurs when the worker is unable to work in any capacity as a result of a workplace injury.
For those mining corporations with operations in both the United States and Saskatchewan, it had been difficult to establish statistical comparisons across the border. With the distinction made between a medical consultation and a medical incident in Saskatchewan, it is now possible to use the Saskatchewan numbers to roughly emulate the American OSHA and Bureau of Labour standards numbers.
This chart shows the injury rates that the Saskatchewan potash industry has experienced over the past several years, as reported by the Quarterly Accident Statistics Report issued by the Mines Safety and Radiation Unit.
For purposes of this presentation, the numbers for the solution potash mines have been added in with the conventional potash mines. Loss time accidents, modified work injuries and medical incidents which require treatment have been added and expressed as a frequency per 200,000 person-hours worked.
The occupational injury and illness rate for the U.S. nonmetallic minerals industry, SIC Code 14, as reported in the National Safety Council 1998 Edition of Accident Facts, is shown for comparison purposes.
The chart shows, on average, that between four and five workers per hundred have sustained workplace injuries which required at least medical treatment over the past five years. As a trailing indicator, this frequency shows us how often potash people get hurt. It does little to inform us about the seriousness of the injuries sustained, and does nothing to help us to know what needs to be fixed.
Another measure of the potash industry's performance can be found within the Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board assessment rate structure. Unlike some other North American jurisdictions, all costs associated with any workplace injury are paid by the Saskatchewan WCB.
A worker is free to seek medical assistance from any physician within the province, and if the physician is satisfied that the visit is a result of the workplace injury, the WCB is billed for the costs. These costs are then recorded against an employer's experience account with the WCB.
Employers are then placed in pools with other employers with similar risks. In the case of the shaft potash mines, the pool consists solely of the eight shaft potash employers. The solution mines are pooled with some other similar employers.
The Saskatchewan Workers' Compensation Board is required to administer each pool on a break-even basis, allowing for administrative and actuarial costs. Employers with very low claims costs may receive rebates of up to 20 per cent of their assessment. Employers with very high claim costs may be surcharged up to 40 per cent of their basic assessment.
As can be seen, at 40 cents per hundred dollars in salary, the solution mines experience the 5th lowest assessment rate, and the conventional potash mines, at 77 cents per hundred dollar salary, experience the 12th lowest assessment rate among the 60 rate codes that were established for 1999 in the province.
It is my understanding that the assessment model used by the WCB attempts to use recent historical information to predict the future costs that will be incurred by any particular pool. In a pool that contains very few employers, it is in their individual best interest to assist each other to reduce the rate of injuries, since another employer's poor performance will impact the WCB assessment for the rest of the pool.
It is within this framework that industry associations, such as the potash section of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, function to raise the standards in the industry. Ultimately, however, the WCB assessment rate is also a trailing indicator. In the Saskatchewan model, the rates may say something about the relative average cost of injuries, but in fact aggressive return-to-work programs, as urged by our WCB, may mask the true extent of the dollar cost of the injuries. The WCB rates also do not identify what improvements are required.
Although injury rates and Workers' Compensation costs are often referred to when discussing safety performance, a safety conscious organization will seek upstream or leading indicators for safety performance. We have already reviewed the Saskatchewan perspective that our properly functioning Occupational Health Committee can serve as an internal auditor, and the Mine Safety and Radiation Unit can serve as an external auditor of the facility's internal responsibility system.
It is my understanding that PCS uses a form of the five star audit program as developed by the former international LOS (sp) control institute. Various personnel from PCS Operations are trained as auditors by the DNV organization and participate in LOS (sp) control audits at their sister operations. ICM Global, the parent corporation for the IMC Kalium organization, conducts environmental health and safety audits at all its facilities, including the four Saskatchewan potash operations, using protocols based on OSHA, MSHA and the Canadian regulations, as well as established best business practices.
There are several offshoots of a comprehensive corporate audit program. Most of the potash operations use some form of safety observation on a regular basis. These observations might include workplace inspections, task observations, or interactions modeled on the DuPont stop system.
I would suggest that there is a significant challenge to the utility of these programs as a health and safety performance indicator. By its very nature, management must measure an activity in order to manage it. Unfortunately, what is measured may not equate with what is to be managed. For example, if a workplace inspection program is implemented and the standard for compliance is the number of inspections completed, then most subordinates will meet that quota.
The challenge of course is that this program is meant to improve the quality of the workplace through identifying the causes of substandard conditions and activities, and correcting them. If the measure for compliance is based solely on the quantity of inspections, then the fact of compliance may not contribute to improvements within the system.
The senior members of an organization, with the authority to establish policy, set goals and deploy resources, are generally held accountable for final results -- costs, profit, share price. The result of successful safety policy, goals and resources, is that fewer people get hurt, and the injuries are less severe.
The trailing indicators may be suitable at this level, although due diligence requires the implementation of effective monitoring for actual compliance with policy. The site management implements the policy and manages towards the goals. At this level, it is important to understand what is causing the substandard performance. While usually being accountable for safety performance as measured by trailing indicators, site management must, in fact, focus on the upstream indicators to ensure that root causes of substandard performance and conditions are identified and eliminated.
Often, the limited scope of control of first line supervisors makes the use of injury rates inappropriate. If an organization has a safety management system that results in an injury frequency of 5 and wishes to improve, a 10-person crew, on average, would work two years between injuries. In the intervening time, a focus on injury rates would conclude that that particular crew is contributing to an improvement, when in fact the crew could be continuing to operate at a level that generates a frequency of 5.
A preferred performance measure for first line supervisors would focus on the quality of their participation in the programs that are implemented as a result of policy.
The Saskatchewan potash industry has traditionally attempted to measure safety performance through the use of trailing indicators, such as injury frequency, severity, and compensation cost. In addition to the efforts of the Occupational Health committees and the Mines and Radiation Safety Unit, most operations have implemented programs that attempt to identify deficiencies in the internal responsibility system, before the deficiencies are identified as losses. This is evidence that the industry has recognized the value of leading indicators in evaluating safety performance.
Thank you very much.
Question Period - Période de questions - Período de Preguntas
MR. REDEKOP: Thank you, Mr. Wright.
Are there any questions? Dr. Grayson and Mr. Wright would be willing to answer any of them.
NEW SPEAKER: For Mr. Wright. What are your measures for measuring improvements in health, as opposed to safety injuries?
MR. WRIGHT: Within the Saskatchewan mining industry, I do not believe we have an effective measure for measuring health, only as reflected by, perhaps, the frequency of modified work injuries or days lost in some way in that effect. In terms of objectively and separately measuring health separately from injuries, I do not believe that our industry has yet got an indicator for that.
MR. REDEKOP: Dr. Grayson.
DR. GRAYSON: I think really Marge had directed that towards Mr. Wright, and Saskatchewan in particular.
Basically, we have had a hard time. What we have had to look at is exposures as a surrogate for it, and a certain change in prevalence rates is what we have had to focus on, on the government side.
As far as the industry side, there are some fairly proactive companies that are doing health screening on a regular basis, and they are trying, through the health screening on an annual basis, maybe even more so if necessary, they are trying to screen out those who need help before the disease occurs. Those are not, by any means, accumulated into a database that we can actually use. That's the problem.
NEW SPEAKER: A question for Mr. Wright.
Thanks for your presentation. It was informative. I think part of the objectives of this conference is to share our successes. It seems to me that Saskatchewan -- I have some knowledge about Saskatchewan -- is doing some good work with respect to health and safety and committees and the internal responsibility system.
Some of us do not always believe in the internal responsibility system. It was once describe to me like communism: It looks good on paper, but it doesn't work.
In some jurisdictions in Canada it does work. In the American jurisdictions, there is no internal responsibility system, because in many places there is no health and safety committees. Likewise in Mexico.
Could you explain, first off, the mechanism that brings the two sides together?, and then the third party would be the enforcers, the training and such, briefly. I think the key point is, what do you do in Saskatchewan, or what is your experience with a committee that fails? In other words, if the internal responsibility system fails, what happens and what steps are taken to try to correct that problem?
MR. WRIGHT: In my own personal experience, I have not experienced a failed occupational health committee, although I think I have participated at three operations in attempting to improve occupational health committee activities. The source of these improvements, I would suggest, is based in training and information. I saw earlier a slide that referred to expert employees. To some extent, what management needs is input from the people on the floor. They are expert in the activities they undertake.
However, once we have occupational health committee representatives, all of us can benefit by the level of knowledge and expertise that the committee members share and have available to them to genuinely identify root causes as opposed to superficial issues in the workplace.
Regarding the first part of your question, the perspective of the internal responsibility system, as it is understood in Canada, is that the responsibility for safety is not someone else's job. It is not the government's job, in our opinion, to keep our workplaces safe. They are part of the solution, along with the employers, along with the workers who, on a regular basis, can inspect and seek out deficiencies and ensure that they are corrected.
I hope that answered your question.
NEW SPEAKER: One of the things we run into in the States with some of our local unions and their employers is when they move to a measurement system that looks at behaviour, I guess. There has been a big tendency in some of those companies to begin to look at behaviour and changing behaviour as the best means of improving basically our lost work days (inaudible) rate and safe procedures and so on.
We have seen in a number of those companies what happened is that becomes the main means of determining what is wrong, and correcting things, basically by correcting employees, very occasionally supervisors.
We also end up, in some of those companies, with a marked decrease in how much they are willing to pay for engineering controls and other methods which really get at the root causes of problems.
Could you maybe comment on that, whether that is becoming a tendency in Saskatchewan, and perhaps what NIOSH is seeing too or, if not, how you have managed to avoid doing that?
MR. WRIGHT: Actually, that is interesting, I think it was two or three months ago there was an article discussing exactly that point in Occupational Health and Safety Canada Magazine.
Certainly we would have to look at what are the issues in a particular workplace. As I understood part of what you may have been asking me was about the appropriateness of behaviour based safety when you exchange it for engineering controls.
Clearly, if you have a workplace that has significant engineering and safety process deficiencies, if you do not have a well built structure, if you do not have safe mine designs, if you do not have good ventilation capacity, if you do not have good training programs, I personally cannot see how behaviour based safety is going to improve things.
However, there might come a point, and I believe there does come a point, once an organization has the fundamental safety engineering components in place, often we see plateaus in performance. That means we have now run into some barrier where we have to change the way we think to continue to improve. I think if there is any place where behaviour based programs may be the most significant, is that when you have systems that are down controlling incidents in the rate of, say, three to five, that is your OSHA frequency, it may be limited in the amount of benefit that safety engineering can provide to improve that rate, and perhaps then it is appropriate in fact to start looking at systems like behaviour based safety because obviously there is some component that yet has not been addressed.
I do not believe that it is a proper use of behaviour based programming to exchange it for safety engineering, but I believe each may serve its own role in overall helping to improve the safety.
The significance about the behaviour based implementation, of which I am aware, is that it is essentially done by the work force, at least the successful ones that I have heard of. The unsuccessful ones may have been implemented by management. That may be an interesting dynamic as well.
NEW SPEAKER: There are indeed variations on behaviour based safety process, and there have been some good achievements, where the expert miners, the way I look at it, are intimately involved along the way. However, it would appear to me, and this is NIOSH's official position, that the technologically feasible controls ought to be implemented first.
Then, if indeed those technologically feasible controls are not able to do the job, and there are a mixture of factors involved on the various problems that are being analyzed for injuries or whatever. Some of those obviously are human factors -- human-machine interfaces, sometimes not remembering steps in the job, especially non-routine situations or conditions that deteriorate fairly quickly while they are doing the job, things of this nature.
Not always will engineering controls be available to handle those, but if indeed the process is set up so that the expert miners are involved in that process and they then basically can adopt, if you will, from the consensus based reaction -- it is reaction at that point in time -- to the problems that are there, then it will be adopted better, and can be transformed into behaviour changes.
If it is not that way and they are sort of on the side, if you will, not intimately involved, then there is a major hurdle there indeed to change the behaviours at all. So I would sort of challenge the behaviour based safety concept as being even effective in those situations.
NEW SPEAKER: What would follow as a comment to that too is clearly one of the problems we see that one of the big behaviours which influence health and safety, basically decision-making as to expenditures, seems to be totally removed from workers' abilities to look at behaviour, investigate behaviour, and I am not sure if there are any companies around that go to that point of allowing, when they do have worker based behaviour teams, to look into that issue.
MR. REDEKOP: Thank you very much -- one more question.
NEW SPEAKER: This is for Dr. Grayson.
Mr. Wright spoke of leading and trailing indicators. I think we all believe that leading indicators impact directly and indirectly on the trailing indicators. In order to improve the leading indicators, they have to be measured, they have to be quantified.
Do you have any comments on the ability and the need to quantify and measure leading indicators as a measure of occupational health and safety performance?
DR. GRAYSON: Again, I would just come across on that whole idea of any unplanned events occurring and taking a hard look, every single day, that things may be showing up -- as conditions change or whatever, things are going to happen that you did not want to happen.
Taking a regular look at those on a day-to-day basis is the best way to get ahead, if you will, and not wait for accumulation of statistics later on. That whole approach, the systematic approach, to addressing things as quickly as possible and taking care of the problem then is primarily it.
I do not have a whole lot of experience with leading indicators. Most of it, on the government side especially, has been more incident rates and things of this nature, prevalences. That philosophy that the operator -- when I was an operator, I tried to do the same exact thing. Look at those events and curtail those events in the early, early stages, is the best approach.
MR. REDEKOP: Thank you very much to our speakers for their excellent, innovative and thoughtful and interactive presentations. Thank you very much.
MR. GEOFF BAWDEN (Executive Director, Manitoba Department of Labour, Provincial Co-chair): It gives me great pleasure today to introduce a gentleman who has been involved with the labour movement for quite a number of years, and who has a significant profile and distinguished history in the labour movement in the province of Manitoba.
Rob Hilliard graduated from Sir George Williams University in Montreal with a B.A. in Honours Sociology. He first became a member of the United Steelworkers of America in 1969. He was active in northern Manitoba as a trade unionist, holding a variety of positions, including local union president in Leaf Rapids. For those who do not know, Leaf Rapids is several hundred kilometres north of here, and is a small community that is surrounded by the rocks and trees of the Canadian Shield.
He was hired by the Manitoba Federation of Labour as Health and Safety Representative in 1987. First elected as the President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour in 1995 and re-elected in 1997. The Manitoba Federation, ladies and gentlemen, is the organization which represents workers in the province of Manitoba.
Previously, he has worked very hard as a worker before becoming a chief of Labour in the province of Manitoba. I am sure you will find his talk stimulating. He is a very articulate speaker.
Without any further words on my part, Mr. Rob Hilliard.
MR. ROB HILLIARD (President, Manitoba Federation of Labour): Thanks very much, Geoff. I hope I can live up to those kind remarks.
I would like to thank everybody for having the opportunity to be here this afternoon and to address delegates from Mexico, the United States and Canada, on a topic that is very important to the labour movement of course, but it is also important to me on a personal level.
As Geoff has indicated, I have history in the mining industry. I spent 12 years of my working life working underground in mines in northern Manitoba. I certainly saw first-hand and dealt first-hand with many of the risks that miners have to deal with when they go to work every day.
I also saw some of my co-workers get hurt on the job, some of them quite seriously. On two occasions, two of my co-workers were fatally injured. I had the very sad experience of trying to console a young widow with two young children of one of those co-workers. The mining industry has indeed claimed too many victims over the years.
I think it is fair to acknowledge that there have been improvements in the industry. I first began my career in 1969. When I first went underground, when I first put a lamp on my hard hat and went to work, I and a number of other rookie miners were herded into a lunchroom underground. The shift boss there proceeded to give us a two-day orientation on what to expect.
One of the first things they did was hand us a manual about this thick, the size of the New York City telephone directory. We were informed that there was a procedure, and a safe procedure, for doing absolutely everything there was to do underground, and that if any of us were in an accident, it would be because we did not follow that procedure properly.
Well, I have learned a lot since then. I have learned in fact that it is far better -- first of all, I think I should point out that any health and safety system that is designed to require human beings to be vigilant and alert and to always do things correctly all of the time is a system that is designed to fail. Human beings simply are not made that way. We have other things on our minds. Perhaps we have had a fight with our spouse, perhaps we have a sick child at home, maybe a parent has passed away, maybe we are having financial difficulties, maybe we are just thinking about who might win the Grey Cup -- or the Superbowl, for our guests from the United States.
The fact is that human beings have other things on their minds. I did learn, as a miner, and I think it is true, that most miners are very much more alert when they are on the job than a lot of other workers. You get attuned to listening for something very different and to react quickly to it, to see anything differently. You cannot see much when you are underground, of course, but even when you feel something different, you react quickly.
I can recall an example I had when I was drilling with a partner on a muck pile and we felt a sudden blast of air hit our legs, almost knocked us over. We couldn't hear anything, because our drills were going. We dropped our drills and we headed out of there without even looking to see what had happened, because you have to react that way when you are a miner.
What had happened is that the far end of the stope had come down and had created a gust of air that had almost knocked us off our feet. So miners do have to be alert, and they are alert, but they cannot be totally alert all of the time, and they cannot do everything right all of the time.
What makes far more sense in health and safety is to find out where the hazards are and what they are, and to try to control the hazards rather than trying to control the workers.
Ideally you would try and eliminate hazards, and where you cannot eliminate hazards, you try to control them. That is a far better approach to health and safety management than telling workers to be ever alert and to always do things right, especially from a manual that is that thick.
There are a few other things I learned as well over the years. I learned that health and safety should not just be a management prerogative. When it was a management prerogative, we got handed these big manuals and told to act safety, and that if we were in an accident, it was probably our fault.
What makes far more sense is for workers to be directly involved in the process, to participate in identifying hazards, to participate in how to manage them, to be part of the decision-making process that controls and ideally eliminates them.
In Manitoba, we have had legislation here since the mid-1970s that has required workplaces to have joint labour-management workplace health and safety committees. But the mining industry here in Manitoba frankly was a trailblazer, because we practiced that at many of the mine sites in Manitoba well before there was a legislative requirement. There was a negotiated provision in our collective agreements where we had a requirement through the bargaining process to have joint labour-management workplace health and safety committees.
It should not be surprising that in a mining environment health and safety would perhaps take a higher priority than it does in other kinds of workplaces. For those reasons, workers prioritized health and safety higher, and bargained hard to ensure that they had a role in that.
There is a good reason workers and miners feel it is important to be involved. It is not that we believe employers and managers don't care. The truth of the matter is, we have different priorities. When a manager is looking every day at his production schedule and is being told by his superiors and his board of directors that he has to turn a profit, that he has to reduce costs and increase production, those are the things that are uppermost in their minds. It is not that they don't care, it is just not their first priority. But for miners, it often is. That is why miners and workers need a say in the process.
The difficulty we have with the joint workplace health and safety committees, the structural flaw that exists with them is that workers have their say in the process, but it is an advisory role. Joint workplace health and safety committees will pass along recommendations to management. Management makes the final decision.
If managers have other things on their minds, they may say "that's not as important as increasing the production over here", and that is the decision that gets made, but it is not the decision that the miners would make.
I know there is a lot of health and safety professionals in this room. I have been involved in the field myself over the years, and I have had many conversations with people, where they will argue that, yes, but investment in health and safety now pays off down the road. You have fewer injuries, you have fewer problems to deal with. Those are expenses.
I had a conversation like that with a mine manager up north once. He very quickly turned around to me and he said, "I don't have the luxury of looking down the road. The board of directors in Toronto wants to see black ink on next month's financial statement, and I have to do that." He was a nice guy, certainly did not want to hurt anybody, but that was his priority. It was necessary for him to keep his job for that to be his priority.
If that is not a good enough indication for some folks here about where managers' heads are at, I want to refer back to a quotation that a former CEO of Ford Canada said in a public speech shortly after the first Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement was negotiated. In a public speech in Toronto, he got up and said: "I urge Canadian governments, provincial and national, to relax health and safety regulations and to enforce them more liberally, because 'they were a drag on profits'". I didn't say that, the CEO of Ford said that.
Under those kind of conditions, government plays a key and vital role. Government must move into that difference of priorities and be prepared to regulate, to pass good regulations that protect workers when they are at work, to protect miners when they are underground, and they also must be equally prepared to enforce those regulations vigorously, because when they don't do that, workers get hurt, because managers have a different priority.
There is one graphic example here in Canada that illustrates what can happen when in fact government withdraws from their role and when managers are simply unconcerned about health and safety. This example happened in a mine in Nova Scotia, the province in our eastern side. It is called Westray. That mine blew up in 1992. When I say "blew up", I mean that quite literally -- it blew up -- and it killed everybody that was underground at the time. Twenty-six miners died all at once. I think there are still about a dozen of them down there. They have not been able to retrieve the bodies.
Westray was a mine in a hurry. It had unrealistic production schedules. It had a management that was frankly incompetent, and particularly mean spirited. It fired miners who complained about safety problems. In fact, there was more than one miner that was fired for reporting safety violations to the provincial inspectorate, and there were many violations -- many, many violations.
The provincial inspectorate did not get as involved as it should have. When it did get involved, reluctantly, and wrote orders, it never saw that they were followed. And the management did not follow them. They did not care -- production came first. The inspectorate simply did not follow up.
It was so bad in this particular mine that the miners actually got together in the homes of one of the miners just a short while before the fatal explosion. They met and they talked with a miner who had just been fired for reporting violations to the provincial inspectorate. That miner's name was Carl Guptal (sp).
