A key focus during 2020 was encouraging reporting of “near-miss incidents” to allow us to investigate and identify root causes that can then be mitigated. All incidents are investigated and, for significant incidents, the information is shared among all of the sites, emphasizing key learnings and mitigation strategies.
Equinox Gold’s Castle Mountain team in California completed construction and commissioning of the Company’s newest mine with no lost-time injuries, all while managing through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Equinox Gold’s Lost-time Injury Frequency Rate for full-year 2020 is 0.69 per million hours worked (2020 target: 0.95). The Company’s Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate for full-year 2020 is 3.67 per million hours worked (2020 target: 4.82). The Company’s 2020 targets were based on a 10% reduction of 2019 full-year results. More detailed information about Equinox Gold’s 2020 health and safety performance can be viewed here.
For 2021, Equinox Gold has set the target of achieving a Total Recordable Injury Frequency Rate of 3.9 or less.
The COVID-19 pandemic has provided additional additional challenges for health and safety staff and management. During Q2 2020 the Company started proactively testing its workforce for COVID-19, rather than testing only when an individual shows symptoms, with the objective of identifying and isolating carriers early before they spread the virus to others. All individuals who test positive, regardless of whether they show any symptoms, are isolated for two weeks and can only return to work once they have tested negative for COVID-19 and been cleared for work by a health professional. Proactive testing, enhanced health and safety measures that are described here and the Company’s “test, trace, isolate” protocol have helped the Company to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus as much as possible to protect both its workforce and local communities.
To aid with monitoring and tracing efforts, Equinox Gold is establishing testing laboratories for its operations in the USA and Mexico. The labs will be operated by a third party and will allow us to expedite the receipt of test results, extend testing to the families of contractors and employees and potentially expand testing to include region-specific concerns such as Zika and Dengue Fever. The Company’s Brazil operations are being serviced by local laboratories.
HUMAN RIGHTS & DIVERSITY, HUMAN RESOURCES & LABOUR RELATIONS
Equinox Gold recognizes its responsibility to comply with applicable laws and regulations as well as internationally recognized standards to protect the rights of workers and communities across its business activities. Human rights is a fundamental issue on which all of our business is conducted. We value inclusion and diversity and regard these values as a strength to our organization. During 2020, Equinox Gold held a workshop with senior management focused on human rights and diversity to better understand our site level management approach and discuss possible paths forward to formalize our principles, procedures and policies.
Equinox Gold’s objective is to have a highly talented workforce with ethnic and gender diversity that reflects the regions and communities in which we work. At the site level, we have programs in place to identify, train and hire local community members, and to provide support and training opportunities that assist local community members to advance in the company. We respect the rights of all workers, including freedom of association, and strive for collaborative relationships with our workforce and, as applicable, the unions that represent our workforce.