TUBA, Benguet – Stressing that a leader always endorses safety measures, Philex Mining Corp. CEO & President Eulalio Austin, Jr. challenged the company managers and supervisors to “reinvent the wheel” in thinking and defining strategies toward attaining the goal of zero-fatality in the workplace while achieving improved productivity.
“Safety is the advocacy of a leader,” he said Tuesday at a company’s safety summit held at the Smith Hall of its gold-and-copper operations in this town’s Sitio Padcal, Brgy. Camp 3. “In attaining ambitions, we must not give up. … Start rethinking and redefining our strategies, how to use our data to hack our culture of responsibility. … We need to reinvent the wheel.”
Austin was speaking to Philex Mining’s 93 managers and supervisors—assigned in Padcal and at the head office in Metro Manila’s Mandaluyong City—whom he challenged to question the status quo, as “something that runs is already obsolete,” and that they should stand out with convictions and take part in “participative discussions.”
Dubbed “2017 First Safety Summit Program,” the Jan. 31 event’s guest speaker was Carla Calimbas, VP and head of corporate health, safety and security at Holcim Philippines, Inc., who reminded her audience that “compliance to safety is a product of collective mindfulness,” that it means everybody caring for everybody’s well-being in the workplace.
“Philex is blessed because its top officials have embraced the implementation of safety measures,” she stressed. Taking note of the event’s theme—“Driving Safety Compliance”—Calimbas adds: “All employees must abide by this, and leaders must have the habit of giving importance to safety. Safety is compliance reinforced with care.”
Crispin Mallare, Jr., a planner at the Mill Division, invokes a sense of obligation toward attaining safety that an individual puts upon himself, over and above any regulations set in a given environment. “We cannot regulate personal responsibility and pride,” he stressed. “That is something that has to come from within each individual.”
He said this kind of attitude—coupled with being aggressive and having the ability to learn fast on the job and from others, as well as sharing one’s knowledge with coworkers—has made working relationships more harmonious in many environments, and has also produced new ideas and improved processes on how to deal with the various tasks at hand.
In his division, for instance, there are group sessions called “Safety Huddle,” where a group of six to eight employees convenes regularly, so that its members may share with each other their experiences with regard to safety in their respective jobs. Each group is composed of new and experienced workers, so that the former may learn faster from the latter, and they can all identify any problems that may hinder the fulfillment of a zero-fatality goal.
“We believe that with this initiative, most of the recurring incidences will be limited and, eventually, be totally eliminated from our workplace,” Mallare emphasized. “The commitment of each individual is critical to the success of our Safety Huddle, which can be the starting point of devoting ourselves to embracing the habit of safety and excellence.”
The safety summit had three main topics, namely, safety training and behavior, effective communication (since many workplace accidents happened over the lack of better communications between and among workers), and the appropriateness of PPE or personal protective equipment.
“We are here to talk about high-level safety issues and concerns, so please share any brilliant ideas that you may have, and may we all learn from these,” Geraldine Ateo-an, Philex Mining’s division manager for Internal Audit, said at the start of the program.
There were committees that presented their assigned topics through simulated work conditions, after which each group submitted its synthesis of the proposed ideas, a six-month action plan, and a re-affirmation of its commitment toward the goal of zero-fatality.
Manuel Agcaoili, SVP at Philex Mining and resident manager of Padcal, said what has been agreed upon in the summit must be followed up on, stressing there should be “a consistency of our safety standards.”