Graymont is a leading provider of limestone and lime-based materials in America’s north-east region. Its Pleasant Gap plant is in Pennsylvania’s State College area and boasts the region’s most advanced lime production facility.

Graymont maintenance superintendent Jeff Hanlon took some time out of his busy schedule for a quick discussion on mining safety as part of our ongoing series in association with Carroll Technologies.

In your opinion, what have been the most significant improvements in industrial health and safety?

Companies applying new safety standards. For us, it would be those for working in confined spaces.

Going forward, what new developments could make the workplace safer in the future?

Education for supervisors on behavioural-based discussions and having the courage to address problems, and developing them in a way that they can be effective at addressing problems. Also, increasing efficiency.

Mines are arguably safer now than they have ever been but there is always room for improvement, what are the new threats?

There can be a lot of pressure. That becomes a challenge, because people feel they need to work differently than they normally would to keep up with sales. It can be a challenge to keep up the positive energy. We do that well. We have a tracker for behaviour-based discussions to make sure people are having them. And home-truths, you know. We have objectives for everybody to have a certain amount of behaviour-based discussion.

There have been huge advances in underground communications, air monitoring, proximity devices and self-rescuers in recent years.  To what extent have you adopted them and what are you plans in this regard?

We have self-rescuers here that people carry on their person.

As safety equipment becomes more expensive, how easy do you find it to access on-site repair and service support?

We don’t have that challenge here. There isn’t really a cost issue in getting the right safety equipment on site. So, we just make sure it’s the right thing and do our best to get it.

What are your most important areas for investment?

Automation. The quality in batch has improved. It has allowed us to provide the customer with what they need when they need it.