In the testimony before the Westray Mine Public Inquiry, he described that meeting. These miners were talking about not the problems in the mine as if they were something that might happen, they talked about them as if they were going to happen. They did not talk about what might happen if the mine might blow up, if there might be an explosion, they talked about what would happen when it blew up.
I want to just quote to you what Carl Guptal testified in that public hearing about what one of the miners had said, one of the miners who is no longer here: "If we die in that mine, you go public, as soon as she blows, and you tell the world what you know. Do it for our widows."
The miners knew what was going to happen. They were afraid. They still went to work. They calculated, actually, that they had a 25 per cent chance of being underground when she blew, because there were four crews. They still went to work. Well, the inevitable did happen, and the mine blew and killed 26 miners.
I think it is also important to realize that that mine, that Westray mine, just a few short weeks prior to this accident, was the recipient of the John T. Ryan Award from the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, for having the safest mine in Canada. It had the safest mine in Canada on paper. In reality, it was a death trap.
I have a colleague of mine who often refers to Canadian workplaces by saying "It's a Westray world out there". He does not mean that all Canadian workplaces or all Canadian mines are as hazardous as the Westray mine, because of course they are not. And he does not mean that all managers are as incompetent and as mean-spirited as the Westray managers were, because they are not.
What he does mean is that there are great competitive pressures applied to employers and managers, and that those pressures cause managers to prioritize health and safety lower than miners and workers would, the people who are really at risk. And it does mean that managers make the final decisions about health and safety. If that is followed up with government lack of will to pass regulation and lack of will to enforce strenuously, then there is an inevitable conclusion. That conclusion is that Canadian workers, indeed Mexican workers, workers from the United States if they are faced with a similar system, will be hurt and sometimes killed on the job. Frankly, that is the crux of the matter when it comes to organized labour.
It is unrealistic to expect employers to prioritize health and safety concerns high enough. The pressures that are brought to bear on them lead them in a different direction. They push them somewhere else.
Any system that relies on managers to make those final decisions is a system that is saying: Workers being hurt, and even killed occasionally, is a cost of production.
If government does not move in to fill that void and be the regulator and a very vigorous enforcer, then that will be the only logical and inevitable consequence that can arise.
It is no secret to many of the people in this room that organized labour in Canada and the United States were not crazy about NAFTA. Truthfully, we opposed it. We opposed it because it promoted an environment of letting the marketplace decide things, of government stepping back and letting managers run the show. It will be good for the economy, that's the theory.
From a worker standpoint, that is going to cost us a lot. We are going to get hurt on the job, some of us are going to get killed. That system will not promote workplace health and safety.
NAFTA does have side agreements, the NAALC. They have been around now for a few years. We have had a lot of meetings. But organized labour really is not here as a significant player. We are taking a stand-back approach to it. Meetings are not enough. We need to be directly involved. There has to be a philosophical approach to the problem, that says: Government has a legitimate and important role to play here, and they must do it.
Frankly, if you are not prepared to accept that notion, honestly I think you are not doing much here. You can have a lot of meetings, but you are not going to accomplish much really in workplaces. We would like to be involved. We would not like that to be the result. We want to be involved, we want to see this be real. I guess that is our challenge to you: Make it real. And we will be there.
Thank you very much.
MR. BAWDEN: I want to thank you, Rob, for your frank and articulate comments. Thank you very much, sir.
DR. ALEJANDRO GALINDO BARAJAS (Director de Asistencia Técnica, Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social): (off-microphone) …me tocó coordinar esta mesa que siguiendo un poco lo que indicó el expositor del almuerzo, es la responsabilidad del gobierno, el establecimiento de las normas, soy el Dr. Alejandro Galindo, Director de Asistencia Técnica en seguridad e higiene de la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión y Social de México.
El primer expositor para tratar este tema, es el Sr. James LeBlanc, de Canadá quien es un higienista titulado, graduado de la Comisión Americana y el Consejo de Inscripción canadiense de Higiene Ocupacional, ha ocupado diversos puestos en comités de salud y seguridad, ha dado asesorías, en las provincias marítimas de Canadá, en salud y seguridad en el trabajo, actualmente es el director ejecutivo de la división de salud y seguridad ocupacional del Ministerio de Trabajo de Nueva Escocia. Le cedemos la palabra al Sr. LeBlanc.
MR. JAMES LEBLANC (Executive Director, Occupational Health and Safety, Department of Labour, Nova Scotia.): Thank you very much for the introduction. It gives me great pleasure to be here today to speak to the delegates at this international conference on mining safety and health.
It was an interesting presentation that our lunch time speaker talked about the Westray mining disaster in Nova Scotia, because that is a topic that I wish to talk to you about this afternoon.
I would like to start by raising the issue that the question of standard setting for performance in health and safety needs to reflect not only objective criteria and statistical measures that look at activity and outcomes, but it needs to measure stakeholder satisfaction with the content of the regulations, with the content and the delivery of the services of an organization.
As an agency responsible for workplace health and safety and as a provider of a service, you need to understand or at least appreciate your clients' expectations of your service. The story that I would like to recount this afternoon is one where those expectations were not matched.
We, as an agency responsible for enforcement in a jurisdiction in Canada, were not able to meet those expectations and it resulted in a catastrophic disaster. Sometimes, from those failures there is an opportunity to learn.
In this case, one of the important issues to identify is that for us as regulators, the culture changed around health and safety, and we did not notice. When I speak of culture, I see at least four components that we might want to address, the first being the public, and I would include the media in that concept of culture around health and safety, and what is the public expectation, what is acceptable in relation to workplace health and safety, and what is acceptable in relation to risk.
The second area of culture is around the occupational safety and health agency itself, the culture within the regulator; when does coaching stop, and when does enforcement begin. I think we have heard, through the course of our couple of days, that obviously both of those efforts need to be in place, but there has to be a line where you leave the coaching exercise behind and move into the enforcement mode.
The culture on behalf of the employer, the culture around the willingness to comply with the standards, the introduction of innovation into workplaces, and the ability or the need to go beyond the requirements of the regulation.
Finally, the last area of culture is the one around the employee and their attitudes towards health and safety in the workplace and, more importantly, their expectations of us as regulators and of employers in relation to the health and safety that they expect, and indeed demand, in their workplace.
To put the presentation in perspective, I come from a province on the east coast of Canada, a reasonably small jurisdiction. The population is roughly a million residents, a workforce of approximately 400,000. To put the issue in perspective from that of mining, the province has had a history of coal mining that goes back to the early 1800s. At this point in time, there are roughly 3,000 people employed in mines, and roughly half of those would be employed in coal mines.
Because of that history in mining, the province is no stranger to mining accidents. Prior to this 1992 accident in Nova Scotia, the last mine explosion occurred in the late 50s, early 60s.
The Westray project that was referred to in the lunch time discussion, to provide a little bit of detail around it, it really involved a coal scene that had been mined probably in the late 20s. In the early 1980s, interest developed in again mining coal from the scene and by the late 1980s it was apparent that the project would proceed.
The project itself, because of some socio-economic conditions -- a high unemployment rate, it was an unexploited resource that existed in the province, there was political support for this project, there was a market for the coal. So those conditions were ripe for this project to proceed.
In terms of the state of the mining industry in the province, it is probably fair to say that the mining industry was in a downturn in the province, and had been that way for some time. There had been no new coal mines opened in the province for probably 20 years, other than some surface stripmines that were operated. But in terms of an underground coal mine, this would have been the first underground coal mine in 20 years that was going into production.
The last point in terms of the project itself is that there was a certain amount of government involvement at both the federal and provincial levels, in that loan guarantees were provided to assist the company become financially viable, there was a contract put in place to ensure that there was a market for a large percentage of the production of coal that would come from the mine. Finally, there was a taker-pay contract that was put in place by the provincial government to ensure the economic feasibility. So from the perspective of an environment, there was a desire to see the mine proceed, and there was support at all levels to see that it went ahead.
Some of the problems that I would like to identify in terms of the environment that we were operating in, first and foremost would be the legislation and the regulation around underground mining. In Nova Scotia, we were working with a set of regulations that were 40 years old. Many of the rules would have actually prevented the mine from operating, because the technology had long since left them behind. There had been an active process to try and revise these rules. It had gone on for ten years, but it had never become the priority in terms of having it completed.
There was some uncertainty in terms of which government agency was responsible for what. As a result, there were some gaps in terms of how the agencies delivered their services.
New technology. We have talked about technology over the last couple of days. The mine was going to use technology that had never been seen in the province before. There was a reliance in this workplace on that technology in terms of it doing what it was supposed to do. In reality, certainly some of the facts that have come out since that time have identified that the performance of the new technology was not everything that it was promised to be.
An issue of staff expertise. From the perspective of familiarity with the new technology, the culture of enforcement and the issue of coaching versus enforcement. From the part of the employer, the desire and the ability to upgrade staff to deal with these new technologies and new work methods that were being introduced in the province. In terms of the question of resources, financial resources for plan review, plan approval, contractual expertise to deal with design.
These were a number of areas that had to be addressed all around this new facility coming into the province.
The issue of training in the workplace. I think we have identified on a number of occasions the importance of training for the employees in the workplace. In this case, the infrastructure that had been in place to provide trained workers to underground coal mines was not readily available, and there was not a commitment on the part of the employer to bring the skills to bear in this workplace that were required.
The next slide identifies that in May 1992 there was an explosion. The bullets that are identified characterize the events that followed. Obviously the first and foremost was the rescue and retrieval efforts that went on in terms of the workers that were believed to be trapped underground in attempting to save the mine. That happened immediately.
Within days of the explosion, there was a Labour investigation that began in terms of the health and safety issues around the explosion. There was also a police investigation that began.
Within a matter of weeks, there was an official inquiry that was announced, and within months there were civil suits that proceeded as a result of the accidents.
To review briefly what happened in each of those cases, in terms of the Labour investigation, as I mentioned, it began as soon as the rescue and retrieval process was underway. It involved officers, inspectors, that were not involved in directly servicing the workplace. It also involved external expertise. To the credit of the mining industry and the regulators across the boundaries and the jurisdictions, at the time of disaster and the time of need, all jurisdictions assisted in bringing expertise to bear to help address the circumstances.
That investigation resulted in 52 charges against five parties, including the employer, the mine manager, the underground manager, and a number of supervisors.
About two years down the road those charges were withdrawn, to avoid compromising the criminal investigation. In hindsight, it is probably safe to say that those charges would have stood the best chance of being successfully prosecuted.
In terms of the police investigation, it began during the course of the rescue and retrieval, when issues of document destruction were raised. It involved the police and assigned Crown attorneys. There was some external expertise contracted to provide service. At one point in time, the RCMP actually trained as a mine team to go down into the mine to recover evidence.
That investigation resulted in six charges against three parties: The employer, the mine manager and the underground manager. That set of charges was set thrown out by the courts, and another set of charges was refiled against the parties.
The trial began. It was eventually stopped because of disclosure of information problems, and eventually the Supreme Court of Canada ordered a new trial. The prosecution, serviced by the Crown attorneys that would have been involved in the prosecution, decided not to proceed after about six years, based on their evaluation that a conviction would be extremely unlikely.
The next item was a civil litigation and a civil suit naming the province, the employer, suppliers, individuals, including inspectors and supervisors, was begun by the families. This action was put on hold while the other court actions were proceeded.
There have been a number of settlement conferences during the course of this seven-year period. The initial request was 130 million dollars in costs for settlement. The latest request for settlement is actually 13 million dollars. Over the period, there have been a number of investigations and a number of attempts to try and get to the basic cause of the accident.
The last investigation and inquiry that went on is the public inquiry. It was established under the legislation of the province. Initially there were some legal arguments that while this thing was before the courts, the inquiry could not proceed, but at the end of the day, in 1995, the inquiry actually had got off the ground and began its investigation.
The inquiry's report was insightful. It basically said that the fundamental and basic responsibility for safe operation of an underground coal mine, and indeed any industrial undertaking, rests clearly with the management. In this specific case, management failed, the inspector failed, and the mine blew up.
Probably the most quoted quote from the inquiry is the next line, that talks about how this was a complex mosaic of actions, omissions, mistakes, incompetence, apathy, cynicism, stupidity, and neglect.
The public inquiry identified some things about the company: The officials lacked appropriate qualifications in commitment to safety, little real attention being paid to the training and safe work practices in the workplace; the identification of major problems with ground control, and the mismanagement of those issues in a drive to produce; violations and unsafe practices, which were documented; poor management in worker relations. The judge, in his report, concluded that the disaster was inevitable. It should have been foreseeable and preventable.
In terms of us, the Department of Labour, as a regulator, it identified that inspectors were inadequately trained to meet this workplace, performance was inadequate in terms of the services they provided, and we had a flawed view of this internal responsibility system that we have talked about earlier and that I am going to mention in a few slides.
The inspectors were too close to management, and they failed to support the workers when issues were raised. Our earlier speaker at lunch time referred to one of the employees who came forward. That was one of the issues in terms of the level of support that we, as a regulatory agent, provided to the employees when they raised health and safety concerns.
In total, there were 74 recommendations made by the inquiry. They are broken down roughly, according to those numbers, with some for the OSH regulator, some for the resource regulator, some related to corporate accountability, but the majority directed to the specifics of regulations.
Government, from the perspective of the OSH regulator, has responded to the inquiry's recommendations, in that we have addressed the five recommendations that were directed at us as a regulator and the one that dealt with revision to the Occupational Health and Safety Act for corporate accountability.
The Government's Response has introduced the policy respecting no notice on inspection. It has conducted its review of the Occupational Health and Safety Division. It is in the process of transferring all responsibilities to the Department of Labour for health and safety to avoid confusion. It has negotiated with the federal government to put in place some resource-sharing capabilities in relation to mine inspection. It is in the process of revising its mine regulations, and Public Prosecution System, Special Prosecution Unit, has been established within government to deal with health and safety issues.
In part of its response, government basically recognized that in relation to health and safety, employers and employees have to be the first line of defence for the workplace, and government's role is there to step in and ensure that the system works, to provide the enforcement where it is necessary, and we recognize the process failures in relation to Westray in terms of dealing with health and safety.
The next slide identifies probably one of the first jurisdictions to try and introduce a definition around internal responsibility, to identify that it is a shared responsibility, that the primary responsibility rests with the people in the workplace, and that responsibility extends to the extent of the authority and ability to control things, that that framework for participation and exchange exists within the workplace, and that government's role really is to clarify the roles of the parties, to support them and to enforce where required.
On the next slide, we have identified our framework - it is based on an Act, regulations, codes of practices and guidelines.
The next slide identifies some of the areas where you can find examples of participation, the information transfer between employer and employee, the right to refuse and the right to complain. So there are specific provisions that are built into the legislation to allow these things to occur.
In terms of the results that have happened, when we look back at this disaster we can look at the personal losses in terms of 26 miners losing their lives. In addition to that, the careers of many individuals, both in the employ of the employer and in the employ of government. In terms of the regulatory side of it, they are making decisions that have been effective: The social and economic impact of the mine explosion in terms of the cost of the inquiry, the cost of the investigations, the negative reflection that is sent through the mining industry and government generally.
The two good things that have happened is the revised legislation and regulation, and the review of programs and services.
In terms of the lessons that are here for us, to employers, clearly safety is part and parcel of running a business, build it into your plans, put it in your balance sheet, never make people choose between a paycheck and their lives, don't cut corners, don't bend the rules.
To employers, there is a very specific message in terms of including health and safety as part and parcel of the operation.
In terms of employees, there is a requirement to look, as individual workers, to protect yourself and co-workers, to not be so confident that an accident can't happen to you, and to basically stand up for your rights and responsibilities in your workplace to ensure your health and safety and that of your co-workers.
To governments, the message in the inquiry report identified that they should never be so single-minded in the pursuit of jobs and political profit to let their judgment be blurred, and basically the responsibility that they are elected to look after the greater good of the individuals in the province.
And finally, to public servants, the reminder that the job is there to serve the people of the province first and foremost, and to ensure compliance with the laws that you administer.
To sum up very quickly, what this all means, from the perspective of culture, is that the culture change has to be more than just saying the words. It has to be an accepted way of operating. So the culture has to be part of the organization. To point out that this specific incident, although it happened in Nova Scotia -- I was watching the news on Wednesday night and there was a report that was released on the Alaska Gas Pipeline Company, where silhouetted employees were accusing the employer of using technology that was inappropriate, of intimidating employees and taking reprisals. So it is not just an issue in this workplace at this time. It is one that we have to be vigilant about in terms of improving the culture around health and safety.
There is a public expectation that regulators have to be made aware of. The industry, both employers and employees and the regulator need to be conversant with the requirements.
As regulators, we need to administer the laws that we have, not the laws that we believe we should have. In terms of performance, we are most often judged by our failures. Our performance needs to include basically subjective and objective measures that monitor culture, so that as a regulator we can be aware of those cultural changes and respond to them when the need arises.
Thank you very much.
DR. GALINDO BARAJAS: Damos las gracias al Sr. LeBlanc y como segundo expositor tenemos al Sr. Mario Fernández de Estados Unidos de Norteamérica, quien es licenciado en ciencias políticas de la Universidad de Houston, cursó un doctorado en la universidad de Texas, en Austin, tiene un grado de derecho internacional de la Universidad de Yorkstown y tiene una maestría de políticas públicas de la Universidad de Harvard. Actualmente es el jefe del Departamento de Normas y Reglamentos de la administración de salud y seguridad en las minas del Departamento de Trabajo en los Estados Unidos de América.
MR. MARIO FERNANDEZ (Chief, Standards and Regulations Branch, Mine Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor): Thank you very much.
I want to start out by describing the statutory framework under which MSHA operates. I will then describe the actual regulatory process. I will follow that with a discussion of some recent statutes and executive orders which have substantially increased the time it takes to promulgate a regulation. Finally, I intend to give you a brief rundown of some of the most significant current projects we have.
The federal regulation of mine safety and health dates back to 1891, when Congress passed an Act for the protection of the lives of miners. That legislation was not far reaching. It only applied to coal mines in the territories. It did establish that mines had to have at least two shafts, slopes or other outlets, and children under the age of 12 could no longer be employed.
Other legislations followed over the past 100 years, each statute an improvement on its predecessor, but it was not until about 30 years ago, with the passage of the Federal Metal and Nommetallic Mine Safety Act of 1966, the Federal Coal Mine Health and Safety Act of 1969, and the subsequent passage of the current statute, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, what all of us call the Mine Act, that dramatic progress was made in the prevention of accidents and injuries in mining.
The historical precedent that the loss of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of lives a year was a price to pay for the extraction of the country's minerals and fuels from the ground, has been broken.
Although mining is one of the most regulated industries in America today, preventable mine accidents, injuries, illnesses and fatalities continue to occur.
Let me start off by briefly describing the statutory framework.
The Mine Safety and Health Administration, MSHA for short, was created by passage of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977. The Act did several things. First, it repealed the Federal Metal and Nonmetallic Mine Act of 1966 and the Federal Coal Act of 1969. It also placed coverage of the entire mining industry, that is, coal, metal and nonmetal, under one Act, transferred enforcement responsibility from the Secretary of Interior to the Secretary of Labour, and revised the system of administrative and judicial review. It also streamlined the procedures for promulgation and enforcement of health and safety standards.
The Secretary of Labour's rule-making authority under the Mine Act is primarily governed by the procedures set forth in Section 101 of the Act. Section 101 provides that the Secretary has to utilize the procedures set forth in 101 to "develop, promulgate and revise, as may be appropriate, improve mandatory health and safety standards for the protection of life and prevention of injuries in coal or other mines".
Section 101 also expressly incorporates a rule-making procedure set forth in the Administrative Procedure Act. This section also provides that the standards promulgated by the Secretary shall not reduce the protection afforded miners by existing standards.
Judicial review of the Secretary's rule-making actions is provided for in Section 101(d). This section provides that the Court of Appeals, the courts immediately below the U.S. Supreme Court, shall have exclusive jurisdiction over challenges to the validity of mandatory standards.
I would like to describe in some detail the actual rule-making process. As I said before, the Mine Act provides the mandatory standards that have been issued under the 1966 and 1969 acts and should remain in effect until the Secretary of Labour issued new or revised standards.
Section 101 set forth detailed procedures for the promulgation of mandatory safety and health standards. The regulatory process normally begins with the publication of a proposed rule. There are then lots of different time lines for how long we have for a common period and how long we have to hold a hearing and how long to issue upon a rule. Before I get to that, I want to give you an example of exactly how we produce a proposed rule.
On Wednesday, Deputy Assistant Secretary Marvin Nichols, from MSHA, talked about a fire in Utah. There were a couple of very interesting things that happened at that fire.
First, two of the self-contained self-rescuers, we call it SCSRs, failed. They simply did not work properly. The other thing that happened was that personal emergency devices, what we call PEDs, worked very well. These devices, the PEDs, are essentially beepers, like the kind of beepers we all see, except that they work underground, whereas a regular beeper could not work underground.
The miners got a message that said "Fire. Evacuate mine", and everyone was able to get out of the mine quite fast, within the hour, and nobody was hurt. That set us thinking on how to do two rules, which is what we are currently looking at: (1) On SCSRs, we wanted to see whether the shelf life of SCSRs was too long -- five years or ten years, as the case may be -- whether we needed to regulate the industry such that SCSRs would be good for a shorter period of time.
