As a follow up to our previous post where we reported the good news that 2015 was the safest year for American Miners, here is a portion of an interview with Frank L. Hanagarne, Jr., the Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Office at Coeur Mining, Inc. CORESafety is the National Mining Association’s (NMA) common safety and health framework that relies on a management system approach to improve safety and health performance at mining operations.
In the interview, he is asked about his start in mining, the changes in the industry and where he believes the safety performance is going in the future. To read the interview in its entirety, click here..
NMA: Frank, how did you get involved in the mining industry to begin with?
Frank Hanagarne: It all happened about 40 years ago. I had just completed my first year of college and was looking for work for the summer. My father, who had been working in the minerals industry for about 20 years at that point, was able to help me get a job at a mine and mill facility in Southeastern Utah. It was a site that was producing uranium concentrates. With the exception of going off to college, and a very brief stint in private business, I’ve worked in mining continuously since that time.
NMA: How has the industry changed since you started your career?
Frank Hanagarne: It’s changed significantly. I started before the 1977 Mine Act was enacted. You might imagine that, at that point in time, companies engaged in the minerals industry hadn’t fully embraced all the compliance issues related to that regulatory oversight. The hazards were the same, but there was not much of a focus on those hazards.
I remember a lot of people were getting injured. I was able to work safely, and I think that’s just because of a more personal focus, but I did notice a lot of my colleagues would be injured and miss work. Good things never come out of that.
Since that time, I’ve seen companies focus on compliance and even well beyond that. Because having good safety in industry is not just about compliance, it’s about many other things.
NMA: What’s your sense of where the industry might be 10 years from now in terms of safety performance?
Frank Hanagarne: I think we’ll see the industry broaden the approach we’ve adopted, where compliance is still crucial, but also the recognition that exemplary performance requires going beyond what the law and regulations require. We need to continue to develop and embrace technology that helps our colleagues perform their work efficiently and safely. I expect the industry will continue to improve its compliance record, which has improved dramatically, but also implement additional measures like those embedded in CORESafety to improve our safety performance even further.
NMA: At Coeur, you’ve seen significant improvement in your safety performance. What do you attribute that to?
Frank Hanagarne: I think one of the key drivers was the adoption of a management system approach to health and safety performance. I joined the company when the National Mining Association’s
CORESafety health and safety management system was being developed and disseminated to the members of the organization. We compared it to the management system approaches that had been independently developed and found that it embodied the leadership and cultural philosophy we believed were critical to drive improvement in our performance. Previously I had the opportunity to develop and implement management systems for health, safety and environmental performance with another company, and I found that CORESafety encompassed the structure, intent and scope necessary to drive improvement. We began implementing CORESafety in late 2011, and that’s been a key factor contributing to the success we’ve experienced.