Sustainability Picks Up Stream

Sustainable operating practices — which have roots in the business strategies of many European construction materials companies — are making their way into the ideology and operations of their North American counterparts. For example, Lafarge North America Inc.’s various business units have taken a cue from their global parent company, with each business unit forming a sustainable construction committee. Each committee represents all its product lines, including aggregates, ready-mix, asphalt, cement, pre-cast concrete, and gypsum within that business unit, says Ted Matson, Lafarge North America Inc.’s director of marketing for aggregates in western Canada. “During the last two years, we came up with a marketing plan that ...

Water – Waste Not, Want Not

In some areas of the country, water is plentiful. In other areas, it is a hot commodity. In all areas of the country, however, it should be handled respectfully and in a way that will not pollute the surrounding environment. Rogers Group Inc. kept this in mind when it began construction of its Morgan County, Ala.-based Lacey’s Spring Quarry in 2006. The company incorporated several environmentally friendly initiatives during and after construction that have made it possible for the quarry to not only meet, but exceed water-management expectations and requirements. The first thing Rogers Group did was build a perimeter berm around the property. “The berm ...

Small Mine Office

Small mines make up about 50 percent of all mines in the United States. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the fatality rate at these small mines from 2000 through 2002 was two and a half times greater than the fatality rate of larger mining operations. In an effort to improve those numbers, MSHA created the Small Mine Office (SMO) in October 2002. Since January 2003, specialists from the SMO have worked one on one with small mine operations to provide information on developing and maintaining simple, inexpensive safety and health programs, as well as good practices. The office also helps small mine ...

Making Strides in Safety

Enter most aggregate operations throughout the United States and a safety slogan is likely to be one of the first signs you see as you cross through the gates. And for good reason: According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), 178 stone, sand, and gravel miners have lost their lives since 2000. Any fatality is one too many, so throughout the last decade, companies have ramped up safety initiatives to protect their employees. Steps toward safer operations A number of factors may be driving improvements in the safety of U.S. aggregate operations, including two developments in 2003: the formation of the Small Mine Office (see ...

Mobile Equipment

  Mobile equipment covers a broad spectrum of vehicles, from 100-ton haul trucks to small skid-steer loaders. Each piece of equipment has different safety concerns, but there are some basic steps that can make operating any piece of equipment safer. According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), these steps include the following: Maintain mobile equipment. Always wear a seat belt. Be aware of the location and traffic patterns of mobile equipment in your work area. Sound the horn to warn persons of intended movement. Operating mobile equipment without following these steps can result in accidents and injuries that may involve fatalities, as well as citations. Nearly a third, 30 ...

Highwall and Stockpile Safety

To keep your operation’s employees safe when working around and with stockpiles and highwalls, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) offers five best practices: Be aware of overhanging material when loading from stockpiles and highwalls. Stay back from the edge and build a berm. Stay clear of draw points above surge tunnels. Always scale the highwall back. Never place yourself between the equipment and the stockpile or highwall. “When looking at your pits, always look for berms on the backside,” says Pat Hayden, regional safety manager for Mountain States at Knife River. “Make sure no one is going to sneak into a pit. You don’t want a farmer or someone ...