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Analysis

Leaving the Age of Sacrificial Yellow Canaries in the Past

Wed, 10/21/2015 - 11:41

he days of caged canaries lying dead in the dark mines, as poisonous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide crawl into the tunnels, are over. While safety measures have advanced by leaps and bounds, images of danger still color people’s perceptions. Pavel Santillanes, Director of PROVESICSA, a leading distributor of safety equipment, is quick to rectify that misconception. “The mining industry is considered among the most hazardous industries around. That is why companies now implement very high safety standards to reduce risks to a minimum.” In fact, such is the level of security imposed by the mining industry that many of the products created for this sector have gone on to become standard in other industries, such as construction or oil and gas. In terms of health and safety, mining companies continue to ensure that their workers are not exposed to contaminants that may affect their welfare, and, as such, employ preventative safety measures. “Workers in hazardous environments must use respiratory protectors. These prevent operators from being exposed to gases or dusts that may severely affect their health,” Santillanes explains. “Mines are now equipped to handle any type of emergency. Sites have all kinds of systems to conduct rescues and ensure that workers stay safe in case of a collapse.” This has played right into PROVESICSA’s hands, given its wide range of safety equipment, including emergency breathing apparatus, respirators, security harnesses, as well as gloves and hard hats. Evidence that the mining industry takes safety seriously is shown by the fact that the Fiscal Reform and the dropping metal prices have not put a dent in health and safety budgets. Yet, Santillanes has detected a shift in companies’ mindsets. In the past, many players had no problem replacing old equipments but now the emphasis has moved toward maintenance and repair. “As a distributor, this trend could clearly come to affect our sales, but we also offer repair services, which helps us gain some leverage over the situation,” he explains.

PROVESICSA goes a step further in its quest to achieve the welfare of mining workers, as it looks beyond the mines and into the surrounding ecosystems. Its product portfolio includes solutions for soil remediation in the event of an oil or gasoline spill. While companies often choose to simply remove contaminated soils, which translate into containment and transportation costs, PROVESICSA offers a simple solution that is cheaper compared to other methods. “PROVESICSA sells products to be mixed with the soil. By making use of bacteria, they manage to decontaminate the soils,” Santillanes explains. It also has products designed to protect the wildlife surrounding mining operations, as their installations prevent animals from breaking into dangerous areas such as tailings dams. Santillanes is confident that while the industry has lacked impetus as of late, the company’s evolving product portfolio reflects an advanced state of mind toward safety. “We will continue to bet on the mining industry, and we are confident that stable growth will present itself in the future.”