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OHES 5-Yr Plan (2011-2015)

The OHES 5-Year Plan (2011-2015), adopted by the Board in November 2010, went into effect in 2011. The plan, costing nearly 4.3M Euros, aims to develop the IMnI as the platform for providing the Mn industry with guidance, tools and information that will allow it to anticipate occupational health, environment and safety demands whilst improving worker safety, sustainability and ensuring industry profitability. The planís five goals are:

  1. Anticipate & track major regulations worldwide
  2. Develop economically sound industry safety standards
  3. Study & limit occupational health effects
  4. Quantify & evaluate environmental life cycle & risk
  5. Knowledge-sharing and best practices through continuous improvement

Anticipate & track increasingly challenging regulations spreading worldwide

In response to worldwide regulatory demands, the OHES committee set up a sub-committee: the Regulatory Committee. Made up of representatives from every continent and coordinated by IMnIís Dr Keven Harlow, the committee has a triple mandate: anticipate and track major regulations globally, understand their impact on the Mn industry and support IMnI members with compliance. Under this goal the OHES committee via the Regulatory committee is in the process of developing a data set of socio-economic information demonstrating the economic importance of Mn metal, alloys and compounds to the global economy for communication purposes and for regulatory defence purposes. Risk & Policy Analyst Ltd, UK has been contracted to undertake the following in the field of socio-economic analysis:

  • Development of socio-economic data, where this includes collating and analysing information on the production, demand and use of Mn across its downstream value chains, value added associated with Mn production and use, and associated direct and indirect employment. This work  involves characterisation of different value chains in terms of their structures, production value, value added to national economies, value of downstream markets (first to end use), and associated employment
  • Assessment of the socio-economic impacts of adopting different OEL values for regulatory purposes, based upon measures under discussion or already in place in the United States, the European Union or other national legislation (e.g. Japan, South Africa, etc.). This work will involve carrying out case studies based on one or two Mn value chains, with the aim of quantifying the compliance costs (or the economic impacts of lost production activities where compliance is not technically feasible) and worker safety benefits of having to meet OELs set at different levels of stringency. The outputs from this work will be of value to the IMnI in responding to future regulatory discussions on appropriate OELs and, more generally, to illustrate the potential wider application of SEA in regulatory defence.

Develop economically sound industry safety standards

The quest to identify appropriate industry safety standards focused on finding a reliable biomarker and a globally acceptable occupational exposure limit for the Mn industry. Risk Sciences International (Canada) and the University of Cranfield (UK) were chosen to tackle these initiatives head-on. In 2011, both institutions made excellent progress reviewing and quality scoring the available scientific literature. Presently work is geared towards data gaps identification, developing a methodology to fill the gaps and modeling where applicable.

Study & limit occupational health effects

Research that best answers the Mn industryís needs was designed by a Scientific Advisory Board to the OHES Committee. This expert group of independent scientists, (led by Prof Len Levy) developed a program of studies focusing on the effects of Mn exposure. With this in hand, the IMnI contracted Washington lobbyist Kinghorn, Hilbert & Associates to seek US government funding. News on this appears promising.

Quantify & evaluate environmental life cycle & risk

Measuring the environmental performance of the global manganese alloy industry, as well as highlighting the potential risks to the environment (if any) caused by the Mn industryís activities is our responsibility. IMnI recruited Hatch, the Toronto-based consulting firm, to develop a cradle-to-gate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). Work in Year 1 (2011) focused on developing the Goal & Scope. 2012 (Year 2) will mainly focus on data collection via questionnaires and site visits to the 17 different participating sites covering all continents. The manganese LCA project will measure the mining, smelting and related processes for manganese products used in the steel industry. This is an important part of the Manganese Sustainability Strategy which aims to continuously improve the environmental, social and economic performance of the manganese industry. Also tackling environment issues is the consultant, WCA Ltd UK with a mandate to examine any potential risk posed to the environment from the activities carried out by the Manganese industry by means of an environmental risk assessment. Work on the risk posed to the different environmental compartments is making good progress meanwhile work on the possibility of generating a globally acceptable Risk assessment from a regulatory standpoint has been completed.

Knowledge-sharing and best practices Ė Continuous Improvement

As part of the ongoing knowledge-sharing and best practices initiative, the IMnIís 2nd safety workshop, hosted by Eramet at their plant in Kvinesdal, Norway, was a resounding success (click here for more on the workshop). Attracting over 20 delegates representing 9 countries, participants gained new and invaluable knowledge regarding liquid metal, its characteristics, and the hazards it poses from a safety, and engineering standpoint. Raising the bar on health, the IMnIís 3rd workshop focused mainly on occupational health issues.  Jointly hosted by Ore & Metal Company and Samancor Mn, in Johannesburg, the workshop attracted 37 delegates representing 19 different companies and 4 different continents. The three day workshop included a seminar, a mine visit and a visit to a smelter (for more information click here)

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