Health and Safety

Health and Safety

Why is health and safety important?

Mining, by its nature, has potential hazards that must be carefully managed. On a daily basis, mine workers may be engaged in drilling and blasting rock, operating heavy machinery, using explosives and chemicals, working with high voltage electricity, ventilating gases, working at heights, working with high temperature materials as well as other complex and potentially dangerous tasks. Pan American Silver is deeply committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of our employees, contractors, suppliers, and community partners where we operate. Operating safely is a moral imperative. We believe that operating safe mines and building a culture of safety are directly related to our operational success and the ability to create long-term value for COIs and society.

Topic Definition Feedback from COIs How we’re responding
Health and Safety Protecting the health, safety and well-being of our employees, contractors Our workers and communities want safe working conditions We deploy a robust safety program, which includes process and training to improve safety performance.

Potential Risks and Impacts

  • Worker accidents and lost work time
  • Loss of social acceptance
  • Impact on employee morale

Related SDGs

Our Approach

Safety is always a priority for our Company. We are continually striving to prevent workplace injuries through improved training, technology, and innovation.

Policy:
Health and Safety Policy – Our policy sets out our commitments and the specific actions required to meet our health and safety objectives.

Programs and Initiatives:
We are assessing our safety procedures against the TSM program, which outlines specific commitments to help identify hazards and reduce risk, with zero harm being the primary goal at all facilities.

The Pan American Silver Safety Pledge and Cardinal Rules set our fundamental expectations and rules for safety at sites.

Our Serious Incident Reduction Initiative focuses on preventing serious incidents and fatalities through training and site-specific action plans.

Our health and safety supervisor training program provides leadership and technical training for front-line supervisors.

Monitoring:
Safety audits – Each mine is audited annually, on a continually rotating schedule, by a corporate safety department team lead with assistance from site personnel. Areas of identified high priority are elevated to the Chief Operating Officer for immediate action.

Accountability:
The Senior Vice President, Technical Services & Process Optimization oversees safety in the organization.

A senior management safety committee, along with the Director of Safety, and the Safety Coordinator implements the Health and Safety Policy and sets annual safety targets.

The Management Safety Committee deploys company-wide initiatives identified through our risk assessment process, our safety audit programs, and our incident investigations.

Our Performance

Safety performance
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Our safety performance has seen strong improvements in recent years, as a direct result of being a targeted goal. 2016 was the best safety performance in our Company’s history, with the lowest lost time injury frequency and lowest total number of lost time injuries recorded. The most common incidents resulting in lost time injuries in our mines include: operating machinery, haulage, rock fall, slips, and falls.

In 2017, however, we failed to meet our targets. Zero fatal incidents is our long-standing goal, and we were very saddened to experience two fatalities in 2017. Both incidents were thoroughly investigated, and preventative action was taken to eliminate similar incidents in the future. For severe incidents, we conduct comprehensive investigations, and review findings and make recommendations. These are reviewed at all levels, including at the Board’s Health, Safety, Environment and Communities Committee.

* Lost Time Injury Frequency (LTIF) is calculated as the number of lost time injuries, including fatalities, in the exposure period multiplied by 1 million hours and divided by the total number of hours worked in that period.
** Lost Time Injury Severity (LTIS) is a measurement of the seriousness of injuries and is calculated as the number of workdays lost due to lost time injuries multiplied by 1 million and divided by the total exposure hours. We count 6,000 lost workdays in the event of a fatal accident.

*ICMM is the overall average of the member companies of the International Council on Mining & Metals
**Total recordable injury frequency rate is calculated per 1 million exposure hours and in the case of Pan American includes lost time and medical aid injuries.

Despite not meeting our targets, our safety performance continues to be in line with industry performance. Further, we are particularly proud of several of our safety achievements in 2017:

  • Peru – We saw a significant reduction in severe accidents in Peru through introduction of mechanization at mines and improved safety systems, including the Pan American Silver Safety Pledge and Cardinal Rules. Strong mine-level leadership has been setting an example for workers to follow.
  • Dolores – At the end of 2017, the Dolores team had successfully worked over 9.3 million hours without an LTI.

Serious Incident Reduction Initiative
The mining industry has significantly reduced overall injury rates, but when injuries do occur, they tend to be serious. Consequently, we are continually working to prevent injuries. In 2016, we expanded our extensive training program, focusing on two aspects of our Serious Incident Reduction Initiative – culture and supervisory training.

To reinforce a culture of safety, we implemented our Pan American Silver Safety Pledge and Cardinal Rules throughout the organization and incorporated them into our induction training and safety talks. Our objective is for everyone to understand that safety is a shared responsibility.

We are strengthening our front-line supervisory capacity by providing employees with the technical and leadership skills to change behaviour and train others to always put safety first. By the end of 2017, nearly all of our front-line supervisors had been trained in the Phase 1 supervisory training program. We have also completed our “train the trainers” program at each of our operating mines.

Employee training and development
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In 2017, we completed over 600,000 hours of training at our sites.

Safety Training Hours in 2017

Safety Training Type PAS Total Hours
General Safety 372,357
Mining Induction 134,347
Geotechnical 9,463
Formal Safety Meetings 96,629
Mine Rescue 21,687

Innovation

The industry is continually evolving thanks to new research and innovation, and we are always looking at new equipment and technology to evaluate how those may help improve our mine safety. Adopting mechanization – such as replacing hand held drills with mechanized equipment – means our workers are exposed to fewer hazards, and this helps keep our people safe.

Next Steps

We are setting goals to improve the LTIF and LTIS safety metrics and eliminate fatal or debilitating incidents.

GRI 102-44, 102-15, 403-2, 404-1, 403-2