We also looked at whether what was wrong with the training, whether it was the miners who did not know to how use the SCSRs properly, and whether we needed to require the operators to train them better.
We also looked at whether the SCSRs need to be inspected more frequently, as opposed to saying after five years, the SCSRs are no longer any good, simply looking at the SCSRs maybe every year and checking to see if they were still operating properly.
That is what we are currently working on, doing a proposed rule on SCSRs. At the same time we are looking at doing a proposed rule on PEDs, on the possibility, the feasibility of requiring operators to buy this kind of equipment. Unfortunately, that equipment is very expensive. We understand that it may very well be about $20,000 for the system plus $500 per beeper, and it may be prohibitive for some smaller operators. Nonetheless, we are looking at that, and in the future we may very well have a rule on that.
Once we have a proposed rule, the Mine Act does not set a time to do the proposed rule. However, once we do that rule, the Act sets a 30-day comment period which may be extended for good cause. If no hearing is requested, MSHA publishes a final rule in the Federal Register within 90 days of the comment period, or publishes its Reasons for not doing so in the Federal Register.
If a hearing is requested, MSHA must publish a hearing notice within 60 days of the close of the comment period. We then have 60 days to actually start hearings.
The Mine Act is silent with regard to post-hearing comment periods and certification of the record. However, MSHA usually allows a minimum of 30 days for proposed hearing comments and certification of the record. MSHA is then required to promulgate a final rule within 90 days of the certification of the record, or publish the reasons for the delay in the Federal Register.
In practice, MSHA usually finds good cause to set a comment period of 60 days rather than 30. After the publication of a proposed rule, in many cases MSHA extends the comment period sometimes several times and sometimes several months, to obtain as much information from the mining community as possible. From our perspective, it is far better to delay a rule to ensure that it achieves its desired goal than to issue one hastily that may not achieve its goal.
How, you may ask, can MSHA take so long to issue a rule and not follow the procedures in the Act? Congress is very much aware of the necessity to balance priorities. Interestingly, and I think very importantly, Congress provided in the Mine Act that "the validity of any mandatory health and safety standard shall not be subject to challenge on the grounds that any of the time limitations have been exceeded".
Once MSHA completes a final rule, it must clear with various agencies. DOL clearance takes an additional 30 days. If a rule is deemed significant, the Office of Management and Budget reviews it to ensure that it complies with paperwork requirements and is consistent with administration policy.
Concurrent with that review, the Small Business Administration reviews rules to ensure that they will not have an unnecessary adverse impact on a substantial number of small businesses. OMB and SBA review takes about 90 days. Finally, the Federal Register -- this is the publication where all our rules appear -- takes about four days to prepare the rule and publish it.
Three new laws have had requirements that both increase the amount of scrutiny and consideration given a regulation before it is promulgated, and institutionalized deliberate efforts to ensure that all sides of an issue and the concerns of all affected are explored and considered.
Although these new requirements ensure that regulations are more thoroughly considered, they can increase the amount of time it takes to promulgate a regulation. These new statutes of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement and Fairness Act of 1996, the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, and the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 -- let me go over the first one. This is what we call SBREFA.
SBREFA was passed in 1996. It amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, which requires agencies to assist the impact of regulations on small businesses and develop regulatory options that minimize this impact. Because the mining industry is dominated by small businesses, many of which have no financial data publicly available, the agency has to estimate the relative impact of its regulation based on the value produced by the industry as a whole.
The importance of these regulatory analyses to MSHA decision makers could be greatly enhanced if the mining industry could provide more definitive benefit and cost data. The implementation of cost effectiveness analyses and, to some extent, risk assessment and to regulatory decision-making, has aided MSHA in making complicated decisions. MSHA now routinely conducts preliminary regulatory impact analyses for all regulatory actions to determine whether or not such an analysis is required legally.
SBREFA further focuses attention of federal regulators on the needs of small businesses and requires agencies to submit copies of the rule to each House of Congress and the General Accounting Office before a rule can take effect. For MSHA, this has resulted in a concerted effort to provide guidance documents to help small mine operators comply with MSHA standards.
The agency has also expanded its efforts to hold public hearings in locations accessible to individual miners and mine operators, as well as to the mining associations and other organizations.
Concurrently, MSHA program officers have been encouraged to explore cooperative agreements or partnerships with mining companies in mining organizations to solve specific problems, and thus increase compliance.
The second law which has effected change in MSHA regulatory programs has been the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. This law, together with the Office of Management and Budgets Implementation and Regulations, prompted us to scrutinize the impact of our regulations in terms of paperwork burden on the mining community. We carefully evaluated those standards which required the mining community to post, record or report, identified those that required information collection not associated with a record or report, and discussed various alternatives for reducing burden. This process is still ongoing in MSHA, as we try to sort through the numerous options at our disposal.
Fewer reductions are possible through policy alone, and regulatory changes require the same regulatory impact analyses and notice and comment. Rule-making is more significant than regulations. These are some of the issues we face in the process.
Thus, the information collection ensures compliance. Is the burden really a result of the regulation, if the mine operator would otherwise need such information for the effective management of the mine? The way MSHA determines the burden of the regulation has been critical in our estimation of impact on the mining industry.
The third new law that drives regulatory reform at the federal level is the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. This is what we call GPRA.
This law requires federal agencies to implement strategic planning that is tied to performance measures for our programs, including regulatory programs. The key principal advocate in each of the regulatory reform efforts is that what we do must produce results with the least possible harm.
Regulations must be results-oriented. The single result that all MSHA regulations have as the driving force is a reduction of accidents, injuries, illnesses and fatalities. MSHA believes that this result, this goal, can best be achieved by attacking the hazards from all sides. We need manufacturers to produce safer products. We need both the miner and the mine operator to be educated and aware of the hazards and how to prevent them, and to be vigilant and consistent in implementing and maintaining safeguards in use in safe work practices.
Other relatively new requirements are imposed on regulators by Executive Order 12866. Issued in 1993, 12866 requires federal agencies to assess the costs and benefits of regulatory actions, including the alternatives considered, and to submit significant rules to OMB for review of the Agency analysis.
One major principle of the Executive Order is that regulations must minimize the burden on mine operators, especially small businesses. The key question is how to maximize the benefits from a regulation with the least burden on mine operators. How much are we willing to restrict the ingenuity of good operators to solve their problems, in order to ensure that less conscientious operators provide the necessary protection?
Performance-based regulations, those that require a result with minimal guidance on how to achieve that result, are the most cost-effective, yet the most difficult to enforce.
In developing regulatory alternatives, MSHA drafting teams have asked if the regulation is enforceable. How will MSHA and the mine operator know that the mine is in compliance with the intent of the regulation? To what extent does the mining industry want performance-based requirements, and to what extent is more specific guidance welcomed?
Some additional goals of regulatory reform are to update regulations to keep pace with advances in technology and to write standards in plain language. MSHA has already begun work on revising, developing and eliminating regulations to allow mine operators to utilize new technology to achieve the same results.
The effort to write regulations in plain language is based on the assumption that the regulated community would comply more readily if they understood clearly what was required of them and why. Essentially, "plain language" means writing rules that are logically organized, contain easy-to-read features, such as tables, use common, everyday words, use the active rather than the passive voice, use short sentences, and use shorter sections, which results in more section headings.
In another attempt to assure that all mine operators understand our regulations, and thus to increase compliance, MSHA is preparing compliance guides for each of its final rules. The main advantage of these guides is that they can include examples and case studies that may be inappropriate in the regulation itself. Also, if unclear, compliance guides are much easier to revise as they do not require notice and comment rule making.
MSHA welcomes suggestions from all sectors of the mining community for improvement that would make these guides more useful. MSHA also welcomes other forms of public involvement in the rule-making process.
Although some would not describe the relationship with MSHA as that of a customer, MSHA's view is that all sectors of the mining community, labour and operators alike, are our customers. We are here to serve, guide and help them.
We have taken several steps to keep them better informed so they can help us provide service. The most far-reaching of this effort has been the implementation of MSHA's home page on the world wide web, where one can find not only up-to-date comprehensive copies of our existing regulations and proposed regulations, but copies of our recent Federal Register publications and MSHA policies and procedures.
In addition, our home page contains information on agency educational programs and educational materials, health and safety bulletins and hazard alerts, speeches and news releases, accidents and injury data and, to some extent, some sampling data.
When we propose a rule, we have been publishing EMail addresses for the public to submit comments on our proposed rules. We also get questions about existing regulations and requests for additional information. This new awareness and increased knowledge will hopefully help to build a stronger partnership between each individual in the mining community and MSHA.
I am told that I am running out of time, so I will conclude here. In closing, we believe that our standards have helped to significantly reduce the occurrence of accidents and injuries among our nation's miners.
I want to invite each one of you to get involved in the development of health and safety regulations in your respective countries, to ensure that standards will provide the most effective safety and health protection for miners.
Thank you very much.
DR. GALINDO BARAJAS: Gracias Sr. Fernández, por parte de México tenemos dos expositores. En primer término, el licenciado Rodrigo Sarmiento Valtier, quien es abogado egresado de la Universidad de Coahuila, tiene un diplomado de arbitraje internacional, ha incursionado como maestro en las facultades de derecho en donde ha impartido la clase de derecho penal y derecho laboral, ha ocupado diversos cargos de los gobiernos estatales, colaborando directamente con el gobernador como secretario general de gobierno en Coahuila, ha sido el delegado de la institución responsable de la seguridad social de los trabajadores federales en el estado de Chihuahua, y actualmente funge como delegado federal del trabajo en el estado de Chihuahua. Le cedemos la palabra.
LIC. RODRIGO SARMIENTO VALTIER (Delegado Federal del Trabajo en Chihuahua, Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social): Es para mi un verdadero honor compartir con ustedes en esta conferencia al lado de gente muy conocedora de minas y en materia de seguridad e higiene, probablemente sea el que más o el que menos conozca de esto.
Permítanme contarles brevemente algo sobre historia antigua personal. Yo nací en un pueblo minero hace más o menos 59 años. Mi padre fue un líder sindical minero y en aquellos lejanos días al lado de mi madre y mis hermanos, veíamos la angustia reflejada en ella, cuando el silbato de la mina se asociaba con accidentes. Ahora a la distancia de los años, personalmente me he dado cuenta de lo que México ha avanzado en la explotación minera, más tecnología, más seguridad, menos riesgos. Tal vez no lo indispensable, pero lo estamos haciendo.
Ahora si empezaré con esta breve charla sobre la minería en el estado de Chihuahua.
La minería sin lugar a dudas es una de las actividades económicas más importantes del país. En torno suyo surgieron algunas de las principales ciudades de México y dieron inicio y se desarrollaron los diferentes tipos de industria, el comercio y el transporte.
La industria minera contribuye para que otras tengan el desenvolvimiento actual a través del abastecimiento de insumos y de materias primas. Ocupa obviamente un lugar importante en la balanza comercial por medio de la exportación de minerales, por ser generadora de empleos y de ingresos para el sector público y privado.
La evolución de la minería mexicana ha pasado por tres etapas, la primera abarca desde la llegada de los españoles hasta fines del Siglo XIX, la cual se caracterizó por la explotación de metales preciosos.
La segunda de 1910 a 1960, se sigue con la producción de metales preciosos y se inicia la extracción y beneficio de algunos materiales de tipo industrial.
La tercera, la actual en donde se registran cambios substanciales en lo que se refiere a la diversificación de explotación y beneficio de minerales. Hoy en día, la minería se mantiene vigente con base en las políticas de promoción y desarrollo que impulsa el gobierno federal para elevar la productividad y la posición competitiva de las empresas.
Cabe precisar que este esfuerzo se lleva a cabo en armonía con las normas de protección ambiental y laboral. El estado de Chihuahua ha estado inmerso en este desarrollo en el transcurso del tiempo coadyuvando de manera sustantiva en el desarrollo regional, alcanzando mejores niveles de vida para los mexicanos.
El estado de Chihuahua es el más grande del país, con una superficie de 247,087 km. cuadrados, que representa el 12.5% del total del territorio nacional, se localiza en la región centro norte de la República Mexicana y colinda al norte con los Estados Unidos de América, su geografía contempla regiones de desierto, montañas, barrancas y valles con una población cercana a los 3 millones de habitantes.
Cuenta con abundantes reservas de minerales y una fuerte tradición minera, por lo cual, en este ramo existe una calificada experiencia que genera muchos empleos directos, 6,500 para precisarlo.
Chihuahua ocupa el tercer lugar nacional en producción total y el segundo lugar en producción de plata, metal del cual México es el primer productor mundial.
Los principales minerales que se producen en el estado de Chihuahua son: oro, plata, plomo, cobre y zinc.
En este cuadro podrán ustedes observar que en producción de oro ocupamos el quinto lugar, en plata el segundo, en plomo el primero, en cobre el tercero y en zinc el primero. Su producción en millones de dólares significan $357,373.000 dólares.
La gran minería aporta el 95% de la producción y la pequeña y mediana industria aportan el 5% de la producción estatal.
Este es un cuadro que brevemente podrán ustedes observar de cuál es el lugar que ocupa la minería de Chihuahua en el país.
Aquí viene un dato muy importante y muy revelador, las principales empresas mineras que operan en el estado, aquí las pueden observar, fundamentalmente son canadienses, norteamericanas y mexicanas. Para nosotros es un orgullo contar con empresarios canadiense y norteamericanos.
En México existen tres tipos de propiedad, concesiones ordinarias se otorgan a particulares. Actualmente existen 3000 concesiones mineras que amparan 5.5 millones de hectáreas que equivalen aproximadamente al 20% de la superficie del estado.
La política actual del gobierno mexicano es de desincorporar las reservas minerales que hay en el estado de Chihuahua, y así se obtienen asignaciones mineras, se otorgan a los organismos oficiales del sector y a empresas de participación estatal mayoritaria para trabajos de exploración geológica minera.
En el estado de Chihuahua funcionan tres organismos del gobierno federal y uno del gobierno estatal. Hay además organismos oficiales de apoyo a la minería, como es el Consejo de Recursos Minerales, organismo descentralizado del gobierno federal que tiene como funciones identificar los recursos minerales potenciales, actualizar el inventario de los depósitos minerales, proporcionar información geológica minera, promover el desarrollo de la minería mediante la participación de fondos de inversión de riesgo compartido para exploración.
El segundo es el Fideicomiso del Fomento Minero, organismo federal cuya función es apoyar la explotación en beneficio y la comercialización de minerales metálicos y no metálicos por medio de apoyo financiero.
Luego viene la Dirección General de Minas, organismo federal encargado del control y administración de las concesiones mineras y de sus trámites legales. Cuenta con seis agencias en diferentes regiones mineras del estado.
Finalmente el Departamento de Minería del gobierno del estado tiene como función orientar y apoyar la pequeña minería así como promover el desarrollo de la industria minera metalúrgica.
Con respecto a capacitación, el estado de Chihuahua cuenta con los siguientes centros educativos, la Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, el Instituto Tecnológico de Chihuahua y el Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, campus Chihuahua.
La minería en Chihuahua, por sus perspectivas prometedoras ha despertado gran interés en inversionistas nacionales y extranjeros que apoyados por los organismos oficiales han invertido en trabajos de exploración con técnicas modernas y con óptimos resultados.
Actualmente trabajan en exploración 16 empresas de las cuales siete son de capital canadiense, dos de México-Canadá, dos de Estados Unidos y cinco de capital mexicano. Estas empresas trabajan en 26 concesiones.
Cabe destacar que la exploración realizada por la empresa Alta Pimería (sp) canadiense en el municipio de Urique en la alta sierra tarahumara, tuvo como resultado encontrar un yacimiento que produce 2.2 gramos de oro por tonelada y que actualmente se tiene una explotación estimada en 10,000 toneladas diarias.
La inversión inicial de exploración fue de 7 millones de dólares y se contempla invertir para producción 40 millones de dólares más. Este yacimiento se considera como de clase mundial.
En el siguiente cuadro veremos las plantas principales de beneficio de minerales. Algunas están en operación, en flotación como lo podrán observar en este cuadro.
Existen de ellas 54 plantas con capacidad de 15 a 300 toneladas por día en todas las zonas mineras con una producción de 3,865 toneladas por día.
El sistema de operación más utilizado es el de flotación y un 5% con cianuración.
Minerales no metálicos, también existen en el estado 29 plantas de transformación de minerales no metálicos, como son florita (sp), cemento, yeso, mármol, cloruro de sodio, sulfato de calcio con una producción de 17,721 toneladas por día.
La seguridad y la higiene en la industria minera - La minería es una industria en la que se presentan constantemente innovaciones tecnológicas. Lo que las distingue de otro tipo de industrias es en función de esta característica que se incorporan nuevos métodos y sistemas de producción, diferentes formas de organización del trabajo y nuevas materias primas y productos, lo que implica que se generen nuevos y distintos riesgos para los trabajadores que laboran en los procesos de producción.
De ahí la preocupación permanente del gobierno federal de prevenir los riesgos de trabajo fomentando la investigación y el análisis de los mismos que permitan instrumentar estrategias para mejorar la protección del hombre.
La minería registra en sus estadísticas uno de los niveles altos respecto a la peligrosidad, tanto en lo referente a los accidentes como a las enfermedades de trabajo, lo cual es indicativo y marca la prioridad en lo referente a la canalización de acciones de prevención dentro del marco de la nueva cultura laboral.
Todo esto ha venido mejorando con la incorporación de tecnologías y formas de organización para prevenir los riesgos de trabajo. En el estado de Chihuahua, nos hemos dado a la tarea de promover el cumplimiento de la normatividad vigente en seguridad e higiene, y de ello hemos obtenido buenos resultados. Estos son los principales tipos y causas de los accidentes en el cuadro que veremos enseguida.
Los accidentes más frecuentes, el golpe contra, golpeado por, caída al mismo nivel, atrapado entre contacto y el sobre esfuerzo o sobre carga.
De acuerdo con el análisis de los accidentes ocurridos destacan los ocasionados por golpes, ya sea contra o por objetos, principalmente piedras, y por sobre esfuerzo al realizar diferentes actividades donde las principales causas son por no asegurar o utilizar los procedimientos adecuados.
Dentro de las funciones que tiene la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social está la de verificar el cumplimiento de la normatividad y condiciones generales de seguridad e higiene y condiciones generales de trabajo, para lo cual durante 1998, se inspeccionaron aproximadamente 15 empresas mineras.
Dentro de las principales medidas de seguridad ordenadas, tienen que ver con lo siguiente: señalamientos, orden y limpieza, equipo contra incendio, implemento de seguridad en maquinaria y equipo, condiciones de las herramientas de trabajo e instalaciones eléctricas y estudios ambientales.
En las actuaciones practicadas en varios operativos de inspección se detectaron deficiencias, pero es conveniente resaltar, que las empresas se dieron a la tarea de dar cumplimiento cabal a lo señalado. También es importante resaltar que conjuntamente con diferentes dependencias gubernamentales, representantes sindicales y patronales, en cada centro de trabajo, se han venido realizando eventos tendientes a promocionar a todos los niveles los elementos más importantes de la seguridad e higiene.
Se puede considerar que la industria minera del Estado de Chihuahua está comprometida con la preservación de la vida y la salud de todos los empleados.
Debido al costo de los riesgos de trabajo, se marca la importancia de que en el caso de la minería se realicen acciones de prevención en forma intensiva. Asimismo se puede afirmar que la seguridad y las condiciones de trabajo en una mina como en cualquier otra empresa, dependen de la tecnología utilizada y de las políticas adoptadas de manera que para hacer frente a los problemas de riesgo de trabajo que se presentan, es necesario una coordinación en este sentido.
Se puede observar que las condiciones y seguros que provocan un mayor índice de riesgos de trabajo son los relacionados con los métodos o procedimientos por el lugar en donde se realiza el trabajo y el medio en donde se desarrollan las actividades.
En relación al medio ambiente de trabajo son cuatro los elementos que coadyuvan a que el trabajador sufra un riesgo de trabajo y son el ruido, las condiciones térmicas alteradas, los polvos y los gases que propician un medio difícil en el que el trabajador realiza un mayor esfuerzo y a largo plazo puede ocasionar una enfermedad.
Por otro lado, es importante destacar, que el mayor número de empresas mineras pertenecen a la pequeña y mediana industria y en ellas se tiene más dificultad de aplicar las normas relacionadas con la seguridad.
En el caso de las grandes empresas mineras, sucede lo contrario pues se cuenta con los recursos necesarios. En el Estado de Chihuahua, se viene promoviendo un programa de asesoría tendiente a dar cumplimiento a la normatividad vigente en materia de seguridad e higiene en un contexto de autogestión en donde la industria minera tiene prioridad.
Tomando en cuenta todo lo anterior, tanto las dependencias oficiales como los empresarios y los trabajadores debemos pugnar por un mejoramiento de las condiciones y del medio ambiente del trabajo por lo que se requiere tomar en consideración lo siguiente:
Primero, lo realizado por otro tipo de industria y empresas demuestra que los riesgos en la minería pueden ser disminuidos a una cifra que tenga relación directa con la atención cuidadosa y detallada de las acciones que se lleven a cabo sobre seguridad e higiene.
Segundo, la previsión de riesgos de trabajo no se apoya en teorías complicadas, depende del sentido práctico de seguridad que logren los empresarios y los trabajadores.
