The health, safety and security of our employees are vital to our business. We are steadfast in our commitment to ensure the conditions and a culture that supports a safe, injury- and incident-free workplace.
Compass Minerals has a comprehensive approach to workplace health and safety that covers risk identification assessment, elimination and mitigation, while fostering a strong safety culture throughout the company. Our ultimate goal is zero injuries to our employees and contractors. We pursue this goal through a robust Environmental, Health, Safety (EHS) framework, which includes policies, procedures, training and company standards that go beyond compliance. Many of our collective bargaining agreements also address safety and occupational health issues.
Achieving zero injuries requires participation and sustained commitment at all levels of the organization at every site. The board’s EHS Committee oversees environmental, health and safety management strategies and performance targets. Our VP EHS&S is responsible for setting strategy, ensuring regulatory compliance and overseeing audits and reporting requirements. All our locations materially comply with applicable occupational health and safety regulations, as well as our more stringent internal policies.
To engage our employees in driving a progressively more evolved and pervasive safety culture, we use the Energy Institute’s Hearts & Minds safety excellence toolkit. This toolkit supports hazard identification, safe work practices and improved supervisory skills, among other focus areas. Employees at most sites also have the opportunity to serve on health and safety committees, which include joint representation of union and management groups. In addition, focus groups at our non-union sites engage team members on the ground in best practices toward reaching our health and safety goals.
In addition to standard industry measures like Total Case Injury Rate and Lost Days Rate, we also monitor potential severity of both injury cases and near miss incidents. These incidents are evaluated for potential severity using a methodology based on a U.S. Navy protocol. It considers most likely consequence, exposure frequency and probability of actual outcome. Making progress on this measure has been a key focus area for Compass Minerals and we have seen our results improve. The average Severity Index (SI) of injury cases at the end of 2017 declined to 5.7 from 10.8 at the end of 2016.
We have identified the highest-risk activities inherent within our industries, which include mineral extraction and processing. We focus on the potential consequence of incidents, regardless of likelihood, with an emphasis on the prevention of Significant Incidents and Fatalities (SIFs). To prevent incidents in these top risk areas, we allocate added attention and resources to mitigate hazards and reduce risks where possible. At our sites, this process is reinforced by a designated team leader for each of the Top 9 risk areas (see sidebar).
Additional risk mitigation is achieved through comprehensive, hands-on emergency preparedness training. Emergency response crews at Compass Minerals plants participate in hands-on rescue training and mock emergency drills throughout the year.
We also promote emergency preparedness through our mine rescue team activities in Goderich, Cote Blanche and Winsford. These teams of mine rescue experts participate in specialized hands-on training at internationally recognized training centers, practice their skills year-round and compete in intense field competitions to test their teamwork and emergency response capabilities. In 2016, our Goderich mine rescue team advanced to the International Mine Competition where they competed against 26 teams representing 13 nations. The team earned gold in written theory and silver in underground rescue.
At our newly acquired Brazilian sites, we have begun the process of identifying the top safety risks, and we expect to implement comparable risk mitigation strategies throughout their operations in 2017.
The following focus areas represent the Top 9 safety risks identified and managed at our sites:
At our Cote Blanche mine, hands-on training has replaced much of the traditional classroom training formerly used. Trainees gain critical, practical experience in hazard recognition, lockout practices, emergency response and mine ventilation to influence on-the-job behaviors. The goal of this approach is to increase safety awareness and to reduce errors, which result in injuries and accidents. For example, a 3-D tabletop mine model built by employees provides a real-time demonstration of how proper use of air doors controls mine ventilation and impacts air quality throughout the mine. Even 20-year mine veterans stated after the initial training that they "never fully understood how leaving these doors open impacted the quantity and quality of air delivered to mine workers working in the back of the mine." These training approaches are being shared not only among Compass Minerals sites, but also at broader industry gatherings.
Evaluation and Improvement
We have standardized expectations, policies and action plans regarding top risk mitigation, and we audit execution of these policies and action plans routinely. Additionally, we set site-specific targets for the effective use of the Hearts & Minds toolkit and track performance against these targets. We evaluate the effectiveness of our risk mitigation strategies by monitoring key performance indicators, including both the number and severity of injury incidents and non-injury incidents (e.g., near misses or near hits).
