PDAC eLearning Series - Exclusive for Members
Spring into Safety: Practices for Safe Exploration

DATE:  Thursday, June 2, 2022
TIME:  12:00 PM - 1:30 PM ET
(11:00 AM CT | 10:00 AM MT | 9:00 AM PT) 
COST:  Free for Members


Spring into Safety: Practices for Safe Exploration is a three-part series that will cover a range of topics and real-world case studies, beginning with the fundamentals of health and safety (H&S) in mineral exploration. Speakers will deliver practical guidance on operating exploration field camps, and working safely with diamond drills, helicopters and other equipment. The industry data are based on previously reported incidents and accident investigations and will be valuable for anyone working in the field or in an office.

At the end of the series, participants will:
•   understand the typical risks that occur in mineral exploration
•   understand the higher risks associated with drilling and helicopter accidents
•   be able to perform a simple risk assessment
•   be introduced to accident root cause analysis

April 28: Fundamentals of Health & Safety in Exploration
May 12: Zero Harm & Helicopters Begins With You! 
June 2:  Incident Prevention in the Field 


Part 3. Incident Prevention in the Field

An important part of accident prevention is understanding where health and safety risks exist before work begins. This relies on risk evaluation ahead of time, both before any project work commences and in daily field crew safety meetings. Despite these measures, should an incident occur, the investigation of the root causes of the incident is a vital element in determining where the system failed and how to prevent future failures. Understanding the fundamentals of root cause analysis is a key to this.

Bill Mercer will give an overview and example of methodology for simple team risk assessment illustrated with an interactive case study. Conrad Dix will discuss the role of daily ‘toolbox’ meetings in incident prevention. Wesley Leavitt will cover simple root cause analysis in accident investigation which will include a case study.

Moderated by Lisa McDonald, each speaker will address a case study or question after each presentation, followed by a Q&A session with attendees. 


BJorkman Prospecting Logo

Lisa McDonald
Executive Director
Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC)

Lisa has played a vital role in PDAC’s success for more than 20 years. Prior to being the Executive Director, Lisa served as the association’s Chief Operations Officer (COO) for 10 years where she delivered the strategic goals of the association and oversaw all aspects of operational performance.

Lisa is considered one of the key drivers behind the expansion of the annual PDAC Convention in Toronto. As the Convention Director from 2001 to 2008, Lisa was an integral part of growing the event into what is now considered the world’s premier mineral exploration and mining convention, drawing upwards of 30,000 attendees from 135 countries.

Lisa is a Past President of the Canadian Association of Exposition Management (the national association for professionals involved in the production, management, and planning of trade and consumer shows, and events), and is a member of the Canadian Society of Association Executives.


Bill Mercer_Headshot_2022
Bill Mercer
Independent Consultant

Bill Mercer has geology degrees from University of Edinburgh (BSc) and McMaster University (PhD), with a career of about 45 years in industry. He is now consulting having had a 32-year career with Noranda/Falconbridge group working in over 30 countries and exploring for a wide variety of commodities. For 15 years he was the Vice President, Exploration, for Avalon Advanced Materials focused on critical metals.

Bill has a strong belief in the need for continuous improvement in exploration as it pertains to environmental, health and safety performance especially with respect to serious and fatal accidents. For this reason, he started, and continues to chair, the PDAC Health and Safety Committee since 2005. Bill started in 2012, and continued to run, the PDAC Health and Safety short course. 

In 2009, he received the David Barr Award from the Association for Mineral Exploration in British Columbia for excellence in leadership and innovation in mineral exploration health and safety. As part of the Avalon team, he shared in receiving the PDAC Environmental and Social Responsibility Award. In 2015, he was the recipient of the “Award for Environmental Excellence” of the NWT and Nunavut Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists in recognition of his environmental efforts related to renewable energy use at Avalon’s Nechalacho rare earth project in Canada’s Northwest Territories. In 2013 Bill received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his service to the Canadian mining industry. He is a Past President of the Canadian Federation of Earth Sciences and of the PDAC.

Conrad Dix Head shot

Conrad Dix
Exploration Geology Superintendent
Agnico Eagle Mines

Conrad Dix is an accomplished exploration geologist, presently the Exploration Geology Superintendent at Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, Hope Bay project, and previously the Exploration General Supervisor for Agnico Eagle’s Ontario exploration projects.

In his 25 years in the industry Mr. Dix has worked for both major and junior exploration companies, in both greenfields and brownfields exploration, and had a strong start to his career in the geophysics industry. He has explored for all commodities on exploration projects around the globe, in every possible climate!

Mr. Dix is a Professional Geologist and holds a B.Sc. (University of Windsor).  He is a member of Professional Geoscientists Ontario (PGO) and Northwest Territories Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists (NAPEG).

Serving on the Board of Directors of Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, Mr. Dix is also proud to sit as Co-Chair of the Health & Safety Committee and a member of the Human Resource Development Committee, two aspects of our industry that he enthusiastically supports.

Wesley Leavitt
Wesley Leavitt
Partner, CIH
ERM: Environmental Resources Management

As an experienced Certified Industrial Hygienist, Wesley has more than 25 years of experience in the mining industry leading local, regional and corporate health and safety teams.  He is a collaborative communicator with demonstrated capacity to establish productive relationships with key personnel and a strong history of designing highly successful programs garnering employee engagement in safety-focused behavior.  More broadly, Wesley has successfully designed verification programs to minimize risk in critical areas. He has particular expertise in the development and deployment of safety management systems, including risk management and training, aligned with the client’s business goals.


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Jimmy Barrieau
Global Director EHST
Boart Longyear

Mr. Barrieau is an experienced Environmental, Health and Safety professional; proficient in managing leading and lagging indicators to direct organizations on continuous improvement initiatives. Focused on practical solutions for front line employees and providing leadership training that develops the next generation of personal safety culture. Jimmy has worked in the mining and exploration industry in various capacities for over 18 years.

Jimmy hold a Bachelor of Arts in history from Mount Saint Vincent University and an Environmental Health & Safety Technical Diploma from Maritime Environmental Training Institute, both of which are in Nova Scotia, Canada.