Molycorp employees achieve safety benchmark
Mountain Pass, Calif., Oct. 20, 1998 -- Employees at Molycorp, a mining company in eastern San Bernardino County, have worked for more than 1,000 days without a lost-time accident, an exceptional accomplishment in that industry.
That achievement was recognized today by the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors in a resolution congratulating Molycorp's Mountain Pass employees on reaching that safety milestone. The resolution was presented by Supervisor Kathy Davis.
"Working for 1,000 days without an accident that requires time from work is rare in the mining industry," said Allen Randle, General Manager of Molycorp's Mountain Pass operations of the benchmark achieved Oct. 9. "I can't recall another facility where I have worked in the last 30 years accomplishing this milestone."
Bill Wilson of the San Bernardino office of Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), U.S. Department of Labor, said he was not aware of another major mine in the area working 1,000 continuous days without a lost time accident. Though it may have occurred on a national level, operating a mine for almost three years without a lost time accident is difficult to attain, he said.
"It is an unusual achievement level and most commendable. It takes a very special effort," Wilson said. "It is a singular event when considered on a national level among the 14,000 mining operations throughout the country."
"There is not a better way for our employees to show their team effort and determination," Randle said. "It is an incredible achievement."
Molycorp has received safety awards for five of the last seven years from the California Mining Association. The company also has been recognized for its safety accomplishments by the National Safety Council and MSHA.
The California Mining Association makes its annual awards on the basis of overall performance, which includes disabling injuries resulting in time lost from work, plus any other serious injuries, as well as less severe safety incidents.
Molycorp's Director of Safety, Andy Manzanares, said the safety of employees is a company priority implemented through a highly structured program that has been developed over almost 20 years.
He believes the accomplishment of working for 1,000 days without a lost time accident is the result of a comprehensive approach which includes attention to safety in all aspects of work. This attention extends to employee training, selection of proper tools for the job and includes management's leadership and company commitment.
"No matter what the job, our safety department has made the employee part of the process," Randle said. "Keeping people sensitized to safety is an art, a science and a discipline," Manzanares explained. "Every supervisor is his or her own safety manager. Management has to be committed."
Molycorp's safety program does not stop at the plant perimeter. Off the job safety is part of the training process.
"An employee who has been injured at home is not at his or her best," Manzanares said. "The welfare of our employees is important both on and off the job."
"We also think it is important for the whole family to be acquainted with safety culture. It benefits everybody -- on the job or off."
Updated: October 1998