Safety and emergency drills also help us evaluate our performance and proactively identify and address areas for process improvement. In addition, our annual EHS/Operations Safety Summit brings together operations, EHS and other functional group leaders from all locations to share best practices, evaluate recent progress, set new objectives and identify key actions to be undertaken in the upcoming year to continuously improve safety performance.
While our Severity Index improved significantly in 2016, our other measures worsened largely due to an increase in low-level injuries such as sprains and strains. We are working aggressively with the tools we have adopted to drive better results. Our 2017 objectives include achieving 100 percent closure of findings resulting from our Top 9 audits, 100 percent execution of our Hearts & Minds action plans and 100 percent execution of our safety management system action plans.
Compass Minerals has introduced an integrated system to evaluate compliance with and improvement in our four pillars of operational excellence. These four pillars are our Top 9 risk policies, Health and Safety Management System, Reliability Asset Management (RAM) and Continuous Improvement Process (CIP). To date, all Compass Minerals sites have successfully participated in Top 9 risk audits, while several key sites -- the Goderich mine, Unity, Ogden and Lyons -- have been audited against all four operational excellence elements.
While gaps in adherence to the Top 9 risk policies are detected and corrected during these audits, best practices are also routinely identified during these audits for sharing across the company. The audit teams are comprised of operations and EHS leaders from other sites, which allows the sharing and adoption of those best practices across sites.
Key programs and initiatives are taking hold, and we are continuously advancing the company’s culture of safety and productivity.
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At Compass Minerals, we believe our greatest resource is our people and our success is driven by the strength of our human capital. Each and every day we work to ensure that success through a detailed workplace strategy supported by a three-step methodology to make that strategy a reality.
Develop the Capabilities of Our People
Investment in skills and acceleration of employees’ professional and personal development are essential components of our people strategy. We believe in developing our employees at every level of the organization. We also expect that our managers have the capability to encourage their employees’ growth, to champion our Core Values and to inspire high-performance behaviors. Compass Minerals is committed to strengthening the capability of every manager and holding them accountable to these goals.
We use many tools to promote this development and to ensure our workforce is ready to meet the challenges of our business:
Improving Through Diversity and Inclusion
Competing in any industry in the 21st century requires harnessing the power of a variety of perspectives. This cannot be accomplished without a diverse and inclusive workforce. For these reasons, Compass Minerals is working to build its workforce of people with different backgrounds, education, skills and experiences. This emphasis on diversity and inclusion is not only consistent with our Core Values, but we believe it also increases employee engagement and improves performance. We are also conducting a comprehensive review of compensation, turnover and reasons employees leave our organization, to identify potential gender discrepancies and other opportunities for improvement.
Deepening our development programs will be a priority in 2017 and beyond:
Leading. Inspiring. Networking. Knowing. Those words form the acronym for the first-ever employee resource group created at Compass Minerals, the Women’s LINK Group founded in 2016. This group was launched at the company’s celebration of International Women’s Day where the achievements of women were recognized and employees pledged to advance gender parity. The core purpose of the Women’s LINK Group is to promote women leaders at all levels, foster inclusion and support women employees throughout the company. An additional LINK group for young professionals launched in 2017.
These groups as well as our Diversity and Inclusion Speaker Series are critical elements of company-wide efforts to support employee development and foster a high performance culture.
Over the past several years, Compass Minerals has worked to evolve our culture. First we established our Core Values, Compass to the Core, which set the tone for every employee:
More recently, we introduced our definition of High Performance, which consists of six characteristics. Every Compass Minerals employee is encouraged to demonstrate High Performance through their actions.
Performing well against each of these characteristics is essential in a high-performance organization:
Aligning Compensation and Strategy
Another critical component of our people strategy is our total rewards program. Our total rewards philosophy is to provide a competitive total compensation package that drives employee engagement and performance, which in turn helps drive our business strategy and long-term success.
As part of our total rewards package, we offer competitive pay, excellent benefits and internal advancement opportunities. We have designed our compensation programs to reflect our Core Values and to reinforce our high performance culture. These programs drive an environment of accountability, teamwork and cross-functional collaboration, while using a framework that is simple to understand and linked to measurable benchmarks and strategic objectives.
