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Imerys receives NIOSH award for COVID-19 combat work in the USA

The team's joint efforts brought recognition from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Imerys receives NIOSH award for Covid-19 combat work in the US

Another award recognizes the great work that Imerys employees have been doing since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, this time granted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) - part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Imerys Performance Minerals Americas–North American (PMA) division won the industrial minerals award for introducing contact-tracing technology to manage physical distancing and track exposures to the COVID-19 at our worksites. Imerys provided wearable contact-tracing badges to all personnel and used the data collected to improve physical distancing measures and to add exposure controls. These measures delivered additional capacity to contain the potential spread of COVID-19.

Imerys’ Vice President & General Manager of Polymers & coatings, Doug Smith, accepted the award, presented during the Industrial Mineral Association meeting. “We are proud of our EHS and Operations team to receive such an award from the US Federal Agency, National Institute of Occupational Safety. The fact that NIOSH has chosen Imerys' PMA as a key winner in the Industrial Minerals space is a great example of how our EHS and Operations team were able to work with external partners and develop an innovative solution to combat the spread of COVID-19 across our sites.”

The NIOSH Mine Safety and Health Technology Innovations Award recognizes mines and companies that have made an extraordinary effort to apply technology or improve processes in innovative ways, above and beyond mandatory requirements, to improve mine worker safety and health. “This year's awards attest to the mining industry's ability to innovate in response to immediate, global challenges while continuing to develop industry-specific health and safety solutions,” said NIOSH Associate Director for Mining Dr. Jessica Kogel.

For the Vice President of Filtration & life sciences at PMA, Amanda Glaser, the team has shown how resilient they can be. “Our team took to heart the Imerys and CDC protocols to limit the impact. The safety of our employees has been and continues to be our top priority. I have been incredibly proud of our team's ability to find ways to get their jobs done in ways that minimize exposure risk for themselves and others,” she said.

These efforts helped our teams adjust operating procedures and protocols to protect our employees, contractors, their families, and the local communities in which they live. It is very exciting to be part of an organization that has been able to rise to the many challenges the pandemic has posed to the business. Our teams have shown an ability to adjust quickly to ensure that we operate safely while continuing to service our customers.

Doug Smith
Imerys’ Vice President & General Manager of Polymers & coatings

Chris England, director of North America Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) at Imerys PMA, explains the next steps: “We’re going to continue following our internal COVID-19 procedures and tools, especially Instant Trace badges until the pandemic is over. The Hub EHS Teams worked quickly to roll out the badges to all production and mine sites. This recognition is a reflection on the dedication and adaptability of the EHS Team.”


This is the second NIOSH Mine Safety & Technology award for the Industrial Minerals sector Imerys has won. In 2018, the group won for a Moisture-Tolerant Rock Dust project. Mixing rock dust with coal dust is necessary to guard against the propagation of explosions in coal mines, but rock dust varies in its critical ability to disperse when wet. Imerys created moisture-tolerant rock dust by blending conventional rock dust with treated calcium carbonate to offer an optimal solution for mines. Cooperative testing with NIOSH demonstrated that the treated particles fill in void spaces between untreated rock dust particles, blocking the wicking action that allows water to penetrate conventional rock dust. Imerys ImerCoal MT moisture-tolerant rock dust is commercially available and is being used in coal mines throughout North America.

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