The underground operation at Cortez in Nevada has achieved a significant safety milestone: one year with zero lost time injuries, zero medical treatment injuries, and zero fatalities—also known as triple zero.
"We did not incur a single injury, not even a minor one," says Henri Gonin, Manager of Mine Operations at Cortez underground. "Not only was it a very safe year, it was also the most productive year in the history of the Cortez underground."
"We have an empowered team that embodies Barrick’s values every day. Our people own our safety standards; they comply and perform safely because they want to, not because they have to."
Going triple zero for a full year is a big achievement for a large operation like Cortez underground, with a workforce of 320 people. At the core of this achievement, Gonin says, is the effort of each individual at Cortez underground to maintain a safe and healthy workplace. This is a commitment that has grown stronger over the years.
"There is no specific event that sparked this achievement, it’s something that has happened over time," says John McCurry, Operations Superintendent at Cortez underground. "Barrick opened the mine with strong safety standards, so we’ve been able to build on that foundation."
The high level of communication between management and all employees also played an important role in reaching this milestone, says Don Dwyer, Maintenance Superintendent at Cortez. Site leaders make themselves available across all areas of the operation to ensure employees can reach them whenever they have a question. A good example of the relationship that exists between management and the rest of the Cortez underground team is the celebration that took place to mark the achievement.
"The management team cooked food for employees as a token of appreciation for their efforts," Gonin says. "We had a two-day steak barbecue to ensure everyone could participate."
Now that the mine has been able to maintain a triple-zero standing for a full year, Gonin says the focus is continuing to uphold the operation’s safety culture.
"I’m extremely proud to be a member of this team, and I know we’re not just going to sit back," he says. "We don’t relax, because we know that every shift, every day we have at the mine is our next first opportunity to be safe."