Sentinels of Safety Awards Remarks

Remarks of NMA President & CEO Hal Quinn at the 2012 Sentinels of Safety Awards dinner.

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Hal Quinn, president and CEO of the National Mining Association. It’s my pleasure to welcome you to the National Mining Association’s Sentinels of Safety Awards.

Let me begin by saying that personally, it is a privilege for me to preside over this evening’s awards ceremony.

NMA is proud to continue its longstanding sponsorship of the Sentinels of Safety awards. The Sentinels award created 88 years ago is this country’s oldest occupational safety award. Its longevity is a testament to the industry’s enduring commitment to the safety and health of its people.

Mining is a good business, but it’s a tough and complex one as well. It requires professionals like you to make sure it’s done right. If it’s not done right, we won’t be successful. And if we’re not successful, our country can’t succeed.

Now, I do not intend to put any additional pressure on you by pointing out your critical role to our nation’s success. But it’s just a fact. Think about it. Whether it is the coal and uranium we produce for energy, the metals, minerals and materials we supply for our infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture, technology and innovation– you are the front end of the supply chain of the essential elements for our society.

So, tonight we recognize those who get it done and, more importantly, get it done right. We say the best-of-the-best—and here is why. We are recognizing 20 mining operations and facilities that have achieved the highest level of safety performance last year. Let me put this into perspective: today there are approximately 14,000 mining operations in the U.S; of these, approximately 85 percent worked the entire year without a lost time accident; and, approximately 3,500 qualified for consideration for the Sentinels of Safety award. The 20 operations we recognize tonight preside at the top of the performance pyramid.

Notably, your achievements have taken place against the background of an industry performing better than ever before. Last year, the mining industry achieved a record for the lowest injury and fatality rates in history.

The challenge then is how we sustain continuous improvement in our safety performance. Last year, NMA launchedCORESafety– a scalable safety and health management system specifically designed for continuous improvement in safety performance at U.S. mining operations.
CORESafety is pro-active, not reactive. It’s a framework for building safety and health considerations deep within our thinking and all our actions. It analyzes and anticipates what should be done to safeguard miners with a systematic approach that identifies risks—then applies the appropriate attention, resources and measures to meet them.

If you haven’t heard about CORESafety, there’s a flyer on your chair. If you are not using a management systems approach for safety—please consider CORESafety. If you already doing so, I would still encourage you to access the CORESafety resources, perform a GAP analysis and see if it might enhance your system. Better yet, if you think your system has something to commend to CORESafety, we would welcome you sharing it with us. Either way, no matter where you are on the journey to Zero Harm, we believe CORESafety has something to offer.

Once again, congratulations to all of you. NMA is proud to recognize your achievements. But let’s remember . . .at the end of the day, safety is not a competition; rather it is a core value—a commitment—one that we must all share. So, thank you for leading the way in demonstrating how successfully acting on that commitment produces results that make us both proud and grateful.

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