Health, Safety & Security

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.

2017 Safety Targets
  • 10% reduction in Severity Index
  • Achieve 100% closure of findings resulting from our Top 9 audits
  • 100% execution of our Hearts & Minds action plans and our safety management system action plans

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.

Severity Index

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.

Risk-based Focus

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.

CB Mine Rescue


The following focus areas represent the Top 9 safety risks identified and managed at our sites:

  1. Mine shafts & Conveyances
  2. Ground Control
  3. Fires
  4. Electrical Hazards
  5. Hazardous Energy Isolation/Lock Out Tag Out
  6. Working at Heights
  7. Bulk Loading
  8. Interaction with Moving Vehicles
  9. Stockpile Risks
New Training Methods Driving Improvement


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.

Holistic Audit Processes Drive

Holistic Audit Processes Drive Advancements in Key Initiatives

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.

Performance Indicators


Region Total Injuries Total Case
Injury Rate
United States 34 3.00 0
Canada 15 2.16 0
United Kingdom 3 1.98 0
Total 52 2.62 0


Region Total Injuries Total Case
Injury Rate
United States 28 2.41 0
Canada 15 2.17 0
United Kingdom 3 2.39 0
Total 46 2.33 0


Region Total Injuries Total Case
Injury Rate
United States 37 3.33 0
Canada 24 3.93 0
United Kingdom 1 0.88 0
Total 62 3.38 0


Region Total Injuries Total Case
Injury Rate
United States 30 2.92 0
Canada 18 2.77 0
United Kingdom 1 0.64 0
Brazil 19 1.43 0
Total 68 2.15 0

Building A Culture Of High Performance

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.

Investment Illustration

We use many tools to promote this development and to ensure our workforce is ready to meet the challenges of our business:

  • Leadership and employee training, including tuition assistance at accredited institutions of higher learning
  • Annual performance management reviews for full-time, non-union employees, including senior management, which target individual training and development needs and opportunities
  • Succession planning and talent mapping
  • High-potential talent development
  • Internships and apprenticeships, including our unique apprenticeship program at our Winsford mine combining mechanical and electrical engineering

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:

  • In 2017, a pilot mentoring program to support employee development will be launched with an expected company-wide implementation in 2018
  • Leadership training development programs including a company-wide speaker series
  • High-potential development opportunities
  • The launch of Compass Minerals Academy—an all-employee, on-demand training portal

Support From Within

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:

Compass To The Core

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.

High Performance Characteristics

Performing well against each of these characteristics is essential in a high-performance organization:

  • Execution: Delivering on all expectations, on time and on budget with no surprises
  • Courage to Act: Displaying boldness to take action and do what is right, taking the appropriate risks and learning from the experiences
  • Challenge: Engaging in consistent and rigorous debate, respectfully
  • Collaboration: Collaborating across functions and geographies, especially with those who are not in their immediate sphere of influence
  • Development: Demonstrating appropriate development of self and others
  • Constant Improvement: Identifying and implementing ways to improve the way we work or the things we do

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.

Social Metrics
Social Metrics

Performance Indicators

Our Workforce

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.

Ethnic Diversity of U.S. Workforce

* Represents Native American, Hawaiian and two or more races.

Female to Male Pay Ratio

Employment by Gender

  2015 2016 2017
  Male Female Male Female Male Female
United States 852 152 837 155 816 151
Canada 729 77 712 70 694 59
United Kingdom 156 18 149 19 151 18
Total 1,737 247 1,698 244 1,661 228


  2015 2016 2017
  Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
United States 23% 12% 13% 14% 15% 15% 20% 26% 21%
Canada 22% 8% 10% 17% 6% 7% 13% 38% 15%
United Kingdom 28% 10% 12% 5% 15% 14% 16% 12% 12%
Total 23% 12% 13% 14% 11% 12% 16% 29% 25%

* 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.


  2015 2016 2017
30-50 13% 13% 13%
>50 87% 87% 87%
Ethnicity Group      
African American 13% 13% 13%
White 87% 87% 87%
Male 78% 78% 78%
Female 22% 22% 22%

In The Community

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:

  • Human Services: Child and family services; youth development; crisis and shelter services; and food banks, pantries and distribution
  • Education: Schools, colleges, universities and technological institutes; and other educational programs and services focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) or the industries in which we operate
  • Health: Diseases, disorders and health-related disciplines; patient and family support treatment and prevention services; and medical research
  • Environment: Environmental protection and conservation; and botanical gardens, parks and nature centers

Case study/highlights

Following are some of the many activities our sites participated in to support organizations in the areas in which we operate.

