Sustainability Report 2015


Case studies

Remarkable safe behaviors promote our goal of ZERO harm

Canada and South Africa

In February 2015, in a remote part of the Canadian mountains, ERM employees from our office in Smithers, British Columbia, were assigned to perform winter sampling in an area that required a helicopter to land on a frozen lake. Inadequate depth perception due to ice coupled with the possibility of below-freezing temperatures, poor visibility and strong surface winds contributed to a hazardous environment. Instead of the pilot attempting a risky landing on an unreliable surface, ERM consultant Jeffrey Anderson developed a standard operating procedure to test the depth of the ice on the lake and mitigate the risk of it being cracked under the weight of the helicopter. This ensured a safe landing and allowed the crew to carry out their work successfully, without taking unnecessary risk. This method of testing ice depth can now be applied to similar ERM projects and work in the future.

On the same day, on the other side of the world in South Africa, it was 40 degrees Celsius. ERM Consultants from our Cape Town office had taken stringent measures to avoid heat stress while at a project site. Risk mitigation measures at ERM for extreme heat can include early starts, a buddy system, drinking water and breaks in shady/cool areas, etc. In this instance, the excessively hot weather led ERM consultant Elke Soumillion to notice coworkers had started to show early symptoms of heat stress. She recognized the early symptoms and called for work to be stopped immediately, avoiding a potentially dangerous situation.

Both Jeffrey and Elke received a “Safety AT ERM” award as a result of their initiatives.