Increasing Mine Related Fatalities

Welcome to the first Sims 360 Health and Safety Blog Post!  

Yikes, I won’t lie, this is something new for me and certainly puts me in an uncomfortable space, Here’s the nitty gritty of it though folks, health and safety is on my mind, and I want to share it with you… and I want you to share it too! I am looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity to grow outside of my comfort zone.!  The content I want to share is truly my passion, I am elated to be able to bring my thoughts and experiences to you through this blog. 

The first topic I chose is something near and dear to me, it is also something very concerning.  The increase in mine related fatalities this year is skyrocketing, and every single one of them could have been prevented. 

I don’t know about you, but today I learned that another miner has been fatally injured. Loss of life on the job is one of the saddest realities we face.   Are you asking yourself why?  Do you have the crystal ball that can point to one or two conditions or behaviors that are causing these fatalities?  I have the conversation all the time, sadly there is no crystal ball.  

Let me ask you this; do work-related injuries & fatalities need to happen?  

NO! Injuries and fatalities on the job DO NOT NEED to happen! They are not just “happening” or the result of bade luck.  Poor common sense isn’t even to blame.  Some may say that it is the responsibility of “the company,” and it is, but there is more.   Just like a relationship, it takes all involved working together to make it successful.  Preventing fatalities takes everyone at work or home to make the day/shift successful.  

 There have been 26 mine related fatalities in 2023, as of this writing and according to the data provided on MSHA’s website. This is roughly one death every 8 days since January 1, 2023. If this trend continues for the rest of the year, 2023 will have more fatalities than any other year in the past decade! .  This should scare you; it scares me!  The graph below provides a visual representation of these alarming statistics. 

Some questions I would like you to ask yourself as we explore this trend that desperately needs to slow down: 

Why is the number of fatalities increasing?  

What’s changed?

What’s not changed?  

What can be done? Who has the responsibility for your health and safety?

For ensuring that you do not receive injury or fatality at work and in life.  

If you stated “me, I am responsible” then you are 100% correct! 

Do you act on that responsibility 100%of the time? 

Do you believe all incidents that can cause injury, illness, or damage can be prevented? 

Are you someone who says any of the following:

  • Well, that was dumb, shouldn’t have done it that way!
  • I wouldn’t have done it that way, why didn’t they ask how?
  • Anyone with common sense would know not to do that?
  • I guess they won’t try that again! 

We have all heard someone say at least one of these things.  Heck, we have all probably said one of these things ourselves! This mentality doesn’t prevent disaster though.  This, friends, THIS is where we must take accountability and shift the trend. 

I believe if we want to see change, must look at the culture within our environments at work and at home. Culture, for this purpose, is defined as the collection of values, beliefs, attitudes, behaviors, and policies that shape the regular atmosphere we are in (  Culture can be influenced by those around you, the environment, leadership, and goals.  Culture can be either negative and wreak havoc or positive and flourish.  

What is the culture you are exposed to and what is your part in that culture (work or home)?  

Let’s break it down.

  1. What are your values?
    • a person’s principles or standards of behavior; one’s judgment of what is important in life.  
  2. What are your beliefs?
    • something one accepts as true or real; a firmly held opinion or conviction.
  3. What is your attitude?
    • a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.
  4. What are your behaviors?
    • the way in which one acts or conducts oneself, especially towards others.
  5. What are the policies within your work or home culture?
    • a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by businesses or individuals. 

I wonder how many realize that their beliefs drive their behaviors which in turn drive the results that come with every decision and every action in life.   I wonder how many realize investing in education and knowledge can help drive good positive behaviors to drive the desired results. This kind of investment doesn’t have to be expensive monetarily, the internet is full of free and reputable resources.  You can also visit my blog often for content you will be better for knowing! The bottom line is this: health and safety education literally save lives. 

At the end of the day who/what can you control?  Yourself.

You can’t force or “make” anyone do anything they don’t want to do.  So, how can we influence everyone to “want” to do the right thing and make good choices throughout the day that will prevent injury or illness or even worse, death?  

How can we focus on the consequence or the outcome of an event occurring?  

How can we focus on mitigating that outcome to prevent it and eliminate it?  

If you want to take a deeper dive into culture and work on improving, please give Sims 360 Health and Safety Solutions a call, we would love to hear from you and help!  We will focus on the education and systems needed to create or enhance a total health and safety culture that will promote zero harm and serious injury fatality prevention.  

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