Tercero, por lo tanto, debe promoverse y patrocinarse el desarrollo y mantenimiento de prácticas de seguridad y de un espíritu de solidaridad de ambos. Es indispensable que en cada empresa minera se establezcan programas específicos de seguridad e higiene en el trabajo, los cuales se deben orientar a una participación amplia y decidida entre ambos sectores. El sector minero por sus características de producción requiere una atención primordial de seguridad e higiene, por lo que es necesario reconsiderar los esquemas de administración tendientes a eliminar el paradigma de los procesos productivos donde está presente como prioridad la producción.
Si reconocemos a la seguridad e higiene como un factor de calidad, entonces el esquema cambia, seguridad e higiene igual a calidad y a producción, invertido el proceso.
Finalmente permítanme relatarles un cuento, hace muchos años existía un reinado que estaba muriendo de sed. Al rey le aconsejaron que la única manera de acabar con la sequía era implorando al cielo con un grito de todos sus habitantes pidiendo agua. El rey aceptó este consejo. Por la noche convocó a todos sus súbditos en la plaza principal y los exhortó para que en la campanada número doce todos gritaran: agua. La plaza del reinado se colmó de gente desde antes de las doce de la noche esperando la última de las doce campanadas. Cuando sonaron once campanadas el de junto pensó yo no gritaré para escuchar el grito de Juan, y así el de lado, el del frente, el de atrás y el de todos lados, al sonar la campanada número doce, nadie gritó y unos a otros se acusaron por no intervenir en el grito y solucionar su problema. Esto viene a cuento porque creo que como lo decía la Sra. Sharon Woods, todo se puede en equipo, y como lo pensó el rey del cuento.
Estados Unidos, Canadá y México somos y debemos ser el Dream Team de ahora y de mañana, ya lo quisiera otras regiones del mundo, no señalando o acusando nuestras fallas ni errores sino poniendo lo mejor de nosotros mismos para preservar la vida y la salud del hombre en la mina y en cualquier actividad humana.
Thank you. Merci beaucoup. Muchas gracias.
DR. GALINDO BARAJAS: Gracias al Lic. Sarmiento por su exposición y tenemos al Lic. Joaquín Blanes Casas quien es egresado de la Escuela Libre de Derecho de la ciudad de México, ha ocupado diversos puestos de asesoría y dirección jurídica en instituciones de crédito de obras públicas resaltando el organismo que otorga viviendas a los trabajadores del Estado de México.
Actualmente él es el director general de Inspección Federal del Trabajo de la Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social de México.
LIC. JOAQUÍN BLANES CASAS (Director General de Inspección Federal del Trabajo, Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social): Muy buenas tardes a todos. Quiero decirles que siempre es una lástima ser el último orador, porque normalmente ya se dijo todo lo que se tenía que decir y en ese caso no sería yo más que un repetidor más de lo que han dicho y de lo que han dicho mucho mejor de lo que pueda yo decir. Así es que voy a tomar también aquí como enseñanza, no como pretexto, voy a tomar la enseñanza del Sr. viceministro Farrell que dijo que un buen orador debe ser un orador breve, no porque no tengamos preparado el material, nosotros tenemos preparado aquí para todos ustedes una exposición de cómo se hace la reglamentación específica en materia de minas en México. Uno de los puntos que inquietó durante todo el seminario, fue cómo incorporar los cambios tecnológicos, los cambios que se dan día a día y la evolución que se da, cómo incorporarlos a las normas, México como lo dijo extraordinariamente bien Rodrigo es un país cuya historia está estrechamente vinculada a la minería, las tribus prehispánicas tenían ya sus fundos mineros y a partir de la colonia toda nuestra actividad, el desarrollo de nuestras ciudades, todas las guerras de intervención que hemos padecido y aun las luchas internas civiles como la Revolución Mexicana, han tenido en gran parte su origen en nuestros recursos materiales, especialmente, en la minería. No es raro y algunos de ustedes lo sabrán - el movimiento de los mineros de Cananea en 1906, que es uno de los orígenes de la Revolución Mexicana.
Por eso, nuestros movimientos civiles han creado una gran clase política de dirigentes sindicales, los cuales han ocupado y siguen ocupando posiciones prioritarias dentro de todo el sistema gubernamental de México.
Hemos tenido a líderes del sindicato minero como senadores de la República. Actualmente el propio Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, en su órgano de gobierno en el que está representados patrones, trabajadores y autoridades gubernamentales tiene uno de sus tres o cuatro asientos de la parte sindical en manos del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros Metalúrgicos de la República Mexicana. La presencia de los trabajadores en todas las instancias de gobierno como gobernadores de estados, senadores y diputados y las labores de gobierno, es esencial para nosotros. No entendemos y no podemos ver nuestra filosofía del trabajo sin la incorporación directa y sin que estén involucrados directamente los trabajadores de México en nuestro quehacer político.
Tenemos nosotros un sistema de legislación, quizá muy diferente. Históricamente hemos contado con disposiciones jurídicas, que ustedes van a poder observar, vigentes desde la colonia, van a ver disposiciones desde el siglo XIII y XIV que estaban vigentes en México, van a ver una serie de disposiciones que han sido parte cultural de nosotros. Para nosotros la vida de la mina, la cultura de la mina, es una cultura habitual, es una tierra común para todos nosotros.
Sin embargo, teníamos una ley laboral de 1970 que está vigente, de la cual se desprenden algunos reglamentos y ahora necesitábamos un nuevo tipo de instrumento para hacer más ágil, más fácil la incorporación de nuevas normas para proteger la vida, la seguridad y la integridad de los trabajadores.
En 1993, el Congreso expidió una nueva ley federal, sobre metrología y normalización. Son dos grandes rubros y esta facultad de normalizar es cómo hacer normas y con qué características se deben de hacer, quiénes pueden intervenir y quiénes tienen la obligación de intervenir.
En base a esta nueva legislación, es que nosotros hemos expedido la norma oficial mexicana 121 de la Secretaría de Trabajo y Previsión Social, cuyo ejemplar nos hemos permitido repartir entre todos ustedes. Para hacer una norma oficial mexicana, se tiene que convocar a través del Diario Oficial de la federación, que es el periódico oficial del gobierno en todo el país. Al igual que lo señaló Mario en el caso de los Estados Unidos, se publica el proyecto de norma, pero existe la obligación por ley, no por disposición de la autoridad, de tener un plazo de tener un plazo de 180 días, para escuchar por escrito las incorporaciones que quiera hacer cualquier persona interesada. Existe la disposición de necesariamente tomar la opinión de trabajadores, de investigadores, de universidades, de empresarios y de las propias autoridades.
Toda observación que se presente sobre una norma oficial mexicana debe de ser contestada por escrito y publicada en el Diario Oficial de la federación. A partir de ese momento, gozan de 90 días adicionales para hacer una contraobservación a lo publicado y se tendrá por obligación de ley nuevamente que contestar por escrito y publicar en la norma.
Esta norma que tienen todos ustedes en la mano, es una norma que fue creada en muchas sesiones de trabajo por la Cámara Minera de México, el Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros y Metalúrgicos de la República Mexicana y las autoridades federales de trabajo.
Esta es una disposición en la que todo el mundo ha intervenido, para cuidar mejor los intereses de los trabajadores, de las empresas y en general de toda la industria minera.
¿Porqué lo quisimos hacer así y qué ventajas nos ha dado hacerlo de esta manera? Lo quisimos hacer así para que quien tiene que cumplir la ley o la norma que es el patrón y el trabajador, no sientan que es una disposición impositiva de la autoridad, no lo sientan como algo que les es ajeno y que les es impuesto desde afuera para que lo hagan, sino que ellos mismos al ser creadores de la norma, al ser ellos los generadores de las obligaciones, saben a qué se comprometen y entonces surge un cumplimiento espontáneo.
Yo no voy a pelear como autoridad con un patrón que quiera o no, cumplir una disposición porque la sienta que es onerosa o impositiva. Él mismo ayudó a generar la norma, él mismo adquirió el compromiso y ahora psicológicamente se siente más comprometido para cumplirlo espontáneamente.
Por otro lado, son los trabajadores y los patrones los que mejor conocen cuáles son las necesidades dentro de las minas, son ellos los que han vivido a diario con los riesgos, con las incertidumbres y con sus necesidades, asi es que es estrictamente justo que sean ellos quienes también participen directamente en la creación de estas normas.
Estas normas se revisan cada dos años por disposición de ley, no porque quieran o no las autoridades y se puede abrir la revisión a petición de cualquier interesado. Esto permite que la norma tenga una flexibilidad y que se le incorporen constantemente los cambios o los adelantos (sp) tecnológicos que pueda haber en este momento.
Cubre obviamente y ya no quisiera aburrirlos con la descripción porque vienen 18 láminas más de qué es el contenido de la norma, cuáles son las obligaciones, cuáles son las novedades que incorpora, pero la tienen todas repartidas en la mesa, creo que sería abusar de su tiempo y de su comprensión el pretender presentarles en español todas las láminas del contenido, cuando lo pueden hacer con más calma y revisarlo.
¿Qué instrumento hicimos como autoridades para ayudar a esta norma? Si esta es la norma que tiene los derechos y las obligaciones en materia de seguridad e higiene dentro de las minas, habría que hacer una guía de inspección ajustada estrictamente a cada una de las obligaciones que se señalan aqui y entonces conjuntamente sindicato, Cámara Minera de México y autoridades nos dimos a la tarea de hacer una guía de inspección específica de esta norma.
La guía de inspección viene anexa y viene junto dentro del documento que les entregamos a todos ustedes.
Con esta guía y con esta norma hicimos desde simulacros en diversas minas para hacer la revisión y cuando todos estuvimos de acuerdo y entró en vigor, ya se hizo un operativo nacional de inspección a todas las minas cubriendo prácticamente el 92% de la fuerza laboral minera del país, en base a esta normatividad.
Ya tenemos resultados muy positivos, ya probamos esta norma en campo y quiero decirles que los resultados han sido más satisfactorios de lo que esperábamos.
Con las insuficiencias que todavía hay, no se trata de venir en una actitud triunfalista a decirles que estamos cien por ciento cumpliendo y que está todo mundo bien, no. Hay deficiencias, hay fallas y se pueden detectar ahora mejor y a nivel de detalle con este tipo de reglamentación. Hay mejor conciencia entre patrones y trabajadores y hay mayor compromiso entre trabajadores y patrones para lograr entre todos un aspecto primordial, primero que nada, siempre que nada, por arriba de nada, la vida, la salud y la integridad de los trabajadores. Muchas gracias.
Question Period - Période de questions - Período de Preguntas
DR. GALINDO BARAJAS: Muchas gracias al licenciado Blanes. Abriríamos unos cinco minutos de preguntas y respuestas y una noticia, ¿están cansados? Si están cansados les tengo una buena noticias, los organizadores dicen que la clausura se adelanta 15 minutos y será a las 3:15 y entonces así podremos terminar más rápido. Abriríamos entonces lo de preguntas y respuestas, si hubiera alguna para los expositores.
NEW SPEAKER: With a single mine workers union in Mexico, do you feel the workers get adequate representation?
NEW SPEAKER: Quizá yo no comprenda todo el ámbito de lo que usted quiere decir con representación, le puedo decir que al ser un sindicato único nacional, tiene la representación de todos los trabajadores mineros que trabajan legalmente en relaciones laborales en minas en el país. Habrá casos en que en alguna mina abandonada, alguna persona sola, incurra ilegalmente en actividades para sacar algo de material o lo que se llamaba gambucinaje (?) y que no tenga una relación formal de trabajo, pero cualquier relación jurídico laboral de trabajo dentro de las minas el Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros es el único representante y es un activo representante. Es además un activo participante en los institutos de seguridad social, en los institutos de vivienda, en los fondos de pensiones, en la cámara de diputados, en diferentes posiciones claves. El Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores Mineros es una de las instancias sindicales más fuertes y en ese sentido es ampliamente representativa de los trabajadores mineros y efectivamente controla todo el movimiento de los trabajadores mineros del país.
NEW SPEAKER: Una pregunta para el Sr. LeBlanc, si pudiera explicarnos brevemente cómo ocurrió la explosión de la mina Westray.
MR. LEBLANC: The explosion at the Westray mine was a methane gas explosion that fuelled a coal dust explosion, which was secondary to the methane gas. The ignition source has never been identified with certainty. It is believed that it may have been electrical cable, some coal picks on the coal cutting machine or an electrical problem in the continuous mine.
DR. GALINDO BARAJAS: ¿Alguna otra pregunta? Bien gradecemos a los expositores, y los despedimos con un fuerte aplauso.
MR. GEORGE SCHORR (Industrial Hygienist, Mine Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, North Central District): We are in the afternoon session, on Positive Workplace Rapport. We have three speakers today.
The first speaker will be Abel Fernández Tijerin. He is in the Division of Safety and Hygiene with Peñoles Industrial Services.
ING. ABEL FERNÁNDEZ TIJERIN (Jefe Divisional de Higiene y Seguridad Servicios Industriales Peñoles, S.A. De C.V.): Buenas tardes a todos. En esta ocasión me tocó presentar un trabajo sobre la prevención de accidentes en mi empresa, Servicios Industriales Peñoles. La empresa con la que yo trabajo está constituida por un grupo de empresas de la industria minera. Tenemos 11 unidades mineras diez son subterráneas y un tajo, dos proyectos mineros en desarrollo actualmente, tenemos el área de fundición en la ciudad de Torreón, y el área de químicas en el estado de Coahuila y en Monterrey.
La fuerza de trabajo entre todo el grupo de personas, somos aproximadamente 14,000 personas, divididas en las diferentes áreas: minas, fundición y lo que es la parte de químicas.
Nosotros como muchas de las empresas actuales teníamos separados los departamentos de seguridad e higiene, ecología o protección ambiental y salud ocupacional.
Por una nueva estrategia esto se integró y se consideró actualmente ya, integrar una subdirección de ecología, seguridad e higiene y salud ocupacional donde convergemos todos y cada uno de los que estamos trabajando en la prevención de accidentes.
De igual forma, iniciamos un sistema al que llamamos ahora un sistema de administración ambiental, seguridad y salud ocupacional, basado en el proceso de la mejora continua y en el modelo de la mejora continua estamos empezando a trabajar en este sistema y el tiempo para la implementación de dicho sistema alcanzará alrededor de cinco años, ustedes pueden ver aquí algunas de las unidades mineras que tenemos en operación que es lo que nos concierne para ver en esta ocasión.
La empresa tiene una visión y la visión es un grupo de clase mundial reconocido por sus operaciones internacionales en metales preciosos, y en base a su rentabilidad con las ventas que se ubica entre las primeras 10 a nivel mundial.
Obviamente tenemos una misión, y como en todas las empresas, es la rentabilidad, buscar el patrimonio y el beneficio de sus trabajadores e igualmente el beneficio de los proveedores, con un liderazgo que satisfaga a nuestros clientes con mayor oportunidad y más bajo costo, siempre viendo el beneficio en forma global.
Les decía que se creó la subdirección de ecología y seguridad de salud ocupacional, para implementar este nuevo sistema.
La visión de la subdirección es que la empresa del grupo, todas las empresas de grupo, para inicio del Siglo XXI, estemos como líderes en la protección y conservación del medio ambiente, en la seguridad y en la salud de nuestros trabajadores.
Tenemos también una misión que es asegurar el establecimiento y funcionamiento de esquemas y sistemas en lo ambiental, en la seguridad, en la higiene y en la salud ocupacional que nos permitan hacer la prevención de riesgos. Esta misma subdirección tiene tres objetivos, un objetivo es asegurar obviamente el no afectar el equilibrio ecológico, preservar la vida y la salud y el bienestar físico de nuestro personal y estar en armonía con el medio ambiente.
Tenemos un plan estratégico donde tenemos uno de los objetivos que ya se mencionó, donde tiene acciones estratégicas, indicadores de control y metas de cumplimiento durante este tiempo.
Para ello iniciamos la implementación del sistema de administración ambiental, seguridad y salud ocupacional. Como ya les había comentado, este proceso está basado en la mejora continua y buscamos desde la planeación, la evaluación, la verificación y acción correctiva y la puesta en marcha de todo aquello que pueda entrar en la mejora y retorno que cumplamos.
Está basado también en lo que se llama el modelo Hoshin (sp) de la planeación estratégica en donde buscamos desde la planeación que es la parte fundamental de examinar todas las situaciones que nos puedan causar una pérdida o un daño a la persona o un daño físico, un daño a la salud y un equilibrio al medio ambiente.
Tendremos que aplicar ese plan que ya hicimos, buscar los resultados que sean de acuerdo a lo planeado y al finalizar lo que ya quedó y lo que no, vuelve a integrarse al modelo de mejora continua.
En este modelo conceptual de administración estamos viendo, que estamos empezando por la visión, la misión de la empresa, las estrategias, las políticas.
En la planeación, qué estamos buscando? Estamos buscando que todas las normas que tenemos desde el diseño, estén consideradas en la ingeniería de los proyectos o plantas que tenemos, al mismo tiempo, que esos diseños se respeten en la construcción de las mismas plantas y de las minas y luego buscar toda la normatividad para aplicarla en la operación igualmente. Una empresa está en crecimiento continuamente, tenemos que buscarle ampliación, esas ampliaciones que a veces son parches que dejamos por ahí, tienen que estar dentro de una norma las adiciones que hacemos y planear el cierre de nuestras operaciones siempre con una anticipación de cinco a diez años, para buscar desde ese entonces no dañar al medio ambiente ni a las comunidades que tengamos en torno a nuestras instalaciones.
La planeación, en esto hablamos del control de las normas, del control ambiental, de la higiene industrial en el trabajo, de la seguridad industrial, de la salud ocupacional de los trabajadores, de la responsabilidad integral, estos son unos códigos administrativos que tiene la Asociación Nacional de Ingenieros Químicos. Son seis códigos administrativos que por tener empresas en la industria química, estamos obligados a implementar dentro de las empresas los seis códigos administrativos de responsabilidad integral.
Continuamente estamos integrando materiales y sustancias a nuestros procesos y por lo tanto, tenemos que conocer cada sustancia o material que integremos para recuperar más mineral, debemos conocer las características que pudieran dañar a nuestros trabajadores en el manejo de ellos.
Este es un colaje para ejemplificar lo anterior, ahora en este momento, como ustedes lo han comentado en varias de las conferencias, una industria no está sola, tiene vecinos, tiene la comunidad, habrá que proteger más al medio ambiente, tendremos que tener más cuidado en la salud de nuestros trabajadores, en la maquinaria o equipo que representa un riesgo, hemos visto aquí dos conferencias en donde se ha comentado sobre las fatalidades que ha habido por el equipo, por los procedimientos, por el manejo, por todo aquello que puede hacernos daño y obviamente, maximizar a nuestros accionistas.
En este dibujo que tengo aquí estoy poniendo lo que es el modelo conceptual del negocio, si en un negocio iniciamos con materia prima, con productos, con servicios, obviamente lo manejan las personas, estas personas requieren sacar un producto y ese productos tienen que ser lo mejor que hay en el mercado para que todos estemos contentos. Pero si tenemos un accidente y no tenemos una continuidad operativa esto llámese a nuestras personas, a los equipos, a las instalaciones, al producto, a los ecosistemas, o a un paro en los procesos de nuestra maquinaria, no va a haber flujo efectivo y al no haber flujo efectivo obviamente tenemos pérdidas y al tener pérdidas no podemos tener inversiones que nos puedan ayudar a la prevención de los riesgos. Por esto es muy importante que podamos visualizar que para un negocio las utilidades son muy importantes para poder hacer toda la prevención anterior de la que se ha hablado entre nosotros.
Este es el modelo Hoshim (sp) en donde empieza la planeación desde el liderazgo que es una de las partes principales, la salud ocupacional en cuestión de normatividad, un listado de aspectos ambientales significativos, un listado de los procesos operativos y sus riesgos, un listado de los agentes contaminantes. Tenemos que meternos a los procesos.
La prevención de los riesgos ya sea por accidentes, sea por enfermedad o por daños al ambiente tiene que cuidarse dentro del proceso operativo, no podemos tener dibujitos o láminas o sistemas muy buenos de papel, no sirven. Se requiere conocer al 100 por 100% junto con nuestros trabajadores los procesos operativos y los procesos concretos en los cuales tengamos que hacer la corrección de los riesgos.
Necesitamos un liderazgo efectivo, un liderazgo efectivo lo requerimos de todo el mundo, desde el director general hasta el último de los trabajadores, tener una visualización permanente de objetivos y metas de cumplimiento, una coordinación dinámica, una asesoría técnica idónea y permanente.
Muchas veces creemos que lo que estamos haciendo en algunos lugares es lo máximo, y no creemos que hay gente que sabe más que nosotros y tendremos que visualizar que siempre hay una mejor manera de cómo hacer las cosas y cómo administrar y siempre hay alguien que tiene más experiencia que otra persona. Lo que tendremos que buscar es esa experiencia en otros lugares y que nos ayuden a controlar nuestros riesgos.
Una capacitación continua de la administración, esto es bien importante porque si uno involucra a la administración, desde la supervisión, el jefe, el superintendente, la gerencia y cada uno de ellos, para sensibilizarlos y esto es una de las bases para poder hacer un desempeño y una implementación al sistema.
