Pascal Goulet's death shows need for mining safety review: union

Pascal Goulet died while working underground at Lac des Iles mine north of Thunder Bay last Thursday.

Thirty-eight year old Pascal Goulet died at Lac des Iles mine on Thursday

In a Thunder Bay court on Jan. 18, Justice of the Peace Raymond Zuliani found Lac Des Iles Mines Ltd. guilty of failing to ensure that written safety precautions and procedures were established and followed.

The union representing workers at the Lac des Iles mine north of Thunder Bay says the death of a worker last week highlights the importance of a provincial safety review.

Pascal Goulet, 38, died on the job last Thursday. His employer, North American Palladium, said he was outside the loader he had been operating underground and was struck by a piece of ore.    

Myles Sullivan, a former miner and a spokesperson for the United Steelworkers, told CBC News there have been at least six mining deaths in Ontario this year. . 

"It's happening too often," he said. "I mean if there was fatalities like this within the fire services or police force there'd be parades of thousands in memorial of the deceased every time."  

Sullivan said the United Steelworkers and a group of concerned citizens and family members spent a long time pushing the province to hold an inquiry into mining deaths. 

Last winter, the Ministry of Labour launched the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review — an initiative Sullivan believes will help prevent future deaths.

Company responsibility for mining safety must be a key element of the review, he said.

"It has to be a culture where workers are empowered, they're educated and they have that culture of bringing up safety issues or hazards ... without fear of reprisal or without worrying about stopping production."

In an email to CBC News, a spokesperson for Ontario's Minister of Labour said public consultations are underway for the review and it is expected to be completed in early 2015.




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