MINER MAG Q2 2022 MOBILE - Page 10

Worker Safety Vital to Maintaining Company ’ s Community Acceptance

Stefan O ’ Neal spends his workdays surrounded by molten metal , constantly moving heavy machinery and high-voltage electrical equipment .

In such an unforgiving environment , vigilance and strict adherence to safety protocols are vital , said O ’ Neal , Supervisor- Smelter Operations in Miami .

The first rule is never turn your back on molten metal , which is kept at about 2,200 degrees .

Equally important is the company directive that any worker who believes unsafe working conditions exist not only has the ability to stop the work immediately but also the obligation to do so .

Stefan O ’ Neal , Supervisor-Smelter Operations , knows constant vigilance is key to keeping people safe at the Miami smelter .

Safety procedures undergo constant review and rigidly are adhered to . If a safety incident occurs , production stops until work can resume safely .

“ You can never be complacent in this work environment ,” O ’ Neal said . “ There ’ s always something out there that can hurt you if you let your guard down . The most important aspect of my job is making sure that my employees are conducting their jobs safely and efficiently because we all have something to go home to .”

By working safely , O ’ Neal is helping Freeport-McMoRan meet its commitments as a responsible copper producer by adhering to the highest environmental , social and governance ( ESG ) standards . At Freeport , these standards are recognized as responsible production .

More of a broad concept than a defined practice , ESG is set of goals , policies and metrics companies use to demonstrate they operate in an environmentally and socially responsible manner .

Worker safety is a core value at Freeport . It is part of Freeport ’ s long-standing commitment to empowering people and building resilient communities , one of its three sustainability pillars .


Mining involves many hazardous environments . Haul trucks the size of houses , high-voltage equipment , explosives and chemicals are all integral to mining operations .

Those hazards are mitigated by constant awareness , following procedures and proper training , said Stacey Koon , Vice President-Corporate Health and Safety .

Maintaining a safe work environment is every employee ’ s obligation , she said .

“ Safety is not a separate thing that you do ,” Koon said . “ You don ’ t have your job and have safety procedures . Safety procedures are part of your job .”

Beyond the company ’ s moral and legal obligations to its employees , maintaining a safe work environment also is good business , Koon said . Work cannot occur unless it is safe to do so .

“ Safety has to be foundational to your culture ,” Koon said . “ It ’ s a mindset that ’ s just part of the way we run our business . You can ’ t produce copper if your people aren ’ t safe . We ’ ve always partnered safety and production . We call it Safe Production because we don ’ t believe they can ever exist separately .”

That sentiment is echoed at the mine sites , where there is an understanding that a safe environment is vital to operational efficiency , said Sohrab Salami , Health and Safety Lead-Morenci .

Safety incidents can result in shutdowns to determine the cause and ensure hazards are remedied , especially if someone is injured . Staying safety-focused prevents those sorts of operational disruptions .

“ Safety goes right along with production ,” Salami said . “ If we have people run equipment efficiently and safely , we can keep performing in terms of tonnage . We don ’ t have to stop traffic to address safety issues . Nothing can be made unless safety comes first .”

Maintaining safe driving conditions at the Morenci mine is critical to meeting production goals , according to Sohrab Salami , Health and Safety Lead-Morenci .