Stone, Sand and Gravel Review - July/August 2011 - (Page 31)

Investing in Safety Generates Positive ROI by Zach Knoop Safety Director, Knife River Corporation Member, NSSGA Safety Committee PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT indicative of future results. This is what prospective investors are told when looking to make an investment in the stock market. The novice investor often disregards this important statement and invests his or her money solely based on the past performance of a stock or fund. He or she fails to do any homework first to learn about the fundamentals of the security in which he or she is investing. Cash flows and market share may be decreasing, or new technology from a competitor may harm a corporation’s ability to grow. This would be valuable information to know prior to making an investment. This isn’t an article on investing in the stock market; it’s about safety. Knife River Corporation, a U.S. based construction materials and services company headquartered in Bismarck, N.D., with operations in 13 states, is the ninth-largest U.S. aggregate producer. Over the past 11 years, Knife River has achieved year-over-year injury and illness rate reductions – a record for which all of its employees are proud. If you were going to invest in this company based only on its past safety performance, you might think it would be a sure bet going forward. But you are not a novice investor. You are going to do your homework and learn about the fundamentals of this company. So you pick up the prospectus on Knife River to learn more about how the company manages safety. The prospectus addresses safety in terms of compliance, business value and culture. Compliance Knife River understands the importance of having safety and health regulations and enforcing those regulations. The company continually strives to achieve compliance with all safety and health regulations. Knife River, like most companies within the aggregates industry, works very closely with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration to ensure its miners have a safe and healthy work environment. Since 2007, Knife River’s aggregate operations have experienced a 74 percent decrease in their recordable incidence rate, finishing 2010 with an all-time low of 0.73. Despite MSHA’s stepped-up aggressive enforcement approach, Knife River’s miners still achieved 37 zero-citation inspections in 2010, down from 71 in 2008, and have averaged a low of 1.7 citations per inspection over the past four years. Knife River sees compliance with federal mine safety and health standards as a two-way street. MSHA and its inspectors are responsible for holding mine operators accountable for compliance with the standards; operators need to hold MSHA and the inspectors accountable for writing valid citations and creating policy that makes sense. Can it be a challenge to hold MSHA accountable? Absolutely. But it can be done. Knife River has invested considerable time and effort in training its miners, mine foreman and managers on knowing and understanding the law. This has resulted in safer operations because everyone knows what the standards call for, and it has given miners confidence in being able to effectively manage an MSHA inspection because they feel they know the law as well as the inspector who is conducting the inspection. Knife River goes into every inspection expecting zero citations. Knife River President and CEO Bill Schneider (R) often visits operations to talk to managers and employees about safety, demonstrating visible commitment. When Knife River is found to be out of compliance with a safety or health standard, the company accepts the citation and corrects the noted deficiencies. However, when Knife River believes citations are not valid or are written incorrectly, the company’s policy is to hold inspectors – and, if needed, supervisors of the inspectors – accountable for what they write. Knife River makes every attempt to work with appropriate MSHA personnel when handling situations, and has even flown to MSHA’s headquarters in Arlington, Va., to address concerns. The company wants to be treated fairly and consistently, and ensure that MSHA’s enforcement addresses real hazards. Knife River currently is challenging MSHA’s recent enforcement initiative that requires guardrails on scales that are more than 16 inches off the ground. Knife River believes there is no hazard when such scales are equipped with adequate rub rails. This belief has been upheld by an administrative law judge in one case and has been analyzed by an STONE, SAND & GRAVEL REVIEW, www.nssga.org 31 http://www.nssga.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Stone, Sand and Gravel Review - July/August 2011

Stone, Sand and Gravel Review - July/August 2011
Events Calendar
Table of Contents
Legislative Calendar
Community Relations Is Key to Unlocking the Answers to a Successful Operation
In Pursuit of Social Responsibility
Preparing Industry’s Future Leaders at the Young Leaders’ Annual Meeting
NSSGA Is Growing Forward With Its New Grassroots Campaign
Don’t Expect Snow in Charlotte
Investing in Safety Generates Positive Roi
Rip & Share – Stay Safe During the Summer
Rip & Share Safety Handout
NSSGA@Work
Products & Services Guide Listings
Index to Advertisers
Advertiser.com

Stone, Sand and Gravel Review - July/August 2011

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