Northshore Mining Earns Safety Award

Updated: 02/27/2014 8:31 PM
Created: 02/27/2014 11:32 AM

Mining can be a dangerous business. But safety is a priority at the mines. And one mine in particular has an outstanding commitment to safety.

Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt has earned the Presidents Safety Award, for the 12th time since parent company Cliffs Natural Resources began it in 1998. It's given out for the best safety performance.

We met up with Northshore employees at Silver Bay, to find out what makes safety such a part of their lives.

Rob Illikainen, a maintenance technician, said, "Nobody wants to see co-workers get hurt, and nobody wants to get hurt. When I first started here, older people watched out for the younger people. And that just seems to carry over. Everybody really watches out for eachother."

Marc Davey, an operations technician, agreed. "Whether it's work, rest or play, it's about safety. It's not just at work," he said. "We also will stop any job we're working on, if we feel something is un-safe."

The general manager of Northshore, Ed LaTendresse, said he's very proud of the employees. 

"There's definitely a different sense of ownership, a lot of our history is being self-directed," he said.

He noted that federal mine safety regulations have focused recently on guarding, which is put up around moving equipment. "We have to protect employees from moving parts on shafts and motors and things like that. We've spent 3-4 years really studying what needs to be guarded," he explained.

Employees said they don't think about the Presidents Award, but winning it is a bonus.

Northshore also won a federal mine safety award, for their safety record in 2007.

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