Mineral Exploration

Summer 2014

Mineral Exploration is the official publication of the Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia.

Issue link: http://digital.canadawide.com/i/325035

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 43

12 S U M M E R 2 0 1 4 Photographs : Mat thew Davie s A t the time of writing this article, I have just returned from the field, serving as a member of my local search and rescue team – so the hazards of the field are fresh in my mind when putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard. I delivered a short presentation at an AME BC safety work- shop in 2013. The two-day seminar/workshop was excellent, featuring experienced speakers and delegates who shared some tragic stories of injury and death. The workshop was designed to prevent such tragedies happening again. The focus of my presentation was my area of expertise: overseas safety (in this case, for exploration staff operating outside Canada) and showing how incidents commonly occur and how best to train staff appropriately. I hope that you, your staff and your colleagues are already as safe as can be when operating overseas. But we can always improve. Safety practices advance all the time, and keeping up to date is part of satisfying your legal duty of care and moral obligations. Surely what happens overseas can't impact me here? In most developed nations, there is legislation requiring employers to ensure the safety of their employees and of visitors to their premises. Extending above and beyond that – certainly in common law jurisdictions – the legal "duty of care" concept, in negligence, extends this further. In Canada, Bill C-45, or the "Westray Bill," was created as a result of the 1992 Westray coal mining disaster in Nova Scotia in which 26 miners were killed after methane gas ignited, causing an explosion. In section 217.1, the bill, now law, states, "Everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task." This legal obligation extends to staff operating overseas. Similarly, in many jurisdictions outside Canada, there is well- established case law attaching liability to companies in their own jurisdictions for safety failings that have impacted their staff when deployed overseas – from unsafe workplaces to tropi- cal illnesses for which the company did not explicitly commu- nicate the risks and prevention techniques to staff. The arguments for implementing and monitoring safety systems are numerous and compelling. Safety systems mini- mize the number and extent of incidents, which saves human lives. And beyond the moral and ethical obligation, minimizing the occurrence of incidents also saves companies from signifi- cant business interruption, legal costs and severe reputational damage arising from the inevitable investigations, criminal prosecutions, civil cases and press coverage that follow. (Look at the reputational and financial damage BP suffered as a result of the Gulf of Mexico disaster.) Not to mention the subsequent recruiting difficulties, loss of co-operation from local popula- tions, lost profits from project interruption and lost licences, to name but a few. As EasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou famously said, "If you think safety is expensive, try having an accident." Safety overseas HAVE A SAFE DAY, EVERY DAY – AND EVERYWHERE By Matthew Davies p12-15_Safety+Paramedics.indd 12 14-05-26 1:37 PM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Mineral Exploration - Summer 2014