Bien, entonces parte de este modelo en el cual estamos separando y juntando todo aquello que genera un riesgo tendremos entonces ahora que evaluar cada una de nuestras disciplinas. Si hablamos de seguridad industrial entonces vamos a hablar de estos elementos en los cuales tendremos que trabajar como es el liderazgo a la aplicación de las normas internas y externas, el análisis de riesgo de los procesos, la verificación y condiciones físicas, la capacitación, el análisis de incidentes y accidentes, aplicación de normas, comunicación, entrenamiento, preparación para emergencias, todo esto tiene que tener objetivos y metas cada uno y obviamente un programa de trabajo, tendremos que darle un seguimiento en este aspecto.
Si estamos hablando de higiene industrial, entonces estamos hablando de que debemos planear una identificación de los agentes contaminantes en nuestras áreas operativas, aplicación de la normatividad que tenemos en nuestro país de igual forma cumplir con los requisitos internos y externos. Los requisitos internos son importantes, generalmente nosotros como empresa tenemos niveles más bajos de cumplimiento sobre las normas. Si una norma de ruido por ejemplo, que tenemos 90 decibeles en 40 horas de trabajo a la semana, en la empresa tenemos un rango de 80 decibeles. Nosotros queremos ir más allá de lo que dicen las normas, porque cumpliendo las normas internas automáticamente estamos cumpliendo con la normatividad del gobierno, lo que nos interesa es la salud y el beneficio de nuestros trabajadores.
Si hablamos de control ambiental estamos implementando la norma ISO 14001 que es el sistema de administración ambiental. Este ISO 14001 lo tenemos ya certificado, una de nuestras minas en Fresnillo, Zacatecas, Compañía Fresnillo, Unidad Fresnillo. En este momento se hizo ya la evaluación de dos minas más y para diciembre de este año debemos tener ya cuatro minas certificadas con ISO 14001. Estamos buscando el ISO 14001 como un sistema de administración, pero estamos implementando las auditorías ambientales en convenio con el gobierno como parte operativa, como el desempeño ambiental tenemos que ir al convenio con el gobierno para auditorías ambientales, para desempeño ambiental, la parte administrativa la vamos a hacer con el ISO 14001.
De igual forma, como les comentaba, estamos buscando la AIQ que es la Asociación de Ingenieros Químicos. Tiene su código que se llama responsabilidad integral en donde tiene asentados los códigos siguientes: el análisis de riesgos en las operaciones, la protección a la comunidad, la seguridad en el producto, la seguridad de los procesos, la seguridad y salud del trabajador, el transporte y distribución, evaluación de riesgos operacionales e incluye en el sistema de administración los objetivos y metas para cada una de las áreas de oportunidad y los programas adecuados para darle seguimiento.
En salud ocupacional estamos buscando maximizar que todos nuestros trabajadores tengan el menor daño físico para ellos y tendremos que tener en nuestras unidades mineras la menor cantidad de riesgos que pudieran generar un daño físico, como polvo. Les puedo decir que en una de nuestras minas tenemos 10 kilómetros de tubería, para rociar agua y no generar polvo.
Estamos actualmente instalando hasta 25 kilómetros de tubería para rociar todos nuestros caminos y todos nuestro niveles principales y dejar de generar polvo para que nuestros trabajadores no sufran ningún daño.
Debemos tener responsabilidades de cómo hacerlo, este es un cuadro en donde tenemos las responsabilidades de la gerencia de cada una de nuestras minas, la responsabilidad es de cada superintendente de cada una de nuestras minas, de la comisión de seguridad, es la norma 019 de la Secretaría del Trabajo, misma que tenemos aquí.
Las responsabilidades del supervisor, las responsabilidades del superintendente de seguridad, higiene y del jefe de servicios médicos, que en este caso es un médico profesional para poder establecer qué es lo que tenemos que hacer y por otro lado acabamos de hacer la hoja de responsabilidades de los directores y subdirectores de la empresa en la prevención de accidentes.
Para poder implementar esto, también nos auxiliamos de los siguientes procedimientos. En el área de seguridad vamos a tener 8 procedimientos, en el área de higiene industrial vamos a tener 9 procedimientos y en el área de control ambiental vamos a tener 12 procedimientos.
Este es un colaje de algunas de nuestra minas, la que está en la parte superior izquierda está en Sonora y es la Herradura, la que está en el centro es una mina que tenemos en Durango y se llama la Ciénega, y las demás imágenes que tenemos ahí de los rebajes y de las plantas es de una mina que tenemos en la ciudad de Guanajuato que se llama Minera Las Torres, qué estamos diciendo con esto, nos capacitamos todos, mejoramos la calidad de vida en las áreas y nosotros participamos en el sistema de administración, mejoramos la conducta hacia el trabajo productivo, mejoramos la estabilidad, mejoramos a la comunidad, mejora la calidad de trabajo, mejora la productividad, mejora la competitividad y se trata en un lugar seguro y se mejoran las relaciones con nuestros trabajadores. Muchas gracias.
MR. SCHORR: It will take a few seconds for our next speaker to set up.
To portray Positive Workplace Rapport, I failed to try to do it positively and get it started early. I failed to introduce myself, which those of you who know me is something I never do. I always like to make sure people know who I am.
My name is George Schorr. I am with the Mine Safety and Health Administration out of Duluth, Minnesota. I am a Certified Industrial Hygienist.
I am very honoured to be here and to be able to be the moderator of this session.
It is my pleasure to introduce our next speaker is Dr. Barry Warrack. Dr. Warrack is Chief of Strategy Co-ordination for the Workplace Safety and Health Division, Manitoba Labour, Province of Manitoba, Canada.
With that, I would like you to give him a warm welcome. Thank you.
DR. BARRY WARRACK (Chief, Strategy Co-ordination, Workplace Safety and Health Division, Manitoba Labour): Today's session is entitled "Positive Workplace Rapport". I was going to talk a little bit about safety and health committees and the Canadian experience with safety and health committees, and some things that have been found through research on safety and health committees in Canada that help to make them more effective.
In terms of what a positive workplace rapport is, I tried to come up with a definition to start: It is a climate where labour and management work together for better safety and health outcomes. So it is a safety culture, if you can define it as such.
I want to talk a little bit about the internal responsibility system, because safety and health committees sort of come out of the internal responsibility system, which is part of our Canadian legislation. That was mentioned earlier this morning in one of the talks and a little bit a lunchtime, as well in Rob Hilliard's talk.
The internal responsibility system is based on the principle that the primary responsibility for safety and health should be with the parties and the workplace. So the primary responsibility for doing something to ameliorate any problems, hazards, and deal with accidents and disease lies with those who create risks and work with them, because they are the ones that are best able to deal with it, not necessarily government regulators, who are not in that workplace.
There is only a small number of us and there are thousands and thousands of workplaces that each government regulator would be theoretically responsible for. They cannot get in them all often enough to make sure that the working conditions are safe, so safety committees are a fundamental part of this internal responsibility system, or IRS in short.
It is based on the concept that the parties themselves have to take responsibility. The governments really cannot regulate everything. You cannot write a regulation for everything that is going to happen that goes on within workplaces.
I will just mention two sets of regulations. There is performance-based and specification. Specification are sort of base regulations, those kinds that tell you exactly what you have to do: If you have a trench that is eight feet deep or whatever, you have to put shoring in; if it is only seven, you do not need it. So it lays out exactly what you do versus a performance based regulation that would basically say that you have to keep your workers safe, but does not necessarily mention exactly how you have to go about it.
Internal responsibility system: Under this system, there is legislative responsibilities for all the partners in it. Workers, employers and government all have certain responsibilities to play. So the workers have certain responsibilities, employers and the government.
It is based on the belief that there are safety values, beliefs and attitudes in the workplace that need supporting. So within the workplace, things have to be done to support safety attitudes and beliefs in that workplace.
A little schematic. You have workers and management, and as part of this the Safety Committee is sort of a supportive structure that we have within Canadian legislation to support the work of labour and management working together to make workplaces safer.
I will just mention a little bit out of the Manitoba legislation about safety committees, because there are differences across Canada. I do not want to go into a whole lot of things about the differences.
It was generally found that workplaces of 20 or more employees -- in Saskatchewan, it is ten or more, so there are differences that way. There are differences in certain -- the construction industry has some differences and that type of thing.
The membership in Manitoba is four to twelve persons. Half are in management. In the mining sector, what you may find is there are multiple committees. If you have a company with several separate mines as part of that company, there may be a smelter committee and each mine itself may have a committee, and then there may be an overall committee. So there may be site-specific safety committees, and then there is an overall committee as well.
Some Canadian jurisdictions have safety and health representatives for smaller workplaces. We have, in Manitoba, between ten and twenty.
You don't have a committee because it is a smaller workplace, but you have one person, a worker, who is designed as a representative that workers can go to with complaints, or that type of thing, that they would then look at dealing with those problems.
The role of the committees: Their role under legislation is to collectively identify and resolve any conditions and issues in a workplace that have the potential for serious injury or harm. The "collectively" means they are supposed to work together to resolve these issues.
It is important to note that many factors can influence the sort of successful committee operations, which includes labour and management working closely together to eliminate these things. I am going to talk about some of the factors that seem to work better and have been found to work better.
Some of the duties that Committee members have, just a few of the duties. For example, they receive an Act on worker complaints. So workers go to usually their worker committee members to talk about what complaints they have, and they are brought up in the meetings.
Actively identifying risks: The committee members will go out on a regular basis to look through the workplace on an inspection, to look for risks and hazards. If they find them, they will then come up with a plan generally on what things have to be done to deal with them. So it is another sort of process that is in place in the workplace.
They develop measures to protect safety and health of persons. So they have to work to develop measures of safety and health of persons. I know one of the committees is also looking at wellness. So not only the on-the-job portion of safety and health, but the off-the-job portion of the health of the workers as well. Promoting measures to protect safety and health of persons.
A couple more duties: Checking and assessing the success and effectiveness of these measures, sort of an evaluative type of function, and maintaining and communicating records of the meetings, actions taken on complaints -- these types of things.
You need a system in there first to collect the complaints as they come in, or the problems, to go through and resolve the problems, then to report back to people on what has actually happened on them.
In some of the workplaces they have methods so you tell who is actually on the safety committee, because you have a large workplace it may be difficult to tell. Some, if they wear hard hats, may have a different coloured hard hat for the members of the safety committee.
I have seen ones, where we require a Safety and Health bulletin board, they will have up on the bulletin board mugshots of everybody on the safety committee and what area of the plant they work in and that type of thing. So you can actually see their picture and see who they are.
What works in creating positive workplace rapport? This is some information: Better functioning safety committees and safer workplaces. These are studies that have been conducted in Canada and the Canadian experience. I could not find anything specific on mining, so these are studies that are being conducted generally across industries. Mines would have been part of the industries that were in this research.
So what works with respect to safety committees? Committees create reduced injury rates, and have improved problem-solving capabilities. They have better injury rates and better problem-solving capabilities if they are bi-partite, so labour and management working together rather than separately. There are sort of cooperative participative actions that happen if they work together and deal with problems rather than not working. So, more teamwork is involved.
Broad scopes of committee activities: If the committee is allowed to actually deal with problems, if there is an issue that is there, they are given the free reign to actually look at that problem, deal with it, come up with potential solutions. That is an important thing in terms of the effectiveness of the committees. So they are allowed to address the key issues.
They have institutionalized procedures. They take training. Most of the legislation in Canada requires that people on safety committees have to take some amount of training each year, it may be a day. In Manitoba it is two days. They have to meet regularly. There are usually the requirements for how regularly it is -- once every quarter, maybe once every couple of months, whichever.
There is training that takes place for the members. I know that in some provinces there is training that is given through the government, but they can take training of any kind. It could be through the government, the workers may go through one of the local union organizations, that type of thing. There are many different ways they may take their training.
Also, communicating the results: Do they have a process whereby they tell people that complained what happened to their complaint, and how it was dealt with and that type of thing. So is there a process for feedback built into the committee.
The bipartite structures enhance the ability to generate recommendations acceptable to management. So sitting down where the workers and the management talk through these issues, that type of thing, comes out with issues that management is better able to agree to. So they have the backing of both sides.
The status of management participation and the amount of participation affects the ability to develop acceptable solutions. If you have the CEO of your company sitting on the safety committee, if you have an issue and it comes to a decision of "Should we spend money or not spend money?", it is a lot easier to get the decision immediately rather than having to come up with "Here is the decision. Now, it has to go to a management committee somewhere, who then may make another recommendation to another committee", and it goes on up the line.
One of the firms I was involved with, in terms of one thing, we had mentioned to the CEO that there were safety problems there and some issues, that type of thing. He decided he was going to sit on the committee. Well, you find out quite quickly when -- it is no longer acceptable that somebody comes in and says -- everybody was supposed to be trained in forklift training in the last quarter as operators, but they were not, they were too busy doing other things. So he just goes, "Why not?" That was something that had to be done, and it should have been done.
When you have the CEO of the company saying it is no longer acceptable to say that, "No, this was not done". If it is agreed that it is going to be done, it's done. That makes a big difference.
The joint safety committees had a positive impact on labour-management relations in the firm. The existence of safety committees working together can have a positive impact on labour-management relations within the firm. And vice-versa. If you have bad labour-management relations, it can also impact on the effectiveness of your safety committee.
If you have a unionized firm and there are lots of things going on between labour and management, that can spill over to the safety committee and make it difficult for it to operate effectively too.
Effective safety committees are associated with lower accident rates in Canadian workplaces. They measured in some workplaces that for those committees that seemed to be working effectively, the accident rates are lower.
Increase general safety training of workers and management is associated with lower accident rates. If you give general safety training to your workers and your management people, that is associated with lower accident rates. This is just general types of safety, not training related to the functioning of the safety committee itself.
Training management committee members on how to participate in committee work and what the safety regulations are all about leads to better safety performance.
One interesting finding was that training worker committee members had no effect on injury rates. This was one of the studies that was done. This is general training of the safety committee members themselves, because people who are on safety committees generally have a lot of safety training anyway. Often the management members probably had little or none when they are on the committee. It may be that there is a greater impact if you are sending management people than if you are sending people who already have all kinds of training. I don't know, but that was one of the findings in one of the studies I looked at.
Informing all workers of safety committee activities. Communication with workers is another key and effective ingredient. Your safety committee does not operate secretly. People know about its activities and what is going on.
Better worker-management of committees leads to safer workplaces and a better overall safety outcome.
A lot of these things, once you look at them, don't sound like rocket science really. They make a lot of sense. Of course the difficult thing is how you get these things to happen in workplaces, how you get the good labour-management relations to take place, the teamwork and these types of things.
Joint safety meetings with longer meetings have lower serious accident rates. That was sort of interesting. They went through minutes and counted the number of minutes that people spent in their safety committee meetings, and found that workplaces that had longer meetings had better accident rates. They may have had more problems to solve too, I don't know.
Unionized pulp and paper mills -- this came out of a study that was done in B.C. -- have lower accident rates. So unionization had an impact. I think that was the only study where unionization seemed to have an impact.
Better union-management relations in the workplace leads to lower accident rates. We know that better union-management relations leads to more effective committees, so which is the chicken and which is the egg, I don't know. Usually if people are working together better, we should have a better outcome.
Better understanding of OSH hazards, safety and health hazards, and concern of labour officials leads to reduced serious accident rates. The better the understanding of hazards and the concern of the labour union people, you get lower accident rates.
As a closing thought, these were just some examples of some of the things that are within the literature. I don't know if there is anything that is surprising, but it is interesting to take a look at these things.
The difficult thing of course for, say, myself as a safety regulator, is how you get labour and management to work better, and work closer together in workplaces, these types of things, how do you get them to sort of cooperate more.
You can go into workplaces and you can -- it is fairly easy to understand that in some workplaces that have bad accident rates you will find that the safety committees are not functioning very well and that type of thing, but how you move them from that place to a place where they are functioning better, where labour and management are working together on problems, is more difficult.
We do not have legislation that says that your safety committee has to be functioning. We have legislation that says it has to meet so often. As long as you meet so often and meet our regulations that say that you have your two days of training and you have met every quarter and these types of things, and you have minutes of meetings, that's fine.
There is nothing that says that things have to be really accomplished, but that is the whole goal in the whole thing, having the safety committees taking a key role.
The research is fairly convincing that safety outcomes are significantly affected by positive workplace rapport, where labour and management work together to improve the safety outcome. So there is a positive safety and health culture that exists.
Another thing I would like to mention is that at the present time in the province of Manitoba we are doing a study of our safety and health committees, looking at what things are effective in the safety and health committees. It is a project that is funded through our Workers' Compensation Board, and the Manitoba Federation of Labour, Rob Hilliard was speaking today, they are the ones who are doing the research. I am on the committee that is sort of overseeing the research that is being done.
That will provide another study to perhaps shed some more light on some of these types of issues. The key thing then of course is how you then move a firm with a bad safety culture, bad safety and health committee performance, that sort of thing. Management that does not necessarily seem to care about safety, and move them and tip the balance to the other side, where they think that safety is now their most important priority rather than one priority they have after they worry about production schedules and these types of things.
Thanks a lot. Are there any questions?
Question Period - Période de questions - Período de Preguntas
NEW SPEAKER: I have a couple of questions, if I may. You mentioned that the complaints that are received from workers would go to the safety committees. Do they come through the Division first and then go to the safety committees, or is it a mix? And, no. 2, does the Division handle any of the complaints directly?
DR. WARRACK: The general process is that workers within a workplace, if it is functioning properly, go to the committee itself. That may not necessarily always happen.
We have a compliance process where anybody can phone us up with a complaint, if they want something investigated. In some cases it may be the Safety Committee saying: Here is an issue. Management does not seem to want to deal with it. Can you come out and look at it? Maybe you can help us turn their mind or whatever on this type of thing.
Most of the complaints, if the Committee is functioning properly, things would just work well. People take their complaint to the Committee. It is looked at, it is dealt with, and things just happen. But that is not necessarily always the case.
There are a lot of situations where -- generally it is in the situations where you have bad labour-management relations or the collective agreement is coming up and the union workers are mad at the employer for something or other that they have done with respect to their collective agreement, and they do not want to deal with them on this issue. They will phone us up and complain, and they want us to come out and --
We hope that things work the other way, because the more time you are running and chasing complaints and trying to respond to complaints, the less time you have people out looking at other workplaces, trying to see if there are other issues out there that are not being resolved.
NEW SPEAKER: Could you cite a couple of particular successes that you are pretty proud of?
DR. WARRACK: There is one in the mining sector in terms of culture change, where the injury rate, more than 10 years ago, was -- there are up to 16, 17, 18 per hundred workers time lost injuries. Now, last year I think there were 1.9. So it is a fraction of ten -- it is less than 10 years that that turnaround took place.
What it did is it took management to come in and say that -- at one time management sort of accepted that this was the way it was, people got injured on the job. It took management to come in and say that this was no longer acceptable. It took the workers to sort of agree that this is not acceptable, the fact that one out of every ten, or 1.5 of out of every ten, or almost two of us get injured and lose time from work every year.
Once that happened and they started working together rather than separately, that was a significant change, which has been impacted because our injury statistics in the mining sector have gone down by more than a factor in the last few years.
NEW SPEAKER: Yes. That is an order of magnitude there, and that is a great story.
I am wondering if there was something that maybe they had worked on together at a particular site, on equipment or work practices or something, that ended up being transferable to other sites, and sort of widely adopted.
DR. WARRACK: I think part of it was just a general change in attitude everywhere. They have multiple sites in terms of where they are operating. At several mines, there was a case of everybody deciding that at all sites, whether it is at the smelter, whether it is at this site underground or that site over there underground, or wherever, all the different parts of the operation, that it is no longer acceptable that workers get injured and something has to be done.
Once you get people working together, it is not that surprising that things will really happen, once they care rather than --
NEW SPEAKER: Thank you, Barry. There are a couple of comments I would like to make.
Yes, I buy your closing thought.
NEW SPEAKER: If you want to put a price on it, it is not worth injuring a worker. The most important thing to come out of the mine is the miner.
What I think is missing from what you were saying is leading towards this rapport, and that is the CEO must insist on safe production. If the CEO demands safe production, everything else is going to fall into place below on the management side. It is going to affect the workers, and they are going to buy into it too.
I appreciate the point you are also making about education of the committee. That is vitally important. Taking it into a mining environment, the miner can understand the problems of loose explosives falling down holes and that sort of thing, but the average miner does not have all that much concept of toxicology and the effect of gases and this sort of thing.
Among the worker members of the Committee there needs be education so that collectively they do have knowledge of these more specialized aspects. They do not need deep knowledge, but they have to be able to talk in a common language with their management colleagues on the committee.
The third point is on the constitution of committees. I have worked in Manitoba for a number of years, as well as in Ontario. I see there being a fault in the constitution of the committees, and that is where if you have unionized workers, there are usually some non-union staff in that mine who have no voice.
I believe that there should be a place for everyone to be represented on that committee, not simply management and unionized workers.
Those are my comments. If you have any comments, I would appreciate hearing them.
DR. WARRACK: We still have a few fatalities in Manitoba. In the last few years, they are often workers doing contract work in mining. They are at a unionized mine site, and they are doing contract work, opening a new shaft or whatever they are doing.
They would not have a voice necessarily as part of the safety committee and that type of thing. Your point is well taken. Those are good ideas.
NEW SPEAKER: Barry, I think early on in your program you mentioned mandatory training for committee members. Perhaps later I missed what that is.
Are there regulations concerning topics, duration of training? If so, would you mention those again for me?
