Wyodak Coal Mine Reaches Exceptional Safety Milestone

(Wyodak Resources, September 9) – Safety is a constant concern in an industry where haul-trucks the size of two-story houses rumble over rough terrain among men and women committed to operating heavy machinery.

That image adds perspective to just how impressive is the safety record – “no lost time” injuries for six years and counting – recently achieved by employees at the Wyodak Mine, a Black Hills Corp. subsidiary.

The 70 men and women who work at the open-pit mine near Gillette reached that noteworthy milestone on Wednesday, Aug.  26.

“We take great pride in our safety record and consider zero incidents the only acceptable result of our efforts to create an atmosphere where safety isn’t a statistic, but a way of life,” said Mark Lux, vice president and general manager of Power Delivery for Black Hills Corp.

Lux credited the mine’s safety record to a grass-roots effort among employees who look out for one another, hold each other accountable for working safely and exemplify safety-based attitudes and behaviors.

A vigorous focus on safety that includes heightened accountability, constant reminders, extensive training and a team approach have yielded positive results throughout the corporation of 2,000-plus employees.

“We listen to our employees and take the appropriate actions when they voice safety concerns and share ideas for ways to work more safely,” Lux said. “We emphasize the importance of leading by example.”

Aspects of Wyodak Mine’s safety program include safety observations by all personnel, work-area audits by trained safety professionals, , “near miss” reporting and hiring personnel who already share the dedication to safety held by current employees.

Wyodak Mine employees have earned a number of distinguished safety awards:

  • The Wyoming State Mine Inspector recognized Wyodak Mine employees for no lost-time accidents in 2010 – 2014.
  • The Mine Safety and Health Administration awarded Wyodak with a Certificate of Achievement in Safety for no lost workdays in 2014.
  • For two consecutive years, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s Small Mine Safety Award was presented to Wyodak Mine employees at the Wyoming Workforce Safety Summit.