The final session of the Mines Health and Safety Review committee has wrapped up in Sudbury with a suggestion that the committee should support more safety research.

The Ministry of Labour has been holding the sessions in mining communities across the province, looking at health and safety practices in the industry.

The director of the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health at Laurentian University, Tammy Eger, said her centre has been working on ways to improve sight lines for large equipment users in mines.

“So if we can do anything to improve that line of sight so they don’t have that underlying fear that they may have a serious accident and potentially a fatal accident,” she explained.

Tammy Eger

Tammy Eger is the director of the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health at Laurentian University in Sudbury. (Centre for Research and Occupational Safety and Health)

Two mining deaths in northeastern Ontario in recent years found that sight lines were an issue in the fatalities, Eger said.

“But even as recently as 2009 and 2010, there have been fatalities in our north area and again, inquests suggesting that things like cameras and proximity detection and retro-reflective clothing for workers all be looked at again to come up with improvements,” she said.

She said in one case, a machine operator who wasn’t able to see properly was involved in a deadly accident.

Mining can be hazardous, but the risks as often complex and research is critical in order to develop policies and best practices, she said.

The mines committee is scheduled for more public hearings in Red Lake, Marathon and London in a few weeks.