DR. WARRACK: We have mandatory requirements for two days of training, but there is no -- it does not say what kind of training, what it has to be, that type of thing.
The Workplace Safety and Health Division offers training, unions offer training. There are all kinds of training. As long as you take training that is related in some way to safety, keep an inventory that the training was held and that type of thing, that is considered satisfactory.
NEW SPEAKER: I am going to echo a little bit what he just said and talk about safe production, because I have been teaching safe production for 25 years now. If we don't get our buddy Bob and talk about the right thing we are trying to achieve in safe production, it is not going to happen.
I also do assessment all over the world. The first thing I would tell you upfront is that management is not very well versed in safety. That is because they are not given that in their curriculum and everything. I think that is being added to, and I think that is getting better, but it is not there yet.
It sort of bothered me. On one of your slides you said that the guys down there from labour, what they did did not add to reducing, or training did not (inaudible).
Training is the tools to do the job in reality, as knowledge and everything. How did you quantify that? They had to be adding to that committee somewhere. They had to be adding to the overall process.
I would say, are we not giving them all the training they need, such as, like he said earlier, about what happens out there and what we learn in the health part of it?
DR. WARRACK: Some results were from a study using statistical significance, with the idea that, statistically, it was not significant, which could have been because they have already had a fair amount of training. Usually when they are on a safety committee, they are more experienced in terms of safety than generally other workers who are not on the committee.
When they ran their statistical models of the data that they collected, they could not find any statistical significance with the fact that we were training workers on the committee in safety.
NEW SPEAKER: Those are the people doing the jobs every day. It looks like if there was a reduction of accidents they would have a significant amount to do with that, but yet you said giving them training did not indicate they got better.
I guess that is what bothered me, because that is the person who is doing the job day in and day out. If we do not properly train our people they can't do the job right, and the person who knows more about the job than anybody else is the person doing it. We all know that.
Obviously some training somewhere got them that far. I am sure there wasn't that many management people having accidents, were there?
DR. WARRACK: No.
I guess your question about management training, that is a good point. In Canada, we have what is called Project MINERVA, which is trying to get the universities and community colleges to put more safety into their curriculum. In Manitoba I have been heading that up, trying to get our engineers to go to business schools, agriculture or regular community college here, trying to get an expansion of safety information into the programs there so that people who become future managers, whether engineers or managers or supervisors or just workers, at least will be more familiar with some basic safety and health concepts and that type of thing.
NEW SPEAKER: Just for your information, the labour and management academia all went together to write a book on Safety in the Next Millennium. That is coming out, so hopefully that will help a lot in what is going to be happening in safety today.
MR. SCHORR: I don't want to put a damper on positive conference rapport, but we are going to have to get on to our next speaker. If you can hold your questions until after our next speaker is through, then we can continue this. This has been a very good debate, I believe, and probably one of the more lively ones I have seen this week.
Our third speaker here for our Positive Workplace Rapport is Mr. Joseph Main.
Mr. Joseph Main is from the Department of Occupational Health and Safety with the United Mineworkers of America.
If you would please give a round of applause for Mr. Main.
MR. JOE MAIN (Administrator for Health and Safety, United Mineworkers of America): When I first saw this crowd, I said everybody went to the big meeting today, on Standards Settings and what that means. I said, had I had any control over this agenda, we would probably have been doing this conference at a different time, and I know where I would have been at this afternoon.
I start that all off with this following point, that when we talk about rapport to improve health and safety, and that is what this conference is all about, you start with the concept that you involve the parties in a meaningful way, where they have participation and they can give some contributions about what it is you are going to do.
I think what you are going to hear again before the day is out is a concern raised by labour about the fact that we were not in that process when this conference was put together. We did have two or three spots that we were added to as the conference was developed. Given the fact that the whole procedure is to try to improve the health and safety environment for workers, it seems as though labour should have some kind of a participation in the process.
Had I had my two cents worth in, we would have been doing this in a different setting this afternoon, so we could all go down to the big room, where they talk about what the future of the regulatory process is conceived to be by those, the point being that the standards-setting, the future of health and safety, is foremost on the minds of labour with respect to what this whole North American Trade Agreement means, where it is going to go.
Two basic concerns that labour had when it was put together: One is the loss of jobs and what was going to happen to the economy that was being created. The second was going to be the reduction in the standards of living of miners.
When we talk about partnerships for managing health and safety, and we talk about it in the scheme that we are in as a global process or a trade process as it is now in North America, I think we have to be reminded of what role labour plays when we move to the next level.
In terms of positive workplace rapport or what goes on in the coal industry and what it really takes to make that work. That is one of the downside of this job. You try to do 50 things at one time, and it does not always work out.
The key points that I think everyone has to understand to have any kind of meaningful labour-management -- I am going to talk on that, because that is really the starting point here. The government is secondary. I think labour and management in the workplace is a primary entity that really shapes the attitude relationship and the happenings at a work site, whether it be a mine or a plant.
For there to be a positive rapport, there has to be respect from both sides, for both sides. There has to be a mutual interest agenda, and there has to be good faith and honesty in the process. If those are missing, you are not going to have any kind of sound health and safety program in place that has a good cooperation base to it.
From the miners' perspective I know there are a couple of things that were raised with regard to the study from Manitoba. The things I have heard from the miners that we represent is that while they come to us and they wanted cooperation, and really they just want to get this ventilation plant through and they want us to go to government and get that, what they did as soon as they got that, they act like we did not exist anymore.
The problem with those kind of approaches is that they destroy any ability to have a cooperation. Needless to say that whenever there is labour-management disputes, there is labour-management disputes, and when people get, excuse the expression, "pissed off" at each other, what you have to do is you have to go back and try to figure out a way to really reshape those relationships.
It happens. It happens in everybody's experiences, and it happens in mines or plants. Those are some of the bumpy ups and downs. What you try to do is have enough of a structure in place that when those things do happen, when relationships get frayed, you still have the focus on at least what we mutually agree that we need to deal with here. Health and safety should always be in that box that is protected.
Change of culture, in places where that is not the case, I think works well to make things happen. Where there is no attempt to change that, then it does not.
Several years ago, we had a provision placed in our collective bargaining agreement that called for the creation of a new process. It is called LMPCP -- "Labour and Management Positive Change Process". That is something that we apply as a theoretical approach to building relationships, whether it be on health and safety, whether it be on economics, whether it be on social issues, whatever the case may be, but it is the approach to have a changed attitude within the mining community at the mine site level with both the union and the employer, to come to common terms.
I can tell you that we have had many successful programs in place. They are all different, because the people are different, the conditions may be different. A lot of them are generally the same, but they are all different.
One of the long-standing one is here in Canada. It is the (inaudible) River mine. It was put into place in 1981, following a great debate between labour and management that got very difficult. Both sides finally sat down and said: All of us are together here, so we might as well come up with a process that gets us there.
This program has been modeled throughout the United States. We have had various people from the union and the company come into the U.S., and also provide the background of the program to various mines.
That probably was a basis for a lot of the improvement we got in the LMPCP process, by using that model as a springboard to get others going.
The North River mine in Alabama has had, over the last several years, a very successful program. They have the union committee and mine management working in a very cooperative spirit that defines and solves problems. Both sides have equal rights to put a problem on the table. It takes both of them to agree to it, but both have the opportunity to do that. We have different programs like that. We have one at the Marissa (sp) mine in Illinois.
The one thing I would point out about the North River mine is that what the company decided to do when the union said "we need to get a better design of our long-load equipment, and we need to more involve the long-load folks", they packed up the long-load crews, sent them to Germany, had them help redesign the long-load. When they were brought into the States, they went through a trial process of working the bugs out. When this long-load hit the mine, in our country most times we bring a new one and we have about a month's turnover to get the thing working right.
When they used the start button, they never looked back. They reduced the dust exposure by just ideas that the miners had about the different techniques, increased productivity I think about 15 per cent, and everybody was happy.
It was a good collaboration between the engineers at the mine and the long-load workers at the mine building their own machine that works.
Starting with the state level, we have a lot of different discussions going on with respect to a lot of different issues. One that I talked about yesterday was the diesel issue, and when the diesel law was enacted in Pennsylvania. That came about as a result of a company that had a clear interest to use diesel equipment in a state that prohibited diesel, the state of Pennsylvania. The company was Cyprus A-Max (sp).
We sat down, with myself leading the charge on one side, and a gentleman who is a the vice-president of operations from Cyprus, by the name of John Demishe (sp), on the other. We went through about two and a half years of just open discussion, bringing in miners, bringing in managers, looking at what was really going on at the mine, how bad their maintenance really was, how poor mission controls was.
They put together a partnership to do some R&D work to develop new systems. Out of this two and a half year discussion came the backbone for the Pennsylvania mining law, and virtually every ingredient that you see in that provision.
We then went to the Pennsylvania Coal Association, which represents all the employers in the state. We went through probably about a three-month discussion there. Once we came to a conclusion, we went to the Legislature and said here is what we want. It was a joint labour-management package that the government -- and most of the things I will talk about, the government really is at the end of the trail in those cases.
So we have today what I consider the model diesel law. I have never seen anything that really matches the components of that anywhere else. We think that ought to be the model that is utilized throughout the world now.
On the state level, in West Virginia we were asked by the industry to sit down and work out some proposition for handling provisions of the law, that was antiquated, needed changed. We have a structure in the State of West Virginia, like most of our coal states, which are like provinces in Canada. You have to go through the legislative process to get any changes. Legislatures really do not want to deal with a lot of that technical stuff. You wind up in a dog fight. Nobody ever gets anything. You got what you had 30-40 years ago, and that is wrong.
We were able to come up with a plan. It was a joint labour-management plan, where we recommended to the legislature that what we do is create a new board to review any request to revise the state mining law.
I would appoint one, the president of West Virginia Coal Association would appoint the other. That has been in effect for eight years, and worked perfectly. You have to have a unanimous vote to get through, but you have the voice of labour and management that makes the decisions. There has to be a lot of convincing done. Either way, it goes to change the existing standards. We have incorporated part of that as well in the diesel law.
On the national level, we have been into so many projects and partnerships that I cannot keep up with them anymore, quite frankly. As Larry Grayson -- who is working with us on three or four from NIOSH -- clearly knows, we are probably never ahead in the things we are trying to resolve.
We have a National Joint Committee with our collective bargaining partner, which is the (inaudible). We have two committees. One of them is the Health and Safety Committee. Three on each side: Three representatives of the union, three represented by the company.
All these committees we deal with do is you have to reach consensus amongst yourselves, or you never do anything. So you have no imposed solution with any of this.
Both the training committee and the health and safety committee have produced several products that have resulted in the application to workplace. We have submitted several of those to MSHA for action as far as regulatory reform. The last two was the changes in -- not the Part 46 training rules, and I am not going to get into that, but there was not total labour involvement in that site, what was said earlier. That is a different subject.
There was a sound labour-management involvement. We did propose solutions. This is back in 1991, to the Part 48 rules, at which we finally saw the rule come out in 1998. It takes a long time once we do reach consensus.
The same thing on (inaudible) belts, on issues regarding examinations of the face, whenever you are doing roof bolting. A lot of different technical issues that we have been working on.
We have two partnerships now. One is a diesel partnership. We are working with NIOSH. A partnership where I am trying to find better respiratory protections for miners that work in dust, using the air purifying systems, really to modify the only current model we have in the U.S. the (inaudible), to have a better mousetrap.
Those are all joint projects. We are also jointly working on a project to do some (inaudible) conservation testing. Again, like I say, those are labour-management partnerships that only work whenever there is an interest on both sides to do that. There is enough good faith in it to get the job done, and there is the kind of support from those that are affected, to get it done.
Absent any of that, you would never see these things happen. As the models we have created, you will see all operate generally with the labour-management making the decisions. We decide when government comes in, and when they don't come in on the projects, we work on them. It works well.
With that, I have to go. I wish I could answer some questions, but I had an emergency call.
Thank you very much for letting me be here today, and I hope things go well.
Question Period - Période de questions - Período de Preguntas
MR. SCHORR: I would like you to give a hand to all three of our panel members: Mr. Main, Mr. Warrack, and Mr. Fernández.
If you have any other questions, I think we have some time now that we can answer some questions. We have about 15 minutes.
NEW SPEAKER: I would like to come back to the discussion that was precipitated by Barry's talk, and that is on the qualification of members of the Joint Health and Safety Committee, and to relate some things that are happening in Ontario, where we have a system where there have to be two certified members on each Joint Health and Safety Committee: One from the labour side, one from the management side. These 35 members have to have a specified training course.
I think it started off as being a three-week training course in the mining sector, of general training, to be followed by six specific training. I think it has now been whittled down to something like seven days of general, and they are just starting into the sector-specific.
This training would include things on routes of entry on toxicology, how you measure things, etc.
If anybody is interested in having details of that, give me your card and I will try and get copies of the outlines to you.
MR. SCHORR: I take it we have no further questions or comments.
NEW SPEAKER: Just one small comment.
To give you a good example from Manitoba, with labour and management working together, the mining sector is sort of unique in that we have a standing committee on reviewing mining regulations on a continuing basis. This is made up of labour and management.
It meets regularly to review the mining regulations. They review them, they make recommendations that go through our Minister's Advisory Council, Workplace Safety and Health. It is the only committee that can meet, do these kinds of things. Basically they are passed through the advisory council to the government, and the changes are made.
We have other regulations that have been in place for years -- ten years or longer -- that have not been changed at all. You cannot get them because neither labour or industry can get together, sit down and agree to anything on either side. But in the mining sector, there is this ability where the employers and the labour people are willing to sit down, talk about issues and problems of safety, because they both feel that safety is very important, and they are willing to work together to make changes to the legislation and regulations, if that is required to make the mine safer. That is one sort of success story that is happening.
MR. SCHORR: Any additional questions or comments? I think we will wrap it up here.
I would like you to give a warm round of applause for our panel members, also to our interpreters and to some of the people who helped us put on this conference.
Thank you very much.
Tri-National Panel Session - Summary / Recommendations for the Future - Séance de clôture - Experts des trois pays - Résumé et recommandations pour l'avenir - Clausura de la Conferencia - Sesión del Panel Trinacional - Resumen y Recomendaciones para el Futuro
MS. MAY MORPAW (Federal Co-chair): This is the closing session and it will be moderated by Gordon Peeling, the President of the Canadian Mining Association.
Mr. Peeling has been with the Canadian Mining Association in that position for about two years, has 25 years of experience in the mining sector in Canada, both in the private sector and in government, with a particular specialization in minerals policy.
Gordon Peeling will moderate this closing panel.
MR. GORDON R. PEELING (President, Mining Association of Canada): Thank you, May. I want to thank all of you for joining us for the last session.
We do have a lot of speakers for the closing session this afternoon, so I am going to be very brief in my introductions. In actual fact, I am going to give you the introductions now. Many of the bios you will already have in your book, many of the speakers you will have already seen earlier in the conference, so I am perhaps going to focus more on those who have not yet presented to us.
It is our opportunity to give you a sense of the future direction in terms of the changing culture with respect to health and safety performance in mining. I know for me personally I have found the last three days very rewarding. I have been tremendously interested to see the technological changes that are taking place that will have an impact on future safety and health performance, issues such as robotics, perhaps the introduction of fuel cells, the elimination of diesel emissions, those sorts of things.
I have also been struck by the strong commitment that is required on the part of all parties to see a reduction in the incidence of lost time accidents and fatalities. What I have heard from both labour and the regulator and industry is the absolute essentiality of working together to solve these problems collectively, and to keep in mind that what we are talking about at the end of the day comes down to the individual's health and life in some instances, and the only outcome that is acceptable is a zero incidence. That is something we have to strive for.
I have been impressed with the degree to which we have seen improved statistical performance in this area in terms of incidence, but nonetheless we have a long way to go.
I am impressed by the degree to which we can all profit from the exchanges of views that we have had over the last three days, and I certainly look forward to what our representatives have to tell us in this closing session.
Let me quickly introduce the panel here. I am going to tell the panel that once I have introduced you, I am not going to jump up after every speaker. I would really ask you to go in order of succession. We will start with our Mexican representatives.
Our first speaker this afternoon in the closing session will be Dr. Alejandro Galindo Barajas, Director of Technical Assistance, Workplace Safety and Health in the Mexican Department of Labour.
He will be followed by Abel Fernández Tijerin, Chief, Health and Safety Division in Peñoles, one of the key Mexican mining companies.
Michael Sprinker, who is filling in for Joe Main in this afternoon's session, is Director of Health and Safety with the International Chemical Workers Union Council of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. He has been a Director of Health and Safety with the ICWUC since 1994, and he brings with him ten years of experience as an industrial hygienist from the Oregon OSHA activities. He has a BA in Chemistry, and he has been a Certified Industrial Hygienist since 1991.
So we will be hearing from Michael Sprinker, followed by Margie Zalesak, Special Assistant to the Administrator for Metal and Nonmetal, Mine Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor.
We also have another substitution following Margie. Harold Boling, Executive Chairman of the International Society of Mine Safety Professionals, will be filling in as the third speaker from the United States.
The wrap-up goes to the Canadian team. To finish off the session, Stephen Hunt, who is the current Safety, Health, Environment and Education Coordinator for the United Steelworkers of America, from the western provinces and territories, will be presenting a Canadian labour view. Stephen brings with him a long record of experience in health and safety issues in western Canada, the Northwest Territories, extensive work on the Workers' Compensation Board Regulation Review, etc. There are a number of activities that he has been involved in throughout his career which puts him in an excellent position to bring some insight to our issues.
Michel Pérusse, from Noranda. Michel has a PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Industrial Relations at Laval University in Quebec City. He has also been a consultant in the area of accident prevention for over 12 years, and he has 25 years of experience as a teacher, a researcher and consultant. Since June 1st of 1998, he has been Director-Accident Prevention, for NORANDA here in Canada.
Our final speaker will be John Udd. Dr. Udd has degrees in mining engineering from McGill University and has an extensive career with McGill from 1961 onwards, was Director of the Mining Program at that university. In 1984, he joined Natural Resources Canada as Director of the Mining Research Laboratories, where he is currently Principal Scientist.
Those are your speakers for this afternoon's closing session. I look forward to what they have to say, and I look forward to a good question-and-answer period with all of you.
Each speaker has five minutes. We will try and keep it on track. I know some of you have airplanes to catch, etc. I will do my best to keep it on track, and I look for my speakers to do their best to keep it on track.
ING. ABEL FERNÁNDEZ TIJERIN (Jefe Divisional de Higiene y Seguridad, Servicios Industriales Peñoles, S.A. De C.V.): Gracias, bueno después de una jornada bastante larga, con muchas experiencias, conocer lugares, conocer personas, el intercambio de conocimientos, de experiencias, nos ha dejado pues muy satisfechos en esta ocasión, por haber participado en este encuentro de experiencias y de trabajos sobre la industria minera. Tengo aquí varios comentarios y resumen de lo que estuvimos escuchando y daré lectura.
Tal como señaló el viceministro Thomas Farrell en su discurso de bienvenida, la minería es uno de los grandes pilares sobre los que se apoya el desarrollo de la humanidad, asimismo señaló esta actividad debe y puede hacerse con una total perspectiva de la conservación del medio ambiente y de las personas que intervienen en ella.
El intercambio de experiencias entre los tres países es el enriquecimiento de la mejora en nuestros centros de trabajo y que éste deberá seguir promoviéndose durante largos años y que después las técnicas y el aprendizaje que adquiramos aquí sea posible implementarlo en nuestros países.
También se dijo que nuestros trabajadores son los elementos más importantes que debemos proteger en nuestros centros de trabajo. Se han evidenciado riesgos en los tres países, en la cultura de prevención y el cumplimiento normativo y eso es un reflejo del abatimiento o en el abatimiento de las tasas de riesgo laborales en la industria minera.
Se ha hablado del desarrollo en nuestras nuevas tecnologías que se indican positivamente en el proceso de trabajo, ayudando a mejorar los niveles de seguridad e higiene como por ejemplo estuvimos viendo algunos dispositivos de emergencia, una cámara de vídeo, también la investigación que se hace en el transporte de carga y la innovación sobre el combustible alterno, el diesel.
Igualmente la tecnología es muy importante para detectar rápidamente las enfermedades de trabajo y la facilidad para erradicarlas. La realización de concursos y competencias nacionales e internacionales han probado ser una práctica para mantener actualizados y debidamente preparados a las cuadrillas de rescate minero, lo cual se ha estado haciendo.
Es indispensable que los planes de actualización para emergencias a nivel de detalle cualitativa y cuantitativamente cuenten con responsables específicos, cadenas de mando bien implementadas y realicen capacitación práctica en forma constante para enfrentar con oportunidad los eventos siniestrales.
Los exámenes periódicos y el monitoreo de los elementos del medio ambiente laboral son factores que ayudan para obtener una oportunidad de detención de enfermedades de trabajo. Estos estudios epidemiológicos son fundamentales, pues permiten promover medidas preventivas y correctivas.
Las estadísticas mencionadas de siniestralidad son una gran herramienta de índice que indica directamente las medidas a tomar para mejorar las condiciones de seguridad e higiene de nuestros trabajadores.
Las disposiciones jurídicas deben incorporarse con toda oportunidad en el uso de los nuevos procesos y tecnología de punta para que sea posible y obligatoriamente un mejoramiento de las condiciones en que nuestros trabajadores prestan sus servicios.
