Carlos Villacian
Director of Business Unit Latin America North
MSA Safety
View from the Top

Safety, a Top Priority for Success

By Paloma Duran | Fri, 02/05/2021 - 11:14

Q: What problems does MSA Safety solve and why is the company important for the mining sector?

A: People’s lives are the most important factor for us, which is why we focus on their safety. We want them to return safely to their homes after a hard day’s work. MSA Safety has been involved in the mining sector since 1914. We started by designing safe lamps that prevented accidents such as explosions. Soon after, the company began to increase its knowledge and diversify its products. MSA Safety believes that the mining sector should prioritize safety in mines to safeguard the physical integrity of people and protect the assets of the mining companies. In Mexico, there are several companies that have high security standards; however, there are others that do not enforce the same protocols and unfortunately, these are where most accidents occur. MSA Safety strives to protect workers in the mining sector by providing them the best training and protective equipment in the market.

Q: How does MSA Safety guarantee reliable protection for the mining industry and how does it differentiate itself in the sector?

A: MSA Safety is the world’s largest safety company and our approach is complete. We provide several products that protect the physical integrity of workers, such as personal protection, emergency exits and the self-rescue, which is very popular and has become a standard for the industry. What differentiates us is that we have been pioneers in many safety products and services that are specialized specifically for the mining industry. In addition, MSA Safety invests a great deal of resources in technology to improve its products and digitalize the mining sector. Our clients also receive customer support after the sale of products. We train our clients, identify their needs and through our network of distributors we guarantee that their chosen product will always be available.

Q: What products are being sold in the Mexican market and who are your main clients here?

A: Our main clients are the largest mining groups in the country. We also have national and international companies and contractors that use many of our products. Among our most popular products is our MSA Safety helmet, which is a benchmark in the head protection market. We also provide visual protection, respiratory equipment that detects dangerous environments and protection against falls, among others. MSA Safety also is diversifying its products and one of our favorites is the remote monitoring areas that verify the different zones of the mine and provide real-time information, which allows companies to identify potential threats and therefore, prevent accidents.

Q: What are the main challenges that mining companies face in Mexico?

A: Despite security standards and safety parameters for companies, Mexico still has a high mortality rate due to accidents that could have been prevented. Moreover, the COVID-19 situation is endangering the most important asset of companies: their workforce. We believe that companies should implement and strengthen security measures and protocols to improve employee safety and well-being. In addition, we must adapt to this new digital reality, including learning how to do businesses, interact and train ourselves. Therefore, one of our challenges is how to reach more people through digital media. In Mexico, there are several mines that are close to cities but some cities are located in remote areas and many do not have internet. Reaching them represents a greater challenge; however, MSA Safety is determined to establish a good relationship with these companies and offer them alternatives and the proper tools they need to digitalize their company.

Q: What measures must be implemented in the Mexican mining industry to improve safety?

A: Regulations must be strengthened and companies should always abide by them. Companies should always identify in which areas they can improve the safety of their operations and workers. A fundamental strategy is to train everyone, which is why MSA Safety offers mobile training centers. We travel to mining sites and teach workers how to use our products and explain their benefits. Today, mining companies should be fully trained in accident prevention; however, there are several companies that do not follow the regulatory frameworks related to security. We believe it is the government’s responsibility to enforce and teach the importance of these regulations, while the private sector should set a good example and try to convince them to incorporate safety standards.

Q: How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact the company in 2020?

A: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MSA Safety began supplying protective equipment to the health sector. We discovered that this sector represented a new area of opportunity for the company and we set the goal to offer them the best possible protective equipment. The health market helped us balance some losses we incurred as a result of the decrease in demand for some services and products in the construction sector. At MSA Safety, we identify the main industries in each country. In Mexico, those are oil and mining, and we seek to be their best allies in security matters.

Q: What are MSA Safety’s near-term strategies?

A: We want to implement several strategies in order to reach markets differently. We also have specific strategies geared toward the oil and gas industry that seek to increase their investment in security products. For mining, we want to develop and strengthen our protection products. Lastly, we want to invest more in our people and bring together the wisdom of several generations through a digitalization process that includes our people and optimizes our products and services.

MSA Safety is the global leader in the development, manufacture and supply of safety products that protect people and facility infrastructure. MSA’s products integrate a combination of electronics, mechanical systems and advanced materials.

Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst