The Doe Run Company’s (Doe Run) Brushy Creek Mill near Boss, Missouri, recently surpassed 10 years with no lost-time incidents – a significant milestone celebrated by all 23 individuals who work in the mill and contributed to the safety record.
“Our Brushy Creek Mill crew are truly experts in their field, and their tenure has helped them operate safely and train new crew members to do the same,” said Joe Neumann, mill superintendent at Brushy Creek. “I’m proud to be a part of this impressive group.”
One of Doe Run’s top priorities is employee health and safety, and each year, employees complete more than 16,500 hours of health and safety training. The company and its employees have built a culture where co-workers watch out for one another and are committed to programs that foster workplace safety.
Neumann attributes daily safety meetings to much of Brushy Creek’s success. “Each crew works together to find the safe way to get the job done. We begin our work shifts and meetings with a safety tip to keep safety top of mind. It helps if the whole crew fully thinks through a task before their work begins and talks about the potential risks of a job, so we can create a plan to overcome any potential issues,” he said. “This gives the individual members of the crew a chance to share experiences and advice as to how to do the job right and in a safe way.”
Another factor contributing to Brushy Creek’s decade of safety is the tenure of the employees. With 23 people employed at Brushy Creek Mill, the average tenure is more than 10 years, and the most experienced employee, Stanley Wallen, has spent 30 years working at the mill.
The milling process at Brushy Creek involves skilled employees operating a variety of heavy mechanical equipment to break down rock ore into mineral concentrates. At the mill, ore that has been extracted from Doe Run’s mines is ground until it becomes the consistency of sugar. Then employees use a flotation process that separates the lead, zinc and copper minerals from the host rock, producing lead, zinc and copper concentrates, which are sold globally.
The mining industry marked its safest year ever in 2016, according to the National Mining Industry. Employee safety programs contribute to this record, and many mining companies, including Doe Run, participate in an industrywide initiative called CORESafety, to identify safety improvement opportunities and involve employees in developing possible solutions to address them.