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False May 08 www. bus- ex. com 115 CementationCanada Cementation’s president Roy Slack tells Jenn Monroe why zero is the most important number when it comes to safety Targetzero

False Cementation is so committed to changing its industry that it has included this in its vision statement. For president and director Roy Slack, “ to fundamentally change the way mine contracting is carried out, for the benefit of all stakeholders” centers directly on improving safety. “ We want to eliminate injuries in our industry,” Slack said. “ Our ultimate goal is zero injuries in our business. We’re not there yet, but we do have the best record in the industry.” Two years ago the company decided to take a serious look at how it did business, especially in terms of safety. When the system and the processes seemed to be in order, Cementation turned to its employees for insight. “ We built a ‘ bottom up’ safety program,” Slack explained, “ to get much more input from workers.” Employee suggestions are just part of the safety equation. Belief plays a vital role in meeting the zero injury goal as well. “ Our employees believe we are committed to safety,” Slack said. “ It is our actions that demonstrate our commitment. We will ‘ stop and correct’ even if it costs money. “ More and more people believe zero is possible,” he continued, and cited the story of the four- minute mile. “ Once one man did it, others did it,” he said. “ A big part in getting there is believing it’s achievable.” Another facet of Cementation’s safety innovation was a change in the responsibilities of the safety group at its headquarters. In years past this group consisted of inspectors and was tasked with policing. Today the group functions as a resource team for the employees on the ground. “ They support the people on the front lines,” Slack explained. “ That shift was not an easy thing for people to do.” While change can be difficult at first, Cementation’s dedication to safety has earned an innovation award for its proactive ideas. “ We are broadening the definition of innovation,” Slack said. “ It’s not just technological innovation.” Being people- focused has helped to create a culture that values partnerships and teamwork. This extends to client relationships, too. “ We coach our people on our ‘ best for project philosophy,’” Slack said. “ We are looking to secure long term relationships, not short term gains.” Cementation Canada is one of Canada’s largest mining contractors and provides a range of services— from engineering and design to shaft sinking and mine development— to many major mining companies in North America. Its client list includes the Goldcorp gold mine in Ontario; the Diavik diamond mine, owned by Rio Tinto and Aber resources in the Northwest Territories; Resolution Copper in Arizona; the Brunswick zinc mine in Bathurst, New Brunswick, in the Canadian Maritimes; and the Afton copper mine in British Columbia. Top clients include Xstrata Nickel ( formerly Falconbridge), CVRD Inco, and Rio Tinto. This list also marks another way Cementation Canada is making changes in the industry. “ There is a history of battle between owners and contractors, not just in mining but in many industries,” Slack said. “ We work hard to eliminate that and focus on building relationships with owners.” On most projects, Cementation Canada is among a number of other contractors. “ We have to look at the whole project,” Slack said. “ That means different things on different projects.” With long- term clients, Cementation often turns to what it has learned from previous projects as a starting point for improvement. “ We really try to do better on each project,” Slack said. “ As we gain a client’s trust and respect, they’re prepared to listen to us if we have a concern. We work as a partner, not just a contractor, and as the relationship grows stronger, we have more input in how things are done.” Of course, hiring the right people is essential to maintaining this high level of service, and that is a challenge in the mining industry, which is in the midst of a skilled labor shortage. “ It is tempting to hire everyone because of the labor shortage,” Slack admitted. But Cementation Canada knows who it is looking for. “ We look for people who have the right attitude as well as the right skills,” he continued. “ A safety attitude is something we look for, as well as the ability to work as a team.” When it finds the right employees, Cementation Canada treats them well. The company believes in promoting from within and makes every effort to keep employees involved with strategic planning. However, much of its team building 116 May 08 www. bus- ex. com