Chilean Copper Mine Collapse
The Chilean mine collapse in which over 30 workers were trapped in Northern Chile is an example where knowing your audience is important when you have to pass the information of the collapse. The incident in question (Weik, 2010), “San José mine, a small copper operation in northern Chile owned by Minera San Esteban Primera, suffered a cave-in on August 5, leaving 33 workers trapped underground. Rescuers are drilling holes in an attempt to locate the workers, but there is no official confirmation whether they would be alive after four days with limited food, water and oxygen. A second cave-in on Saturday forced rescuers to suspend works for several hours. ...view middle of the document...
This may not be the time to share this information but it would be important for the family to know it is available and how to access the information. After the passing of the information initially it is important to follow up with the family to see if they have any needs that you may have available for them and give them an avenue to reach out to you in the event they have a question or request of you.
In passing news to the coworkers of the trapped miners it would be appropriate to get all the employees together either on or off-site to pass the news of the collapse and who is trapped and the efforts that are being made to rescue them. This message could be passed in a group setting by either the owner or public relations representative. The employees would also need access to counseling after an event such as this, to deal with the possible loss of friends and the possibility that it could have be them trapped in the collapsed mine. Just as with the family members it is important to follow up with the employees to ensure they are coping with the tragedy and understand what is going on with the rescue efforts. This may calm them to know that the company is doing everything they can to help those that are trapped and reassure them that if they were in the victims’ situation you would be doing the same for them.
It is never good to be the bearer of bad news but if you do so with genuine compassion in the most private area available and are there to support after the information is accepted then you are doing it right and to the best of your ability. In the end all 33 of the miners were rescued after 69 days (Komnenic, 2013). This incident could have had much worse results which would have required the company to pass the worst news imaginable but with the steps above could have done so with dignity for all.
I am XXXXXXXXXX public relations officer of San Jose mine. As you already know we have had a great tragedy here at the mine today. Minera San Esteban Primera, all the officers of the San Jose mine and I are truly sorry this has occurred and are here to support you. You have been gathered here because you’re loved ones are those that have not been accounted for. What we know now is...