By Shane Lasley
February 1, 2019 - Usibelli Coal Mine Jan. 30 surpassed two years of operations without a single lost time accident, a job-related injury that results in time away from work. Usibelli's safety program – Everyday Safety-At Work. At Home. At Play. – combined with the CORE Safety framework of the National Mining Association lays the foundation to make safety a core value for all mine employees.
"The number one priority at UCM is safety – every day, and in everything we do," said Usibelli Coal Mine President and CEO Joe Usibelli Jr. "We have 98 employees who have worked safely for more than 372,000 hours. That's a remarkable achievement, and I am very proud of our team."
Despite large equipment, inclement weather and other hazards inherent to mining, the 100-person workforce at Usibelli Coal Mine have exceeded two years without a lost time accident, a major achievement in any profession.
In addition to keeping employees safe on the job, Usibelli promotes a safety culture that extends beyond the workplace.
"Our concern for employee health, safety and welfare goes beyond our mining operations. If someone gets hurt at home, on the road, or participating in a recreational activity, we feel it at the mine and in the community too," said Usibelli.
The Usibelli Mine located near the town of Healy in Alaska's Interior operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with heavy equipment in a region of the state known for its frigid winter temperatures.
"When you consider the harsh environment that our miners operate in – wind, rain, snow, and 40 below (Fahrenheit) – our employees have to be extremely diligent to work safely," said Matt Nelson, human resources and safety director, Usibelli Coal Mine.
In an effort to prevent injuries, the coal mine responds to safety suggestions through the use of hazard recognition cards, holds regular safety meetings and trainings, promotes safe practices throughout all areas of the mine site and encourages employees to maintain clean and organized workspaces.
The mine's all-time safety record was set in 2006 at 797 days without a lost time accident.
"We've set our sights on surpassing that number, because there is no higher priority than protecting our employees and their families," Usibelli said.