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April 28, 2023

IAMGOLD’s Zero Harm® approach, a commitment to our stakeholders’ safety

April 28 marks the United Nations' World Day for Safety & Health at Work, and the first week of May in Canada is dedicated to mental health via the Canadian Mental Health Association. These public awareness campaigns, which put health and safety at the forefront, provide an opportunity for the public to earn more about what organizations do to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their staff.


To discuss these topics, we sat down with Jérôme Préau, Director of Health & Safety at IAMGOLD, and asked him about the company's Zero Harm® approach and what it means for its employees, contractors and host communities.


What is IAMGOLD's Zero Harm® approach, and when was it first implemented?

IAMGOLD's Zero Harm® approach is a commitment to continually strive to reach the highest health and safety standards. Initiated back in 2007, it is an integral part of our company's culture and allows us to maintain the most rigorous health and safety standards. This commitment guides everything that we do each and every day and puts the health and safety of our employees, contractors and host communities at the centre of what we do. It also compels us to minimize our impact on the environment and work co-operatively with our host communities in this area.


How do you put this approach into practice with employees and contractors?

Protecting the health and safety of our employees is our number one priority. It is our responsibility as employers to ensure that we provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for everyone, and we do so by:

  • Complying with health and safety laws, regulations and internal policies. We are also guided by international best practices, including ISO 45001 and the Mining Association of Canada's Towards Sustainable Mining initiative.
  • Establishing clear health and safety performance objectives and communicating our results transparently.
  • Continually improving our methods, keeping abreast of new possible occupational risks and adequately preventing, managing and controlling emergency situations.

Besides, our Zero Harm approach clearly expresses what we want to achieve. Practically, we work to make sure that the Line Management lead by example and demonstrate their commitment through their own behaviour and cascade it to their own perimeter.


What else do you focus on?

Of course, we know that health and safety require everybody's commitment. That is why we put a strong emphasis on training and coaching. Several behavioural-based programs focus on prevention, and empower employees to take responsibility for their own health and safety and those of their colleagues. It aims to transform safety into a value in day-to-day routines.

In the health and safety field, we know that attitude and behaviour play a crucial role in preventing incidents and in helping to make safety an ingrained value. It is true for any workplace, but even more so for industries like mining, where we deal with heavy machinery. We commit to act responsibly to build an injury-free workplace, and it won't happen by chance but by choice: to summarize, I like to use my Quebecois colleagues' quote: "nos bottines doivent suivre nos babines" (in English, "We have to walk the talk"). As such, I would like to thank IAMGOLD employees and contractors for their continued support and focus on operating safely. Their partnership allows us to continually strive to reach the highest safety standards.


Describe your collaboration with communities related to H&S topics.

Safety is a constant priority for us. We emphasize it at the mine with IAMGOLD employees, but also in working with our contractors and host communities. For example, IAMGOLD and the National Road Safety Office in Burkina Faso (one of the countries where we operate) recently joined forces to deploy a countrywide road safety awareness campaign. Our team in Burkina Faso has already done a lot of work to improve road safety habits at our mine, and with this campaign, we are expanding our focus to local communities.


There's a lot of discussion around mental health. What do you do in Health & Safety at IAMGOLD to support this aspect of health?

We know that mental health is health. Public awareness campaigns such as the Canadian Mental Health Association's Mental Health Week are important reminders for employers to support the mental health of their employees through positive and supportive work environments. To strengthen our commitment in this area, we revised our global Health & Safety policy so that it includes "psychological safety" in our safety journey, as we know that "psychological safety" plays a crucial role in creating safe, inclusive workplaces, free from harassment and discrimination. This revised policy takes our commitment to protecting the health and safety of our employees to a higher level and now informs our corporate initiatives. Our Zero Harm® approach continues to evolve!  

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