Es muy conveniente también estimular los esfuerzos que se hacen en los centros de trabajo empleadores y trabajadores por abatir los riesgos de trabajo.
Hacer un monitoreo constante con oportunidad a indicadores de seguridad e higiene para saber y seguir promoviendo el cambio positivo en esta materia.
La vida, salud e integridad de nuestros trabajadores y de sus familiares nos obligan a todos a perseverar con un gran esfuerzo, incluidos los que estamos aquí haciendo lo mejor cada día para que nuestras condiciones de trabajo se enfoquen a un mejor servicio. Gracias al Viceministro Thomas Farrell, a Geoffrey Bawden, a Glen Blahey y sus equipos, May Morpaw, Marc Rioux, a la delegación de Estados Unidos, a la delegación mexicana y a todos los traductores y a todas las personas que están aquí, muchas gracias.
DR. ALEJANDRO GALINDO BARAJAS (Director de Asistencia Técnica, Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social): Yo empezaría por dar las gracias porque no se nos vaya a olvidar, gracias al gobierno de Manitoba, por la organización de este evento, gracias al gobierno de Canadá, gracias a cada una de las delegaciones, México, Canadá y Estados Unidos, por los conceptos que aquí se manejaron.
Si uno analiza este evento en forma gruesa podríamos decir dos aspectos que se trataron. Primero, avances en la tecnología para las minas. Se habló de minería a distancia, se habló de realidades virtuales aplicadas a la minería y se habló de mucho equipo pues novedoso. Muchas de estas técnicas obviamente se aplican en las minas mexicanas, y las otras las estaremos observando con mucho cuidado para ver cuál es el momento más oportuno para su utilización.
Otro aspecto del evento, estuvo relacionado con los aspectos operativos. Ahí es importante porque se manejó sistemas de información. Se manejó también aspectos de maquinaria como son los jumbos, que en México también se usan con cabinas cerradas y con aires acondicionados para proteger a los trabajadores, se habló de mediciones del medio ambiente, se habló de siniestros y se describió por el representante de Nueva Escocia, lo que sucedió en la mina de carbón. Todos estos aspectos obviamente nos dejan entrever que los tres países hemos avanzado pero tenemos muchos problemas que resolver. Se habló, los líderes sindicales lo mencionaron cuando las comisiones bipartitas no funcionan qué? Esa pregunta demuestra que aquí hay problemas, Estados Unidos no lo tiene porque no las tienen tan extendidas estas comisiones, pero también México confronta este tipo de problemas.
Sabemos también que muchos patrones no tienen esa conciencia prevencionista y a veces muchos trabajadores tampoco la tienen de proteger su vida, contra todo eso tenemos que plantarnos como gobierno, para hacer cada vez mejores normas, buscar mejores mecanismos de inspección pero sobre todo, buscar los mecanismos de asistencia técnica y de apoyo para que los centros de trabajo entren en ese concepto de manejar trabajadores sanos en empresas sanas. La salud no solo es del individuo, la salud es de la organización que maneja esa empresa. Tener una política sobre este campo, tener procedimientos con medidas de seguridad, documentar esos procedimientos, tener una capacitación efectiva, tener mecanismos de auditoría interna, esa es una decisión de los patrones que obviamente el gobierno reglamenta y vigila que se cumplan.
No son sólo hombres sanos, es la empresa la que tiene que ser sana. Lograr esto es la tarea a la que nos vamos a dedicar todos nosotros. El Lic. Sarmiento lo mencionó con un cuento hoy, creo que esto del Tratado del Libre Comercio como decían las gentes del sindicato tiene aspectos que nos pueden no gustar, pero obviamente la intención de esta globalización de la economía, busca el bienestar de la población.
Este bienestar no es fácil lograrlo porque es muy fácil que se distorsione como decían ellos el aumento de productividad a costa de la gente. Creo que ese es nuestro papel, ese es nuestro reto, que debemos de entrar en estos procesos económicos complicados con esa visión clara de que tenemos que buscar el bienestar de nuestras gentes.
Repito lo del Lic. Sarmiento, porque creo que planteó una cosa muy importante. Si estamos aquí es porque somos un equipo de trabajo, somos tres países que se unen respetando las diferencias pero buscando apoyarnos mutuamente para encontrar soluciones a esta problemática, a esta problemática tan específica que es uno de los mecanismos más importantes para buscar el bienestar de nuestra gente, muchas gracias.
MR. MICHAEL SPRINKER (Director, Health and Safety, International Chemical Workers Union Council, United Food and Commercial Workers Union): I am actually filling in for Joe Main, who unfortunately needed to return to the States. In addition, he just received word that he has three union members, three miners, who have been trapped in a roof fall in one of the mines in West Virginia. So unfortunately, a fairly graphic reminder of why we are all here and what we all care about.
I know I speak for everybody here when I say that we hope that those miners are found safely and unharmed, and I hope that word comes soon.
As the President of the Manitoba Federation of Labour, Rob Hilliard, said in his wonderful address lunch, the United States' labor movement -- I don't want to speak for any other, because that is where I am from -- and U.S. workers in general, truthfully were not supportive of NAFTA, and there is still a lot of skepticism there.
However, NAFTA is here. The North American Agreement on Labour Cooperation is here, and it is necessary to look and work towards the fundamental need to continually improve the health and safety conditions in the mines throughout all three countries and, ultimately, throughout the entire world. I think that one of the goals stated in that was to raise everyone to a good standard of living, and to be an example to the rest of the hemisphere and the rest of the world.
Dr. Sarmiento and many others have spoken eloquently of teamwork. We in the U.S. labor movement agree fully with that need. Teamwork is important. But we believe that the functional goals of these meetings and this agreement truthfully are somewhat unclear to us in the American labor movement, and unclear to our members.
I know that neither Brother Joe Main nor I know of any U.S. labor involvement in planning or discussing the goals of the U.S. towards this conference. That was the case to some degree, however, with the previous sectoral meetings, and I think you saw more U.S. labor involvement in those sectoral meetings in electronics, chemicals and construction. We had a lot of very good feedback in those, a lot of very good cross-discussion, just as we have had quite a bit of cross-discussion here.
That is no criticism of the organizers of the conference or of the participants or presenters. I think everyone deserves a great deal of appreciation for all the hard work everyone has put in here, and all the cooperation. Certainly our Canadian hosts deserve a huge round of applause, which I know we will give them at the end of this meeting, for all of the very hard work they have done in putting this successful conference together.
Looking at planning, one country's participation is one thing, but what about the interactions in developing the goals for the meeting for each group -- government, management, and labour representatives? How about the follow-up to the meeting?
If we are going to function in a tripartite manner, certainly speaking from the standpoint of the States, we need to begin as equal participants, and we need to have input into what our needs are going into and coming out of these meetings.
It is hard sometimes, American labor is quite stretched, especially health- and safety-wise. A lot of us handle a lot of workers, sometimes a lot of members, a lot of sectors, and to be able to continue to give our efforts, given the critical health and safety needs of all of our members in all sectors, we need to see that there is some potential for real outcome that will end up improving conditions for all. By "all" I don't just mean members of the International Chemical Workers Union, the Mine Workers, the Steelworkers in the States, or any of the other 10 to15-odd unions who are in mining, but workers everywhere, in all three countries.
We fear that all three of our countries could be pushed into lower labor and health and safety standards, just as we heard what had been suggested by the former Head of Ford Canada, and unfortunately there has been some discussion of that in the States. I think we have all seen that suggested by various forces within our own countries.
Truthfully we cannot tolerate that, and we fight against that every chance we have. Unfortunately, there are not too many chances to fight against it.
Also in addition as the United States and others look towards a hemispheric free trade agreement, which has been discussed off and on during the last few years, what are we going to look forward to as far as worker health and safety, working conditions are going to become? We still have a lot of work to do, I know we certainly do in the States, in improving our conditions.
If we do have future meetings, and I do hope that we do, we believe that workers must have a real voice on the issues which we might like to see discussed and addressed, although this of course can change in time, perhaps demonstrating each of our best practices, each of our country's best practices in areas such as silica and dust control, effective training methods, especially the role of worker trainers as there is quite a bit of it in Quebec, in Ontario, other provinces of Canada and, to quite a degree, in other sectors, unfortunately not so much mining, in the States.
Unfortunately I am at a disadvantage because I have not been able to see the training methods used in Mexico, but I am sure that there are some very good examples that we can all learn from. Plus there may be other technical issues as well.
I would also like to see how to overcome barriers, how each country has overcome barriers or how we could overcome barriers to effective enforcement in each country.
Something else I believe we need to do is to understand the historical, economic, political and cultural differences and other drivers -- I shouldn't say differences, but other drivers which affect health and safety in each country, each state and each province, and how we can use that information and those differences in building a better world in each of our countries.
I think we may also need to discuss what are to be the interim measures to take between meetings, and how can we develop means of effective communication among all parties and all countries. I know, certainly from the Chemical Workers' standpoint, we do have quite a bit of involvement with the chemical, energy, mining, general workers unions confederation, and try to work with folks from all over the world.
Our goals in labor in the United States are the same as everyone's here, I believe. Healthier and safer working and living conditions for miners, their families, higher standards of living for everybody, and successful and sustainable mining enterprises, because we too believe that mining is a sustainable practice, it is a very important sector in the world economy, in the economy of all three countries, and we want to see companies who work hard and try hard succeed and be able to succeed.
I thank you for all of the hospitality here in the city of Winnipeg, and for the chance to learn a lot from everyone here. I look forward to hopefully see you all again at some point. Thank you.
MS. MARGIE ZALESAK (Special Assistant to the Administrator, Metal and Nonmetal, Mine Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor): I would also like to extend my thanks for the warm hospitality we have had here among the Manitobans and the Canadian hosts. It has been a wonderful conference.
One of the items that I have been impressed with during this meeting is our common interest to protect all the men and women who work in our mines, and that we are all interested in both the health and safety aspects of that.
As my co-workers from MSHA, we were brainstorming as to where we would like to see it go from here and dealing with fatalities and mine emergencies. It has been my experience when a miner is trapped, all differences go aside.
We would like to see surface mine rescue recognized as a specialty area, since when you are trying to rescue a miner who is in a screw conveyor, it takes skills as difficult as an underground rescue, or a miner who is trapped, engulfed in a silo.
We also have seen recently in the United States toxic material spills, where not only damage put 27 people in the hospital, but it impacted the community. Almost on an immediate basis, we are dealing with unique mining chemicals for which the expertise is solely within the mining community.
We would like to see community contacts that could be done in an emergency, where experts, whatever the nationality, could be drawn into helping to rescue a miner.
In terms of data, we believe that data should be readily shared so that all of us can identify the accidents and the injuries and illnesses that are facing our miners. We have clearly identified four during this conference: silica, black lung, diesel, and hearing loss. All of our countries are working on this in some aspect.
We think that if we were all, as a group, to work and identify the best practices and a shared methodology, we could influence the manufacturers across country lines so that control technology in health and safety aspects could be joined in. We have talked about visibility in haulage and proximity detectors. Clearly that is of concern to all of us.
Even if meetings and tripartite committees are not economically feasible because of limited resources, certainly putting common website issues simultaneously in all of our countries could focus corrective measures on areas. If all of us were to work on putting ground control issues simultaneously on our websites to address the hazards, we could certainly focus a lot of energy and knowledge and heighten awareness.
Again, on training. We all are talking about dealing with small operators who have limited resources, on how we can effectively train operators and miners on hazard recognition. Certainly we in the United States have developed health hazard guides aimed at mine operators and small miners. From talking with the representatives here, everyone is working along that line, and certainly those are areas of commonality that, working together, we can make our limited resources in the health and safety area far more productive, as well as addressing the concerns of the conference.
Thank you very much.
MR. H.L. BOLING (Executive Chairman, International Society of Mine Safety Professionals, U.S.): Good afternoon.
I first have to say that when I first got the letter that they were going to have this conference, I was very excited. In fact, I called Washington and told them what a wonderful idea it was.
I think sharing of information is what is going to make a big difference, and we have learned from both our successes and our failures across the country.
I spent a lot of years in mining, mining safety in particular, and I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. When I started out, safety was no more than a necessary evil for a company. Everybody had a safety department, so we had to have one. I don't think anybody ever listened to us or cared that we were around. We had to do all the safety. I knew it never would work unless we got everybody involved.
My job was to change attitudes. A lot of people talk about behaviour safety. It is all in the attitude. Everything we do all day long, we make a choice every day, when we get up, what kind of mood we are going to be in. Why do we want to be in a bad mood? Has anybody ever asked themselves that question? Why would we want to be miserable?
I made it a point that I am going to go out and change attitudes, and the first attitude I had to change was mine. Years later, in the last 10 or 12 years, a lot of behaviourial companies have come on-board and they would talk about …. You cannot measure attitude. You can only measure behaviour. I said "Hell, I don't want to measure it, I want to change it."
You can't go out and say, "Hey, stupid, do it right". It does not work. You have to convince people why they need to do it right, and you have to get involved. I had management coming to me saying "Would you like our commitment?", and I would say "Heck, no. I want your involvement. I know you are committed, but if you don't get involved and you don't give the example, it is not going to happen".
You keep talking about barriers. There are no barriers. We put them there. Every great achievement was once thought impossible. Do you know that? Anybody ever believed we would ever get to the moon? Do you see what I am talking about? It's there.
When I first took over the job at Morency (sp), and I had it for nine years, they set every kind of safety record and production record there was, because the two went hand in hand, because I would never, ever, ever allow them to use the word "production" without using the word "safe" in front of it, because that's what we were trying to achieve: safe production.
They used to say, you can have safety, you can have production, but you can't have both, and I kept asking them, why? Nobody ever gave me the answer. But I will never forget, as long as I live, as I was called -- I just got on the job, I was called by a manager of a division, he had 545 people working for him and he says, "Come up, HL, I want you to help me set my safety goals". And I thought, what's hard about making a zero? But I went up and I pacified him. He said, "You know, HL, last year I had 2 loss times and this year, if I put down 1 as my goal, that will be better". I said, "Jamie, you're right. Safety is the only place where 1 is better than 2." I said, "While you're at it, why don't you put down the person's name?" He says, "What do you mean?" I said, "Hell, if you know you're going to have one, surely you know who it is." And he put down "zero", and for nine consecutive years he had two concentrators, and they had both operations and maintenance. For nine consecutive years, they were the safest concentrators in the State of Arizona, for nine consecutive years, because they believed they could do it. In order to achieve "zero", you first have to believe you can.
If somebody tells me that I am going to set my goals for just a certain frequency, then you will accept tragedy. No tolerance, people, zero tolerance. I don't care what it is. Zero tolerance. You can't accept less.
Your job and my job is to remove chance, is it not? We have talked about what is management and labour and regulatory agencies are going to do. I would like to add one more to it. It is research. We need all of us together. We can make this happen.
Jobs in work areas are only safe or unsafe as we choose to make them, and we make that decision daily, do we not? But, you know what? Sometimes what helps us make those decisions is because we have not properly done our job. We have not properly trained that person, and we have not properly got the message across that they cannot do that, or they should not do that. It is important that they do not act in that particular way, or perform a job a certain way.
If you want the best employees, give them the best training. We used to have just anybody trained. We just had any type of employee, trust me. Our problem was our attitude. We had to start here.
We keep measuring success in safety records and production records. That is not success. Success is going to each one of your gates every day and watching all your employees walk out, and then going back that same gate the next morning and watching them walk in, because you have to care about your employees 100 per cent of the time. Off-the-job safety is just as important as on-the-job safety, because 60 per cent of the accidents happen off-the-job.
People have asked me "How would you do a job, HL?" I said, "I would do it the same way I would do if something happened." Think about that. And I tell supervisors never, ever, ask an employee to do something you wouldn't ask your own son and daughter to do, because you are asking somebody else's, for God's sake.
I have always believed the best indicator of a person's ability to lead is their ability to lead safety. Safety and productivity always went together, people. We proved it over and over again. What I am talking about is not theory. I have been fortunate enough to work with almost all the Fortune 500 companies around the world. When they try figuring out how to take care of your people, because that is all safety is, is caring for people, it does not amount to anything else. How do we take care of these people? How do we get them home every day in the same way we got them that morning? That is all we are talking about. What is so hard about that?
Everybody keeps talking about the complexity of it. There is nothing complex about it, there never has been anything complex about it. Listen, if you have such a complex system, trust me, people are going to quit following it.
We have to turn safety into a process, not a program. Somebody asked me what is a process? Well, you put on your seatbelts every day and you drive to work, and you don't remember it. That becomes a process. Safety has to be a value, that we never compromise for any reason, because we are talking about a human being.
We keep putting statistics up on the board. That's people. It's not numbers. That's people, and that's what we have to get away from.
We have to quit going around looking for fault. Some people go around looking for fault like there is a reward for it. If you want to help an employee reach his full potential, go out and catch him doing something right, not wrong. He does it a thousand times right and we don't say "good job". He does it wrong once and, my gosh, are we irritated. And we wonder why he or she is upset. We just made that determination what kind of attitude they were going to have.
I wrote up a start program here recently. A guy wanted a different program, so I said, okay. He said "I don't like stop", so I said "Let's do start". That means "Safety, Total, Awareness, Reinforcement Talk". Their whole job is to go out and find them doing something right. Somebody has been doing something wrong? We adjust it, we talk to them, we take care of it.
Isn't it an analysis: Make it fact-finding, not fault-finding. We already have (inaudible). My gosh, people. You have to change your attitude the way you conduct your business. It has to be fact-finding, not fault-finding. We have to get to the crux of the thing. We have to eliminate that part of the system, that part of the risk.
Like I said earlier, safety is not just while we are at work. We have to get the employees back to work every day.
The other thing that bestirs me a lot is I have been around a lot of companies where all of a sudden every employee was cleaning up the place. I thought, what in the world is going on? I found out that either dignitaries were going to show up or the government people. And we had everybody and their dog sweeping. The only confused part I am to this day about that is where they keep all those darn brooms, what room on that mine are they kept in.
I told them, "Quit preparing your work areas for people that don't work here. Prepare them for your people, and you will never have to worry about preparing them for those people." Just like companies worry about getting citations from the government. All you have to do is do it right. Is that hard?
I am told I am out of time, so I am going to give you a short shopping list here, if you don't mind.
What is going to lead us into the next century? Sincerely, actively caring for people. We need visionaries, people that consistently think out of the box. We need people skills. That is what is going to lead us, companies where people skills -- people, you cannot have high productivity without a good safety process, so people skills on how to do it. Communication skills. Training. Give them the best training there is. You have to build trust, people. You have to have the trust in people and do it. It is a most important element in both a personal and a professional relationship there is, is trust. Do the right thing, because there is a right thing to do, period.
I am going to leave you, really quickly, with some challenges. Like I said, I want you to be someone. If we walk across the parking lot and we see something laying there, a nail or a screw, and we say "someone ought to pick that up". I want you to be that person who picks it up.
I never, ever, want you to ever use the word "production" without using the word "safe" in front of it. Tell people what you expect from them, and everything else (inaudible).
We had a system where every employee could shut down the job, because every employee was that important to the job. We had 2,850 people there, and 83 square miles.
Learn from each other, people. That is important. If somebody has a good idea, use it. To steal from one is plagiarism. To steal from many is research. Do a lot of research.
What I want you to do is R&D. That's not "Research and Development", that's "Rip off and Duplicate". If somebody has a good idea, use the hell out of it.
I want to thank you for putting on this conference and what you have put together and everything, and I want you to change your attitude. I want you to go out every day of your life and stick your hand out with a smile and say "Good morning" and "How are you doing?", and start somebody else's day out right. It works.
Thank you very much.
MR. STEPHEN HUNT (Safety, Health, Environment & Education Coordinator, United Steelworkers of America): I thought I would file an official complaint. First thing is Rob Hilliard stole my speech. The second one is that my friend from the United States just stole my second one!
Before I start, I don't know if I will make the time limit, because I looked for time to speak and I always try to, so I defy you to take the microphone away, but I will try.
I want to once again thank everybody from the translators, especially the organizers, from the federal government, HRDC, the Manitoba government, the former government -- I kind of like that ring! They are really nice hosts on their way out the door. It was good to be here for it. Seriously, it was a wonderful show you put on, a wonderful conference. I know it was difficult. It would be easy for me to stand up here and complain about the lack of Labour participation, but we are used to it. We will adapt and we will fight back, and we will continue the fight that we have always fought.
Now, I thought what am I going to speak about at this conference, especially in a wrap-up, and keep it positive, because I think we should.
A number of things I thought I could speak about, about the future, but I do want to dwell a little bit on the past, not that I want to live there a long time. Someone has already spoken today about the past, so let me tell you a little bit about myself, very briefly, and why some people in this room probably think, what a negative man up there at the podium right now, he is going to tell us something management has done wrong or government has done wrong.
In my job as a steelworker staff representative I negotiate collective agreements, and I have been involved in health and safety for the last 25 years. I started as a miner, and I have been the Coordinator for Health and Safety nationally, that means across the country, for quite some time.
One of the most unpleasant aspects of my job is to go in after accidents and do the coroner's inquest. That is where you relive the last few moments of a person's life. It is a horrible, horrible thing to do.
I also testified at the Westray Inquiry, where I listened to what happened there -- it was easy to see what happened. It was a predictable path to disaster, as the Justice said. It was easy to find out why 26 people died in less than a minute at Westray.
