Trapper Mine hits milestone

Employees have worked 1 million hours without lost-time accident


Ray DuBois used to wake up in the middle of the night each time he heard a siren.

He worried one of his employees had been injured.

But now, the president and general manager of Trapper Mining does not wake up to late-night ambulance sounds.

"I know the guys out here are working safely," DuBois said.

On Tuesday, Trapper Mine workers celebrated a milestone in the company's history -- 1 million man hours worked without a lost-time accident. The mine hit 1 million hours July 9.

In recognition, Trapper's board of directors has awarded each of the mine's 170 employees with a $125 bonus -- a $21,250 total payout.

The last lost-time accident occurred April 21, 2003, when an employee suffered a minor knee injury, DuBois said.

He said the mine will reach another landmark in September, when it breaks the mine's record for man hours worked without a lost-time accident.

"You notice I say 'will,' not 'if,' because that's the way the workers are speaking here," DuBois said.

Workers are striving to qualify for the Sentinels in Safety award, which the mine won in 1993.

The award, co-sponsored by the National Mining Association and U.S. Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration, is given to mines that meet exceptional safety standards.

To qualify this year, Trapper Mine must have an incident rate lower than the national average and no reportable injuries -- even minor ones -- during the year. So far, the mine has no reportable injuries this year, DuBois said.

He said he looks forward to qualifying for the award and that he's pleased with his employees' attitudes about safety.

"It just makes me proud to work with a group of employees who can do their jobs so productively and yet so safely," DuBois said.

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