Core values

A NEW safety paradigm has emerged in the mining industry. Donna Caudill gets to the heart of the matter.
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Peabody Energy chairman and CEO Gregory Boyce.

Donna Schmidt

Peabody chief executive officer Greg Boyce has called it “a shared level of commitment that safety is our number one priority”, and the National Mining Association endorsed it as a new paradigm for US mining.

But what exactly is CORESafety?

The CORESafety initiative was the brainchild of a CEO task force led by Arch chief executive Steven Leer, and was the result of almost two years of collaboration across the industry.

Considered to be a comprehensive effort, the program is a scalable system of health and safety that can help mining achieve a 50% reduction in mining injuries – and eliminating fatalities entirely – within five years, or 0:50:5.

“[Safety is] an element of who and what we are,” Leer said.

“It’s a core value.”

It is called a core because the core of organizations – their effective leadership – ultimately determine the importance of safety and health management.

They not only oversee the effort as a whole, but also help define and drive the culture by ensuring resources are available and set an example through their own personal behavior.

They also are tasked with communicating the company’s commitment to a strong personal safety and health vision while holding individuals accountable for the responsibilities of proper safety and health.

The framework of CORESafety is three-pronged – leadership, management and assurance – managed by the improvement principles of planning, doing, checking and acting.

Across 20 modules, the program will set expectations of performance, which must be met to make steady progress toward the ultimate 0:50:5 goal.

The NMA announced its formal endorsement of CORESafety in late March following a meeting of the coal advocacy group’s board of directors.

“Today [March 30] is an important day for US mining,” NMA board chairman and Peabody CEO Gregory Boyce said.

“CORESafety embodies our commitment to the safety and health of our employees. I am gratified companies that directly employ more than 100,000 Americans are participating in CORESafety, even at this early date.”

Group vice chairman and Stillwater Mining CEO and chairman Frank McAllister added: “CORESafety is an industry essential, first calling upon us to do our best, then providing us with the tools to continuously improve safety and health performance at US mining.”

The initiative has picked up significant steam since its introduction; as of press time CORESafety’s participating companies were nearing three dozen, with many of them in coal. Some coal-focused producers working towards a safer tomorrow are Alpha Natural Resources, Arch Coal, Consol Energy, Cliffs Natural Resources, Patriot Coal, Peabody, Cloud Peak Energy and PacifiCorp.

NMA president and CEO Hal Quinn said that the program’s push has been member-driven.

“Many NMA member companies are currently participating in CORESafety and will be assisting others that are just beginning their involvement,” he said.

“This is a journey we are taking together, and we look forward to the important benefits we can achieve for the entire mining community.”

More on CORESafety and getting started is available at www.coresafety.org.

This article first appeared in the June issue of Coal USA magazine.

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