HCC Mining & Demolition receives the John T. Ryan Safety Award
July 8, 2021, 8:55 am
On June 1, 2021, during Saskatchewan Mining Week, HCC Mining and Demolition, a Saskatchewan company with strong local connections, was presented the nationally recognized John T. Ryan Special Award for its notable achievement in safe mining. HCC has a strong presence at Nutrien’s Rocanville Potash Mine, where it has been executing large underground projects for over a decade. HCC has surpassed 500,000 personnel hours worked, spanning a period of four years, without a reportable injury, defined as an injury requiring medical attention that prevents a worker from returning to work the day following the injury, or any full day after that.
History of the award can be traced back to a 1912 West Virginia coal mine explosion that took 80 miners’ lives. The horrific tragedy led to the creation of Mine Safety Appliances Company (MSA), when mine engineer and founder John T. Ryan Sr. declared, “If I could spend my life doing what I can to lessen the likelihood of the occurrence of such terrible disasters, I shall feel in the end that my life had been well spent.” In 1941, the Canadian mining industry was making every effort to produce metals and minerals for war supplies, with priority on optimizing safe production, leading MSA to donate a prestigious trophy to the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum. This trophy recognized notable achievement in the industry, with the goal of eliminating the suffering of miners and their families due to work injuries. The first trophy, named after MSA’s founder, was awarded to the Chesterville Mine near Virginiatown, Ontario. Additional trophies have since been established nationally and regionally for coal, metal and select (including potash) mines. This year, Westmoreland Coal’s Poplar River Mine near Coronach won the National Trophy for coal mines and Cameco’s Cigar Lake Mine in northern Saskatchewan won the Regional Trophy for metal mines. Mosaic’s Esterhazy K1 mine and Nutrien’s Rocanville mine both have won the National Trophy for select mines in the past.
In 1980, at the discretion of the Trophy Committee, MSA began giving Special Awards to companies which were judged to have made notable achievements in safe production but were not eligible for one of the nine annual national and regional trophies. HCC is the only company in Canada to receive this award in the past year.
When Gary Sambrook, HCC’s Safety Advisor, accepted the award, he said, “Our supervisors have helped us meet the challenges by being committed to behaviour-based techniques which help our frontline workers recognize and eliminate hazards from their workday. They line up their crews according to the skill sets needed for the job tasks, so that risks are identified, and controls can be put in place. This has really moved our program in the right direction.”
Brennan Miller, HCC’s Chief Operating Officer, who is originally from Moosomin, noted, “We’re very proud to have won this prestigious award. It is an incredible achievement, especially when we’ve worked at ten different mines in Saskatchewan during those four years. Despite this, we’re also aware that we’re not perfect and that there is always room to improve our safety culture and ensure processes evolve to keep our people safe. It’s a people first business and these achievements can only occur with buy-in at all levels of the company and with our customers. We’re also very proud of the contribution that our people working locally have made, considering the origins of the company as Xtreme Mining and Demolition near Esterhazy, and with the number of people that we hire from the area around Rocanville.”
HCC is headquartered in Saskatoon, is partially owned by Mistawasis Nêhiyawak through its business arm, Misty Ventures, Inc. HCC currently has 150 employees mostly working throughout Saskatchewan.