Sherritt’s strategic objective is to build an interdependent safety culture and eliminate fatal risks. In 2015, Sherritt commissioned independent external assessments of the safety culture at each operating site.
The assessments provided valuable insights into factors that contribute to the safety culture at each site: personal commitments to safety, mutual respect among employees, organizational pride and history, accountability for safety at the line-management level, constructive leadership interactions in the field, and control of critical risks. A key learning was that leaders are critical to establishing the culture and behavioural expectations for safety.
In 2020, all sites continued to refine their safety culture action plans and visible felt leadership programs to move towards an interdependent safety culture. Updates included the setting of ambitious targets for leaders to be present in work areas more often, in order to role-model safety behaviours, improve the quality of interactions, and use the data garnered from the interactions to make improvements. The action plans also focused on addressing significant potential incidents, strengthening life safety rules and improving the use of hazard assessment tools.
Leadership interactions and communications have assisted in reinforcing the need for performing safe work and adhering to the life safety rules. In 2020, disciplinary measures related to the life safety rules were applied on two occasions.
The COVID-19 pandemic also introduced an opportunity for the visible felt leadership approach to address COVID-19 controls and behaviours. However, due to COVID-19 travel and site access restrictions, the independent safety culture assessments planned for 2020 were postponed until 2021.