Suncor to adopt mining safety tech for first time in oilsands, says CEO

In January, a worker was killed in a fatal collision at a Suncor oilsands site in Alberta

Suncor to adopt mining safety tech for first time in oilsands, says CEO

Suncor Energy CEO Mark Little announced on Thursday morning that the company would be adopting mining safety technology for what he says is the first time in the oilsands.

This, according to a report from The Canadian Press, is following a recent death and several other incidents.

“As CEO, the accountability for safety and operational excellence is with me, period.” he said. “I have a comprehensive plan endorsed by our board and we're executing this plan to address these concerns.”

Suncor, which is headquartered in Calgary, says that it plans to implement collision avoidance and fatigue tech across all of its mobile equipment. The deployment will be done over the next 18 to 24 months.

“This is a technology that is used globally in mining, but it is not used in oilsands. So we'll be the first oilsands company to universally use this all across the mines,” said Little.

Little says that, in addition, Suncor’s management is also focused on engaging with its front-line workers on the topic of safety, and to enhance the company’s safety culture has also “spent quite a bit of time reducing the prescriptive procedures, which quite frankly we found out a lot of people are not using or following […] there was a gap between the practice and the actual procedures.”

In January, a Suncor worker was killed and two other injured in a collision at its oilsands site in Fort McMurray, Alta.

The accident occurred when two heavy hauler vehicles collided in an open mine at Suncor’s Base Plant (Millennium) Mine north of Fort McMurray.

One of the drivers, a 51-year-old man from Fort McMurray, died at the scene. Additionally, a woman received medical treatment on site, while the other man involved in the collision was taken to Northern Lights Regional Hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Little released a statement following the fatal collision, saying:

“I am deeply disappointed by these events and I am committed to implementing corrective actions, continuing to strengthen our processes and accountability, and to improving Suncor's performance.”