Full-time employees at all locations are eligible for health, dental and vision insurance, disability coverage, vacation, sick leave, parental leave, a 24-hour employee assistance hotline and wellness programs. For U.S. employees we offer access to medical and dependent care flexible savings accounts. Company matching contributions to employee retirement savings plan accounts are an added benefit. In addition, we support employee growth and development through our training and education program.
Evaluation and Performance
In keeping with our commitment to transparency and accountability, we have identified several key metrics which we are monitoring to assess our progress on our social targets. Each of these metrics specifically relates to one of the three core areas of our people strategy. As we continue to collect baseline data, we expect to establish performance goals for select metrics in the future.
Our workforce is made up of men and women with a great diversity of skills, including miners, plant managers, engineers, lab analysts, maintenance technicians, sales and marketing professionals, logistics analysts and others. As of December 31, 2017, we employed 3,090 people, with 1,220 in Brazil, 943 in the United States, 759 in Canada and 168 in the U.K.
We work closely with the labor unions that represent an important segment of our employee base to ensure that health and welfare benefits and disability coverage standards are met and that our employees play an active role in the committees that oversee safety compliance and performance. Approximately 50% of our workforce in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. are union members and 30% of our global workforce is represented by collective bargaining agreements. Of our 13 collective bargaining agreements, four will expire in 2018 and five will expire in 2019. Trade union membership is common in Europe where approximately 5% of our workforce is located. Our approach to actively engaging unions has resulted in no strikes, lockouts or failed negotiations from 2013 through 2017, and we believe this has allowed us to maintain strong, beneficial relationships with our employees.
Additional metrics are outlined below.
* Represents Native American, Hawaiian and two or more races.
* Turnover rate represents the total turnover within each specific population by location.
Compass Minerals’ emphasis on diversity and inclusion is not limited to our workforce. We are also focused on achieving diversity within our Board of Directors and have a Board built of individuals with different backgrounds, educations, skills and experiences.
Compass Minerals is committed to creating value for the communities where we live and operate. Most of our facilities are located in areas that benefit from, if not depend on, our presence. By providing jobs, sourcing locally and fostering local economic development activities, we contribute economic and social benefits to support community vitality. We also support local communities through charitable contributions and volunteering.
ENGAGEMENT: Community engagement is not only the right thing to do as a business, it is welcomed and appreciated by employees who have a vested interest in the role they play in and outside the workplace. Community engagement is encouraged at all sites, building a sense of shared pride that improves morale and demonstrates our commitment to the well-being of our communities. Employees support their communities in many ways to make a positive impact and enrich the lives of others. Over the years, we’ve made generous donations of time, money and resources to local food banks, hospitals, environmental organizations, children’s charities and more.
GIVING: We promote employee engagement and collective action through community-based giving programs. Compass Minerals’ Charitable Giving Guidelines were established as a way to more formally support causes and initiatives our employees are passionate about. The guidelines concentrate on donations for local, national and global organizations that align with our Vision to help keep people safe, feed the world and enrich lives.
In 2016, Compass Minerals contributed almost $300,000 to organizations in the areas in which we operate. Employees are invited to submit requests for charitable donations within our four pillars of giving:
Following are some of the many activities our sites participated in to support organizations in the areas in which we operate.
In most countries in sub-Saharan Africa, only fertilizers containing nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (NPK) are available to smallholder farmers. However, crop yields in the region eventually plateau with NPK-only fertilization. For optimum crop productivity and quality, soils need a combination of nutrients, such as sulfur, zinc and boron, in addition to NPK fertilizers. Compass Minerals supported the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) with a $30,000 donation to fund trials to determine the best fertilizer products and application methods to address boron deficiency, which is prominent in Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia. The ultimate goal is to provide farmers in these countries with access to fertilizers that work best for their specific locations and crops.
Compass Minerals relies on the Great Lakes for environmentally smart and cost-effective transport of road salt from our mine in Goderich, Ontario, to customers in hundreds of cities and towns in Canada and the U.S. Compass Minerals is committed to the health and protection of freshwater quality and ecosystems and provided a $30,000 contribution in support of The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Project. The Great Lakes Project aims to improve water quality in the region’s lakes, rivers and streams; repair coastlines; sustain healthy forests and fisheries; and develop new practices to manage the region’s land and water for both people and nature.