QED celebrates safety milestone in Masbate

by Abe Almirol - February 23, 2022

Photo courtesy of QED

For the past six years of operations as a drilling contractor at the Masbate Gold Project (MGP), Quest Exploration Drilling (Philippines), Inc. has reached its goal of 1,000,152 safe manhours with 2,141 days without lost time injury (LTI) as of the day shift of November 12, 2021.

The team has drilled over one million meters during this period.

With an excellent commitment to safety and productive performance, QED started its RC in-pit grade control operations at the mine site in Aroroy, Masbate with a contract signed with MGP’s owner, Filminera Resources Corporation, in 2013.

QED’s achievement is the result of obeying established safety management systems and guiding principles.

In an interview with the Philippine Resources Journal, Wayne Smith, QED’s contract manager at the site, revealed detailed insights behind their safety performance.

Smith explained that the team in Masbate has been working together for the past nine years.

“Our Masbate operations is basically run by a close team. We train and grow our employee’s knowledge on safety at work and at home to prevent incidents at all times. This process starts from Day 1 of their employment with QED,” Smith said.

Describing QED’s Safety Culture

At QED, everyone understands that a safe operation comes with hard work. Having the need to create a safe work culture requires effort from all team members. Through the commitment of the management, supervisors, and site safety personnel, coaching and mentoring became an integral part of daily routine for the Masbate team.

“We have to refresh and remind employee’s all the time to continue with our safety culture to make sure we all go home safely each day from work. The same mindset applies with safety outside of work as well,” Smith explained.

D75 and D73 Drone Shot

The pandemic has extended safety protocols to the households of each member of the Masbate team. Like in the past, the management has constantly reminded employees to practice what they learned from their training when they are at home, especially during occasions like Christmas breaks where people tend to lower their guard against unsafe practices.

This part of the QED team’s “safety culture” has made dealing with COVID-19 easier. To prevent virus contamination, the movement of people from their homes to the workplace must be regulated. Getting used to safety discipline while at home contributed well to the adaptation process.

Systems-based Approach

Safety as a science is basically a system of establishing control measures. To implement such controls, the team uses a systems-based approach to manage training and to effectively run safety meetings and pre-task risk assessments. The system also includes communicating safe working procedures, inspections, and auditing processes.

“Without these systems being in place, which gives a structure to the relationship between us (as the contractor) and the client, we would not have the control measures in place to prevent accidents from occurring,” Smith said.

With over 50 people on board, QED’s Masbate team has been honed in the last nine years to face a long mine life. “Doing the things we have been taught to do” is a mantra for everyone in the QED management and workforce.

Smith observed that a key element in their success is cultivating professional honesty among each team member. Training won’t work if some people still have the tendency to cover up mistakes, he said.

“If you made a mistake and failed to report or concealed your actions, how would we fix it?” Smith often ask his team.

Maintaining an open communication line between and among members of the team allows the reporting system to smoothly flow.

On the positive side, initiatives that add value to everyday safety performance was not left out. Smith said motivations like giving commendations and rewards is also part of their organizational system.

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