The Polar Division is the biggest and the most important branch of the Norilsk Nickel Mining and Metallurgical Company, a world-leading producer of both precious and base metals.
The division employs more than two-thirds of the company’s Russian personnel and manages four mines, three plants, two concentrators and a metallurgical shop. Alexey Mansurov joined the company in 2008 and has advanced from job foreman at the Taymyrskiy mine to chief environment, health and safety (EHS) specialist for Norilsk’s whole Polar Division.
Why did you choose to work in the mining industry?
It was sort of a dynastic choice. My father worked for many years as a mining equipment electrician here in Norilsk, and from my early years I knew I was going to follow in his footsteps. At age 17 I went to the specialized mining college. I was employed by Norilsk Nickel after doing my military service. Even if they didn’t know me, they knew my family name.
About Alexey Mansurov
- Age: 29
- Position: Head EHS specialist at Norilsk Nickel’s Polar Division
- Residence: Norilsk
- Family: Wife Irina and 3-year-old daughter Darya
What are your current responsibilities?
My duties include the whole range of EHS issues: investigating accidents, developing measures to eliminate their causes and implementing policies regarding industrial security and labour protection.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
To see the instant results of my efforts. At first glance, the job of an EHS specialist might look to some like a bureaucratic task with lots of paperwork, but it’s not. We work with people all over our mining sites and elsewhere. We know about their problems and needs, and we try to imagine a solution that will help them to be more secure and healthy, to be less stressed on the job. Then we implement this solution and invest in it. If the idea is right, you can see immediate improvement. And when I meet employees who appreciate their working conditions and are happy about their job, I know I’ve made a contribution.
What is the main challenge?
To overcome the “cost-cut mentality” that some people have. EHS improvement arrangements can be expensive. Equipment location trackers, video monitoring, special uniforms that withstand drops of molten metal – all these measures are crucial from an accident-prevention standpoint. They all come with a price tag, but people’s lives are invaluable.
Norilsk Nickel Group is a world-leading producer of nickel and palladium. Its operations are located in Russia and Finland.
You work in close cooperation with Sandvik. What are your impressions?
Sandvik equipment is some of the safest on the market. I cannot recall a single injury related to Sandvik equipment. As for their EHS policies, I have to admit Sandvik is one step ahead of us. They’re really strong in this domain – it is the only organization among our partners that is certified according to international standard OHSAS-18001. I’m not only impressed by my experience with Sandvik, but I also watch their EHS practices closely and do my best to adopt some of them at my company.