By Diana Scheddin
A change in shift schedules and an upgrade on an outdated ventilation system increased productivity levels and boosted the health of workers at one Northern Ontario-based mine.
General mine superintendent of Kinross Gold Corp., Boyd Timler, says the company decided to move from a 24-hour day to a 21-hour day in order to address the health needs of shiftworkers.
Previously, employees would work 155 hours per month, whereas now they put in 150 hours.
On a yearly basis, workers average 2,190 hours on the old system and 1,916 hours under the new system.
Since this change was made in 2001, there has been an overall efficiency improvement, he notes. Less time is spent travelling to work, communication between staff members is better and employees have been provided with enough time to perform critical tasks, explains Timler.
Other advantages to the new shift schedule include the elimination of blast-out delays and fewer conflicts during cross-shifting.
Stope productivity has also improved. Contractor productivity was 0.06 metres per hour in 2000, while in 2002 it rose to 0.08 metres per man-hour.
The workforce is content with the new schedule, except for the mandatory requirement that calls for workers to take one extra shift per month.
Since improvements have been made to the Hoyle Pond ventilation system, the company has noticed positive results.
The old ventilation unit ran under three separate ventilation systems, moving air through shaft fans, whereas now fresh air is sent back up through an exhaustery system.
“We have cleaned up all the back pressures,” says Timler.
The air quality has improved due to the renovation, and heating costs have been reduced by 40 per cent. Furthermore, medical aids and absentee levels have decreased.