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Walking is working: a Kearl success story

Reclamation at NODA: 58,000 saplings planted, zero hurts.

  • 58,000 seedlings planted over 10 days on 12.5 hectares – that’s 58,000 opportunities for bending, twisting, lifting, heat exposure and walking hurts!
  • Approximately 500 25-30 lb boxes carried down the slope to position seedlings for planters
  • Slope was rough textured with a 1-meter wide bucket leaving 30-40cm indentations across the slope
  • More than 1,100 m3 of coarse woody debris was placed on slope
  • 9 designated tree planters, each walking with 2 bags to distribute the weight evenly on their shoulders and hips
  • 4 personnel designated daily to position seedling boxes on slope for planters

“For this job, walking was one of the most hazardous tasks,” says Harvey Lewis, Mine Operations Superintendent. “So, traversing the landscape was planned out. In other words, don’t put your feet where your eyes haven’t checked.”

Success looked like:

  • Fit-for-duty conversations and crew monitoring were crucial for this job to be completed with no hurts.
  • Mine Business and Planning Contracts, Imperial Environmental Services and Paragon Soil & Environmental Consulting did a risk assessment in advance of the job, and the walking, bending, heat and other hazards were reviewed daily at Toolbox Talk.
  • Leaders checked in with each worker multiple times each day. Everyone was encouraged to stay within their own physical limits and work was adjusted or postponed when the temperature got too hot.

“Walking on hazardous ground is always a part of what we do,” says Paragon president Lee Waterman. “We’ve been injury-free for 14 years and it comes down to having excellent people that are deeply proud of working safely and watching out for each other. Taking time to rest and refocus is essential. Imperial has always genuinely supported taking the time that’s needed to do our work safely, and that makes all the difference.”