Voisey’s Bay wins the national John T. Ryan Trophy for the fifth consecutive year

About Vale

7/12/2019

Voisey’s Bay wins the national John T. Ryan Trophy for the fifth consecutive year

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Voisey’s Bay operations team members (from left) Dean Janes, Kevin Young and Tyler Pamak
Voisey’s Bay operations team members (from left) Dean Janes, Kevin Young and Tyler Pamak were chosen to represent Vale at CIM this year as they were the top three unsafe condition issuers at the site. Photo: Vale Archive.

​​​It’s not often that people make the news for something that didn’t happen. But thanks to the vigilance and hard work of everyone at our operations in Voisey’s Bay, Labrador, not a single lost-time injury occurred there in all of 2018 – a year when a total of 1,089,432 hours were worked.

In recognition of this outstanding safety record, our colleagues in Voisey’s Bay were awarded the national John T. Ryan Trophy in the Select Mines category for the fifth consecutive year. The award was given at the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) Awards Gala in Montreal April 28 to May 1.

It becomes second nature to look out for possible risks. Voisey’s Bay operations team members Kevin Young, Tyler Pamak and Dean Janes were chosen to accompany Ian Coles, maintenance manager at Voisey’s Bay, and Matt Hynes, superintendent, Health, Safety and Environment, to CIM this year, as they were the top three unsafe condition issuers at the site.

According to Kevin, who’s been a power plant operator at our mine for nearly three years, just keeping an eye on potential hazards on an every day basis pays off for everyone in the long run.

Tripping hazards

“We noticed possible tripping hazards like cords lying across walkways, aerosol cans left out, flammable stuff left in MCC (electrical) rooms, stuff piled up in front of fire exits,” he said. “It becomes second nature to look out for possible risks.”

Kevin believes the unsafe condition reporting system itself plays a critical role in proactively identifying potential safety issues before they happen.

“The unsafe condition cards made me more aware of what I was fixing, a little less complacent,” he said. “It’s a good incentive to make you more aware.”

Kevin was surprised to learn one week before the CIM conference that he was one of the highest unsafe condition issuers at the mine, and thanks to his efforts, had been selected to go to Montreal for the awards.

“There was a lot of interesting stuff there, especially at the [mining suppliers] expo,” he said. “The people there in the booths were glad to get the perspective of actual floor workers.”

They were the only frontline workers

In a display of our company’s commitment to VPS, specifically in flipping the traditional organizational triangle on its head, Kevin, Tyler and Dean, both mill operators, were the only frontline workers at the awards ceremony.

“Everyone else from other companies was upper management,” noted Kevin, “and they were pleasantly surprised to see that we were operators accepting the award on behalf of Vale.”

I’m extremely proud of every single employee at Voisey’s Bay, each of whom made a significant contribution to achieving this national honour. This national award demonstrates the commitment from all of our people at the Voisey’s Bay Mine site to genuinely care for each other by actively identifying and managing risks in our workplace that have the potential to cause harm.

Dino Otranto, Chief operating officer, North Atlantic Operations and Asian Refineries


So how does Kevin think we can ensure another win next year?

“Continue to do better going forward!” he said. “We want to do better. Everybody here looks after each other, and wants to get home safe to our families.”​

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Voisey’s Bay wins the national John T. Ryan Trophy for the fifth consecutive year