Story by Cory Grieve
I wanted to pass this along to you but it is hard for me to talk about so I never cc’d everyone. I gave away the second elastic bracelet that I took to someone who is very deserving of it and can and will continue to help improve safety. He was very moved by the story I told about the bracelet and he looks forward to finding someone to pass it to when the opportunity presents itself.
The person I gave it to was the U/G maintenance superintendent at the last mine I was at before joining BHPB. We unfortunately had a fatality at this site and I was very involved in this. The short story is I responded to an emergency call on the radio of an accident in a certain area of the mine, the second call said it was vehicle roll over. When I arrived on scene I was expecting a rescue mission and was not prepared for a recovery mission. It was very apparent that there were no signs of life and to this day I don’t know where my instincts came from but I just took control of the situation and did what needed to be done and took care of the other workers in the area, arranged for mine rescue to do a recovery, cleared and secured the area and had a guard posted at the drift entrance with the instructions that god himself did not pass this check point without my permission.
This was the longest day of my life, I sat at the scene alone while I waited to turn it over to the proper authorities. I stayed strong and focused and did what needed to be done, I had been a supervisor for less than 5 months and there is no training for this, it is pure instinct. I remember getting home at around 9:00 that night and my son asked me how work was and I broke down and sobbed uncontrollably it was just a flood gate of emotion all at once. I gathered myself after a few minutes and explained to my family what had happened.
As you are well aware a fatality investigation is very involved and they needed me there for every step of the way, the next three days were all spent U/G and with the mines branch and company investigators. The maintenance superintendent at the time was the one who helped get me through this. I confided in him that I will do whatever is expected of me during the investigation but once it is done I will never work U/G again and that most likely my career in mining was over. He told me that I needed to look at what I had accomplished in the short time I had been a supervisor and that he knew that all the workers had already come to respect and trust me. He said something to me that I will never forget, “Cory you can leave if you want to but I know in my heart that if anything were to happen out here and you know that it is something you would have prevented you will not be able to live with yourself even if it is five or ten years down the road. You are too good of a leader and have too much passion to stop caring. Please stay with us and more importantly me, and together we can do whatever we can to make sure we do all that is possible to ever having to make that visit again.”( he went to the victims house to deliver the news to the family) He and I spent the next five years working to improve safety and to have all our workers embrace safety as a way of life and had much success in building our team.
Sorry this is a long email but I wanted you to fully understand why I chose this person and to let you know he wears it with pride and the day he gives it away will be a great day for all of us.