Safety first for award winning Hy-tech Drilling

They may have been awarded the David Barr Award for excellence in leadership in mineral exploration health and safety for 2010, but Hy-tech Drilling Ltd. President and Chairman Harvey Tremblay said that when it comes to safety, for them, it’s just the beginning.

  • Jan. 26, 2011 10:00 a.m.
Harvey Tremblay said it is a real honour to be considered for the David Barr Award.

Harvey Tremblay said it is a real honour to be considered for the David Barr Award.

They may have been awarded the David Barr Award for excellence in leadership in mineral exploration health and safety for 2010, but Hy-tech Drilling Ltd. President and Chairman Harvey Tremblay said that when it comes to safety, for them, it’s just the beginning.

“It’s a real honour to be considered for something like that,” Tremblay said. “It’s important. The award’s not so important to us, it’s about really making a safe place for people to work but being recognized for doing that is quite an honour.”

It’s an award that’s not given each year, Tremblay said. Instead, it’s meant to showcase a company’s contribution and commitment to safety over time. Hy-tech, which was incorporated in 1991, is based in Smithers, but now has operations all across Canada and into Europe, as well. As the company, and its crew-roster, grew, health and safety practices grew more developed, Tremblay said, however it was a priority of theirs from day one in an industry where there are a lot of variables to keep track of.

“Safety is a very important part about how you think about doing your job,” Tremblay said of a business that’s based on drilling, then placed in remote, often mountainous terrain. “So, how can I do this very potentially dangerous and complicated job safely? There is a way to do that, just like you can climb mountains safely and you can race cars safely.

“You can do intrinsically dangerous things safely if you make it a point,” he continued.

What the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. was looking at, and recognizing them for, was their development to field-friendly equipment that made working in mountainous, difficult terrain easier and safer for everyone involved. In the past, equipment was big, bulky and difficult to move around, something that they’ve redesigned into lighter components that are easier to assemble so moves are done quickly and easily, despite whatever conditions they may be in.

“It is a little different from the equipment that’s been used for the last 40, 50 years,” Tremblay said.

They’ve also partnered with the Northwest Community College over the last five to ten years, he said, to assist Hy-tech in training qualified workers who not only understand the protocols but who are then familiar with the specialized equipment, some of it patented by Hy-tech, that they will be using out in the field.

“It’s so when they get there they know what they’re going to run into, the kind of problems, that sort of thing,” Tremblay said. “That’s probably the biggest group of people who get hurt, is those who haven’t got any training yet.”

The award came as a complete surprise to Tremblay, who will be accepting the award later this month in Vancouver, who didn’t even realize they were nominated. In fact, when it came to this kind of award, he felt that he’d need to be “longer in the tooth” to be considered amongst those who have spent their whole lives devoted to the mining and exploration sector. Hy-tech, he said, still has a ways to go.

“There’s still places where we can do better,” Tremblay said. “I don’t think you’re ever done, it’s really about a culture you’re trying to build, that people think about their own safety and the people around them.”

He was pleased to say that they’ll be implementing a safety management system this year that they have been developing for the last year. It’ll take a couple of years before it’ll become part of their culture, as quality management and environmental safety have, but it’s a start, he said, to the next level.