Sudbury mines given hundreds of health and safety work orders
Orders cover such areas as hoist maintenance, ventilation, and preventing water accumulation
Details of health and safety orders issued to Sudbury-area mines hint at the dangers of working underground.
The Ministry of Labour provided CBC News a breakdown of orders that have been given to First Nickel's Lockerby Mine, Vale's Stobie and Creighton Mines, Xstrata's Nickel Rim South and Quadra FNX/KGMH International's Levack mine over the past three years.
The orders cover such areas as hoist maintenance, ventilation, and preventing water accumulation.
Out of the five, Lockerby Mine had the most orders, totalling more than 200.
Stobie had the second highest number, at more than 180.
The other three had fewer than 100 each.
“Is it the style of management? Is it what is going on with the workers? But clearly, we need to make sure that whatever is going on there is properly dealt with,” he said.
Bisson said the number and types of orders don't provide a clear enough picture to make any quick judgments.
Six miners have died in Sudbury over the past three years.
Norm Bisaillon was killed at Lockerby last May.
“His smile would light up everywhere he went,” said his widow, Romeena Bisaillon as she looked over the orders for Lockerby.
“How many does the Ministry of Labour allow to keep going on? If they keep going in there and complaining about the same thing, when do they say, ‘this is enough?’”
Seven of those Lockerby mine work orders were stop-work orders, which were issued when danger was imminent.
Other orders related to adequate ventilation, and water accumulation.
Bisson admits the numbers seem a little high, but the amount of orders prompted him to ask more questions.
“Is that because of there's very active health and safety committees? That's good if that's the case,” he said.
“But it's also based on incidences in the workplace.”
Overall, Bisson said the situation is too complicated to make quick judgments based on this information.
In the past decade, 24 people have died in Ontario's mining sector and more than 300 have been critically injured.
About 27,000 people work in Ontario's mining sector, with another 50,000 jobs in processing.
A provincial mines safety review committee, launched last December, is working on its final report. The committee includes an advisory group of industry, labour, and health and safety representatives.
The committee's final report is expected early next year.