What have we learned? We saw today, and I am happy to see Nova Scotia after seven years has finally moved on new regulations. It took a long time to get there, inexcusably long, but at least they are moving in the right direction.
What else have we learned? The criminals responsible for the murders at Westray? They are still roaming the streets, and this is a message to the mining industry of Canada: Don't export your criminals. We have a lot of positive things about the mining industry that we can export. We do not have to export murderers.
Clifford Frame started at Elliot Lake, the uranium industry. Hundreds and hundreds of workers have died as a result of exposure at Elliot Lake. Clifford Frame then went on to be the principal at Westray, that killed 26 people. Clifford Frame is allowed today, in Canada, to try to open the old Cassiar asbestos mine in northwestern British Columbia. Somebody fronts him, somebody from the mining industry in Canada has given him the front money to get in there and recycle the tailings to pull asbestos out of that. That is wrong. This guy is a dangerous person. He is a murderer.
Let me tell you about another murderer. This has a Latin American flavour. Gerald Phillips was the mine manager at Westray. Gerald Phillips left the country and went to work for a Canadian mining company in Latin America, called Greenstone Resources, a good junior mining company.
While he was working in Honduras, he got on a bulldozer and ran over a water tower, almost killing a worker -- the potential was there. He actually pointed a bulldozer at a guy and ran it over, hit a water tower and knocked it down.
He is now working for a Canadian company called Crystalex in Uruguay. He has been in several other Latin American countries. We exported our murderers down to South America, and that is wrong.
Let me tell you what the mining company said. This is a quote right out of The Globe & Mail: "There is such a thing as honour among thieves, you know. We're all in mining. We all know the differences we had. This thing could have happened to any of us." Globe & Mail, October 25th, 1998. That is what they said about the murderer Philips, as he continues to operate in the mining industry in Latin America.
We must stop exporting our worse things, and concentrate on the positive, like the previous speaker talked about.
What else have we done since Westray in Canada? Canadian mining companies have killed 70 people since Westray. There have been 70 little Westrays that have occurred. We have a lot to improve on. Let me tell you how we can do that. I am going to tell you something else. Let me just digress a little bit. I will probably run very short of time right now. I want to talk about who is not here today.
There are some pretty major mining companies that failed to show up at this conference, Canadian mining companies, that work multinationally. They are all over the place. I have had the opportunity, as a steelworker, to travel to Latin America, to Europe, to talk about mining. Generally when I am there, especially in Europe, especially at the ILO in Geneva, you generally do not have any lack of interest for Canadian mining companies to be there, because it is a nice thing to do. But there are some fairly major ones that failed to show up here, and that is curious.
I was recently at a bargaining table and I tabled a proposal in front of the mining company. It is the largest base metal mine in Canada, big international, multinational company, that has many mines throughout the world. I tabled a clause called Sustainable Development, or Mining Sustainability.
Basically what it says is if you go to a country, especially a developing country, and your laws in Canada are better than theirs, adopt your laws with respect to health and safety. That's all, just with respect to health and safety.
If I said to you now what they said to me at the end of that meeting, it would be very rude. We never successfully negotiated that clause in the collective agreement. And there is no reason for that. There is absolutely no reason why, if we are going to export good things -- I will give you an example. There are some real good mining people in this room. If you develop a new technology on extracting ore from rock, you don't hesitate one minute from exporting that technology to another country, because you can increase your profits, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when we develop a safety policy or procedure in Canada, do we bother to export it? Not often, and not often enough, and not in my experience we haven't. That is what we have to start doing.
I am going to wrap up and get off here and let somebody else speak.
How can we help workers in Mexico and the United States, and how can those workers help us? Obviously it is a sharing of information. I have a message again for the Canadian mining industry as the Canadian worker and Canadian workers' representative.
We have to stop the deregulation that is going on in this country right now. We have to stop that race to the bottom. I think one of the previous speakers talked about that.
The NAFTA agreement, and you have heard other labour speakers talk about this, we don't like it, because we can understand from a worker's point of view, it just pits worker against worker. It tears jobs from this country or this area and moves them to another, and it is this globalization crap, that a lot of money has been made over, a whole lot of money.
I ask all the miners in this room: When you introduce a new policy into your workplace or a new work procedure, do you consider safety and health first? Anybody? Anybody not do that?
When the NAFTA deal came along, why is it now, years after NAFTA was done, we are standing here trying to figure out how to make mining safe? Anybody care to guess? It was a mistake, and we have to correct that mistake right now. We have to get going on that.
The health and safety of workers must be given the highest priority by all those who exercise public responsibilities. That is key. That is in all countries. I think it would be really inappropriate if I spoke about what is happening in Mexico or what is happening in the United States. I don't know enough to speak on that, but I do know that in Canada the regulators have to exercise public responsibilities.
The regulators who represent the public interest regarding health and safety must be trained professionals. We don't want another Westray. We want mine inspectors that actually can go in and rectify problems before they result in those horrible numbers that are real people.
The regulators must be accountable to the workers and the community at large, and the process of regulations, the making of regulations, must be transparent and open. That means everybody that is involved must be able to participate in that regulatory review. You cannot leave people out. You cannot leave workers out of a regulation review.
The laws in Canada -- this is going to hurt some mining companies here -- with respect to mining, and think of this globally, must be harmonized. If we have some good laws here, why don't we harmonize them? You know there are ten provinces in Canada, three territories now, and federal responsibilities. We have safety laws all over the place. We have different jurisdictions. Every province has its own jurisdiction.
If you look at some, we heard from Saskatchewan today, we see the new laws coming from Nova Scotia. Why are we not all working on the same page? Why do we have different acts and legislations all over the place?
I know it is a provincial responsibility, but do we not harmonize mining laws? I don't care where you're at, mining is mining. If you are operating a mine in Mexico or Peru or Indonesia, the same principles apply, and oftentimes exactly the same equipment. So there is absolutely no reason why we all work off of different pages.
Right here in Canada, if we get to the same page, I can assure you we could do an awful lot of really great work helping other people in other countries in this whole entire industry.
I have been negative enough, haven't I. Now we have to be proud of -- I know, I am out of time. Not bad for a borrowed speech.
We have to be proud of our accomplishments, so all the mining companies in this room and the people that are not here don't feel really terrible. We do wonderful work. We do wonderful work here, and there are some very responsible mining companies that really take a strong interest in ensuring workers have their health and safety when they finish their work.
We have to be proud of those accomplishments, and we have to share them with one another. A forum like this, where we can actually sit down with one another and talk about what we do, I think would be a wonderful start. Imagine workers from three countries together, with management from three countries, and government from three countries, and sit down and say -- we don't want to say "mine is better than yours", we just want to say: This is what we do, and could it work, or what is wrong with it, and try to balance the field. I think that is a good start.
Finally, and this will be strange coming from me, as I am sure some people here know me now, the adversarial role in health and safety must be stopped. We cannot be adversarial. This is not an industrial relations exercise. It is not. This is pure and simple health and safety of miners, nothing more that. It can't be treated like that, it is not a power thing. Like the previous speaker said, the numbers you see on those screens are people, and don't forget it.
In closing, remember: The most important thing to come out of a mine is the miner.
MR. MICHEL PÉRUSSE (Director - Accident Prevention, NORANDA Inc.): Muchas gracias.
I get by in English reasonably well, but I thought I should help my friend Gérard here, add a little French cultural colour to this meeting, so I will be speaking in French.
Les plus grands défis je pense qui nous attendent en matière de culture et de sécurité, j'ai entendu tout au long de ce forum le mot « safety culture », mais j'en ai pas vu nécessairement beaucoup.
Les plus grands défis qui nous attendent je pense, dans le domaine minier ont trait à l'humain. Il y a au moins deux des présentateurs qui m'ont précédé qui vont exactement dans le même sens.
Oui, il existe des défis technologiques, mais on a vu plein de réalisations technologiques, plein de nouvelles technologies. Je pense qu'on est suffisamment créatif pour les trouver, ces nouvelles solutions technologiques.
Il y a des défis structurels, comment bien structurer un programme de sécurité, comment bien faire fonctionner un comité conjoint de santé et sécurité. Il y a des défis structurels. On est assez ingénieux pour trouver des réponses à ça, et souvent on les connaît. Il s'agit simplement de les appliquer.
Des défis au niveau réglementaire, au niveau statutaire. Steve mentionnait est-ce qu'il n'est pas possible, par exemple, d'harmoniser les législations, est-ce que ça prend de nouvelles lois, de nouveaux règlements? Peut-être, mais encore une fois on est assez ingénieux pour ça.
Le vrai défi, le plus grand défi -- c'est le plus grand défi parce que c'est celui qui sous-tend les trois que je viens de mentionner: Ça prend des humains pour faire fonctionner la technologie, pour faire fonctionner les systèmes et les structures, pour les créer et les appliquer, ces lois, ces règlements, ces éléments statutaires. Le vrai défi, c'est comment amener l'apparition ou la mise en place de la vraie culture de sécurité dans les organisations.
Je me suis fais voler au moins trois ou quatre « punch » par les présentateurs précédents. Ce que je veux simplement essayer d'illustrer c'est la véritable prise en charge par les gens du milieu de travail. Je veux simplement raconter une petite anecdote qui illustre un peu les pas de géant qu'on peut faire lorsqu'on casse l'espèce de système de dépendance dans lequel on s'est placé.
Le système de dépendance dans lequel on s'est placé est le suivant: Plus de régulations, plus de lois, plus de règlements. L'industrie attend de bouger que, oui, est-ce qu'il y a une loi, est-ce qu'il y a un règlement là-dessus? Oui? O.K., je le fais. Il n'y a pas de règlement? Non, je ne bouge pas.
Donc les instances réglementaires attendent que l'industrie se prenne en charge, et l'industrie attend que les instances réglementaires leur disent quoi faire.
La réglementation nous fait faire un bout de chemin, et ça en prend de la réglementation pour faire respecter le strict minimum d'exigences en matière de santé et sécurité, mais ça prend un saut quantique, si je peux m'exprimer ainsi, pour changer les mentalités et vraiment changer la culture de sécurité, et faire en sorte que tout le monde dans une entreprise soit concentré sur cette culture de sécurité.
Un exemple pour illustrer ce que je veux dire, et ce matin il y avait un intervenant qui avait posé la question, ce qu'on faisait au Québec, entre autres, pour favoriser la prise en charge par les équipes contremaîtres-employés, pour améliorer les relations au sein des équipes contremaîtres-employés.
Un petit exemple. Il y a quelques années, cette organisation minière que j'ai à l'esprit -- elle opère actuellement deux sites, un à ciel ouvert et un souterrain. Il me pose la question, Michel, comment est-ce qu'on peut... on bâtit des programmes de sécurité et, pour une raison qu'on a de la difficulté à s'expliquer, les programmes ne se rendent pas jusqu'au niveau du plancher. On a un excellent programme corporatif. Il a été accepté par la Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. On n'arrive pas à le rendre jusqu'au niveau du plancher.
J'ai dit: Êtes-vous prêt à faire un véritable changement culturel? Et si on demandait aux employés ce qu'ils pensent que ça devrait être, un programme de sécurité?
Je vais faire une histoire relativement courte, parce que je sais que le temps est limité. En passant, je félicite les organisateurs du congrès de me faire passer le dernier, en sachant que j'ai un avion à prendre. C'est la meilleure façon de s'assurer que je vais respecter mon temps de parole!
J'ai demandé aux gens: Êtes-vous prêts à faire un véritable changement de culture? On va faire bâtir le programme de santé et sécurité par les équipes contremaîtres-employés, carrément. Tentons l'expérience. Évidemment il y a un comité de santé et sécurité conjoint qui doit s'assurer que ce programme-là, qui va se bâtir progressivement, respecte les exigences réglementaires, qui va coordonner les efforts pour ne pas qu'il y ait de duplication, etc. Ça a été un succès fulgurant.
Le programme qu'on pensait être un programme annuel, on avait demandé aux gens de se donner du travail en matière de projet de sécurité -- installer une passerelle pour aller changer la pompe là-bas, qui est difficile d'accès, installer un garde sur telle machine, etc. -- et de revoir en profondeur les méthodes de travail, la formation, etc. On pensait qu'ils s'étaient donné du travail pour un an. Au mois d'avril de cette année-là ils avaient déjà tout fait, et ils en redemandaient.
L'année suivante, la compagnie m'appelle en me disant, "Michel, il y a un problème. Il faut que tu reviennes. » J'ai dit, « Qu'est-ce qui se passe? » Ils ont dit, « C'est trop tranquille. C'est trop calme. » J'ai dit, « Comment ça? » Ils ont dit, «Tu sais, les superviseurs d'habitude ils brassent la cage. Ils sont tranquilles. » Quel est le problème?
Je suis allé confesser les superviseurs par petits groupes, et ils m'ont dit, « Michel, là on touche les vrais problèmes de sécurité. Là, ça va assez bien dans nos équipes. Le climat est extraordinaire. On travaille comme ça ensemble. On touche les vrais problèmes. On règle les vraies choses. Change rien. Change rien. »
J'ai dit à la compagnie, « Maintenez ce programme-là. » Ils ont fait des choses comme, par exemple, à chaque réunion de l'équipe de direction ils font venir deux ou trois superviseurs, et ils demandent aux superviseurs « Comment ça va dans ton programme de sécurité? Où est-ce que tu en es rendu? As-tu besoin d'aide? Est-ce qu'il y a des blocages? Dis-nous-le, on va lever les obstacles, si tu as besoin d'aide. »
Les superviseurs, qui ont traîné un peu dans la réalisation de leur programme de sécurité, se cherchent des choses intelligentes à dire devant le Vice-Président, Opérations. Ça fonctionne. Le résultat net: Leur facture d'indemnisation est passé de 2,2 millions de dollars à 400 000 dollars. Réduction spectaculaire de la fréquence, de la gravité des accidents, des coûts d'indemnisation, et une amélioration extraordinaire du climat des relations de travail.
Steve, je suis absolument d'accord. On va dépolitiser, on va déconflictualiser les questions de santé et sécurité, on va s'asseoir ensemble et on va travailler ensemble. On va travailler ensemble par-delà les frontières nationales.
Un forum comme aujourd'hui est un pas superbe dans la bonne direction, mais on va aussi travailler ensemble, au niveau du plancher, à régler les problèmes, à impliquer les travailleurs. Après tout, c'est pour eux qu'on fait ça.
Merci à un des présentateurs précédents qui m'a donné une excellente leçon. Je retiens, HL, START, we need a fresh new START, and we are going to get it.
Merci aux organisateurs pour cette occasion extraordinaire de partager. Bonne chance. Bon retour à la maison, tout le monde, et à une prochaine j'espère.
DR. JOHN E. UDD (Principal Scientist, Mining, CANMET, Natural Resources Canada): Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have a very tough job here. I am preceded by some very powerful speakers, and I am also standing between you and your weekend. So I realize it is a position of danger, and I am going to be very brief. I am going to be using some transparencies, and I am going to be going extremely quickly.
I started planning for this presentation as a 30-minute talk on Powerpoint. I am going to do it in about five minutes, and I am going to really be motoring.
I just wanted to put things in focus a little bit and just emphasize the fact that the minerals industry is important, extremely important, to all of our countries, certainly in Canada, where we have employment in the industry of about 200,000 people. But going far beyond that, over half of the rail transport in this country is minerals, and over two-thirds of all tonnage laden at Canadian ports is minerals. That is how big it is.
We have had some comments on the trends in health and safety, particularly by Dr. Grayson this morning. I have asked him if he will exchange data with me because, as a courtesy of the Mines and Aggregate Safety and Health Association of Ontario and Ontario Ministry of Labour, I have these diagrams that show what the record has been in the province of Ontario vis-à-vis loss time injuries and fatalities in the mining industry. There is no question but the fact that we have made progress.
Let's put a little bit of context on it.
This slide shows the relative record of the mining industry as compared with several other industries, and these are real numbers. It has a very, very good record at present, although admittedly no one would ever argue that there are fatalities, there are injuries One is too many, no one is arguing that, but let's realize that this industry has made terrific progress.
If you want the hard numbers, these are in the paper, and we will show you how these calculations were made. I hope the organizers at some stage will make a copy of the text available.
That is where we have been. Now, let's talk a little bit about the future.
We are in a period of enormous technological change. The fact of the matter is that the pressures of the marketplace are very real on all of us. Downsizing, rationalization, globalization is there, competition is intensive. You may say, "Well, who is this person? We haven't seen him." I appeared last night, because I have been working on a special project for the folks that I work for on the health of the industry and the upstream suppliers. It is a very major concern at the moment, because we are losing people very rapidly.
Our next slide is a graph of the projected trend in employment in the province of Ontario over the next few years. It goes from 1960 to some time after 2000, but note particularly in mining, about 1972 there were 45,000 people employed in the industry, today it is about 16,000. You will notice that the graph is sloping downwards. If one was being really negative, you could say it is going down extremely low, perhaps as low as 5,000 people in the industry.
What is happening is that automation is here. The only means of surviving is to become more productive with safety. So what we are dealing with is a period of intense automation in the industry.
We are dealing with a situation where some companies are talking about tele-robotized operations, where people are -- and remember that there are two benefits of tele-robotization. One is that productivity is improved, but the second is that people are removed from the most hazardous parts of operations. That is very much part of the driving force in this.
We get into some new aspects. I am trying to focus on the future and talk about what some of the key issues in mining health and safety are going to be in the future.
We need to talk about ergonomics, we need to talk about machine design, we need to talk about the man-machine interface, we need to talk about how many tasks can a person perform and how this can be done successfully.
There is one instance at present where three drills are being operated by one operator, using telecommand. The point I care to make to you is that those three drills are in different mines, so therefore you have a person working in three different mines simultaneously. It is interesting to know how far can one push the envelope, because that is certainly the direction that the industry is going in.
We need to talk about acceptable limits of risk. There are risks in all human endeavours. We have to have some discussion on how much risk is acceptable.
In another session at this conference you have talked about diesel emissions. What has happened in the past is that we have tried to attempt to control the macro climate of the mine. We have hot mines. You try to force a lot of cool air, refrigerating air, into them. That is not going to work in the future, because the earth's rock mass is too large to do that.
So I submit to you that one of the key issues in mining health and safety in the future is not going to be macro climate control, but rather micro climate control as we try to control the climate around the individual miner.
Let's be farfetched and let's say we are talking about space suit technology in the future. If we are talking about the use of internal combustion engines underground, particularly diesel engines, I suggest that what we are talking about is substitutes of prime movers.
We need to have some discussion on appropriate scientifically established time weighted averages and threshold limiting values, and we need to develop strategies to remove people from contaminants.
In the Canadian framework, and this gentleman over here has said that, we have regulations, a patchwork of regulations across Canada, I suspect across the United States, I suspect across North America, and yes, by all means let's move towards harmonization of these regulations and let's make every effort that we can to extract the best, and use the best.
One other point of concern is that during this wave of downsizing which has been endemic, it has probably touched everyone in this room. Everyone is losing expertise, companies, inspectorates, consultants and so on, and we need to be mindful of this, and we want to make every effort to ensure that it does not go to the point where safety standards are allowed to slip.
Responsibilities for health and safety. In the 1976 Report of the Royal Commission on Health and Safety in Ontario Mines there was mention that there are five things that are necessary to have a successfully operating health and safety framework: Management and supervision -- we have heard a lot about that today -- participation and commitment of employees, both individually and collectively. Remember that in any safety framework, who is responsible? Everyone is responsible. There is no one that can walk away from the table.
We have to talk about the state of social expectations and concern in mining communities, and political attention is expressed in legislation, and then wrapping all those together as a combination for a successful safety framework.
The final slide, if we want to boil that down into very few succinct words, we need to work on the atmospheres and organizations, communications, and people have to communicate with trust, people have to be willing to sit down at the table and negotiate and discuss these things, mutual understanding, and, above everything else, commitment.
On that note, I am going to leave it. Thank you very much.
MR. PEELING: We do have time, we have some of the question period left. If you have questions for our panel members, individually or collectively, now is your opportunity. If not, then let me thank this wonderful panel for a very thought-provoking session. I think it is a wonderful way to end this conference.
We had some challenges put in front of us. I think we have been given an agenda that demands that we do meet together again. There are issues of best practices, commitment, teamwork, and I like the thought of coming back to teamwork because, as indicated by our last speaker, a lot of organizations are downsizing.
We are losing professional capacity at the mine level, in the corporations, at the regulatory level, in governments, and the only way we are going to see our way forward to that zero objective is through teamwork.
I think there is much to discuss in that regard and that does give us, I hope, an opportunity to come back together again.
Let me, on behalf of all of you, before we thank these panel members as appropriate, let me thank the Manitoba host for an absolutely wonderful event.
I want to thank the translators, who have been challenged again and again throughout the last three days with speakers speaking rapidly, as we are wont to do from time to time. You have done an excellent job for all of us, and we very much appreciate it.
You, the audience, have made this a tremendous success. For all of these conferences, it is as much what happens out in the corridors and around the dinner tables as what happens here in the meetings.
I know there have been some excellent exchanges, and certainly I have appreciated the opportunity to sit down with a wide range of colleagues and certainly get a much better understanding not only of the situation in Canada, which is a patchwork quilt unfortunately, but as well get a better understanding of what is happening in Mexico and the United States. So you have made this a tremendous success, and have contributed to it.
Finally, let me thank our speakers for a wonderful closing session. Thank you.
Unless there are any housekeeping issues, I declare the session closed.