Human Services

  • For the 9th year in a row, volunteers from our Ogden site delivered and assembled food baskets for Ogden’s Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank. More than 20 volunteers unloaded $28,000 worth of goods and assembled baskets for more than 1,600 Utah families.
  • Our Ogden site supported the Bridging the Gap Program, with a donation of over 4,000 food items to provide students with healthy, easy-to-prepare meals and snacks when away from school on the weekend.
  • Every December, Cote Blanche employees participate in an annual Charity Day Hoisting event. For every ton of salt produced and hoisted that day, Compass Minerals donates $1 to local charities. In 2016, as a result of the Charity Day Hoisting event, the mine donated almost $10,000 to the area’s two largest food banks, St. Mary Outreach in Morgan City and Solomon House in New Iberia.
  • Every year, Overland Park employees host a back-to-school supply drive for local schools. In 2016, the drive benefited two nonprofits based in the Greater Kansas City area (which includes Overland Park) dedicated to improving children’s lives: The Family Conservancy and the Spofford Home.
  • Harvesters, a regional food bank serving a 26-county area of northwestern Missouri and northeastern Kansas, provides food and related household products to more than 620 not-for-profit agencies including emergency food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes and others. Employees at our corporate office spent an afternoon packing more than 1,400 sack lunches for the Harvesters Community Food Network’s Give A Lunch program.
  • Our employees at Winsford commit each year to collecting food to donate to local food banks for families in need. In 2016 alone, 135 kilograms of food (over 350 pounds) was presented to the Mid Cheshire Foodbank in Winsford.


  • The Goderich plant and mine pledged a $17,000 donation to establish a Goderich-based satellite campus for Fanshawe College allowing more Goderich residents educational opportunities. The funds were used to establish a computer room on the campus and additional funds will be distributed through scholarships.
  • FRIENDS of Great Salt Lake, a non-profit organization, aims to preserve and protect the Great Salt Lake Ecosystem and increase public awareness and appreciation of the lake through education, research, advocacy and the arts. Compass Minerals has a strong partnership with FRIENDS and in 2016 contributed $15,000 to their Lakeside Learning Field Trip program. The field trips combine informal environmental education strategies while incorporating science, tech, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to reinforce the Utah Common Core State Standards. The Lakeside Learning Field Trip Program emphasizes learning through participation.
  • The Kenosha plant donated $1,200 to Bethany Lutheran School to implement a new hands-on curriculum called Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch. The program aims to empower students to become problem solvers and introduces them to STEM.
  • Our Duluth plant supported the 24th annual St. Louis River Quest with a monetary donation, as well as blankets donated by employees to be awarded as prizes for the competition portion of the event. The waterfront event in Duluth-Superior Harbor strives to further a deeper understanding of the St. Louis River by providing hands-on learning experiences to 6th grade students. This year, nearly 1,500 students from 14 area schools participated in the event. Activities focused on topics ranging from pollution prevention and preventing aquatic invaders to personal water safety and commercial shipping.


  • When our U.K. sites installed new automated electronic defibrillators (AEDs), they partnered with North West Ambulance Service and equipment supplier, Cardiac Science, to donate the well-maintained, older models to make them available to the community free of charge. In 2016, the sites donated 11 units.
  • Our Overland Park office supported American Cancer Society with sponsorship of Kansas City’s 2016 Relay for Life, their signature fundraiser. American Cancer Society is committed to saving lives from cancer and reducing the threat of the disease globally.
  • In Goderich, our sites donated $15,000 to the Dialysis 95 + 20 campaign, a 100-day campaign aimed to upgrade and refurbish the dialysis center at the Alexandra Marine and General Hospital. With the help of this campaign, more patients will be able to receive their treatments locally.


  • Trash on shorelines is a serious pollution problem that affects the health of people, wildlife and local economies. At our Ogden, Utah, site, employees participated in the International Coastal Cleanup, the world’s largest volunteer effort for the protection of oceans, waterways and lakes. Employees worked together with other volunteers to remove trash from the Great Salt Lake, collecting a combined 3,186 pounds of trash in one day.
Ogden, Utah Clean Up

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.

The Nature Conservancy

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.