Sudbury·Audio

Mines safety review: province asked to track miners' illnesses

The Ontario government will create a database of the health of miners to help track illnesses and exposure to a number of carcinogenic substances.

A new study at Laurentian University looks at ways to prevent damage caused to miners by vibration. Tammy Eger is part of the group conducting the study. She was in our studio to explain the effects of vibration and possible solutions. 6:17

The Ontario government will create a database of the health of miners to help track illnesses and exposure to a number of carcinogenic substances.

The idea is one of several recommendations from a review of safety procedures in the province's mines following the deaths of three workers in Sudbury mines within a year.

The interim report is from a review panel chaired by the province's Chief Prevention Officer, George Gritziotis, who is responsible for occupational health and safety issues, including injuries and illnesses. It was released Wednesday morning in Sudbury.

The Liberal government says it will follow through on the interim report recommendation to have miners wear higher visibility clothing.
George Gritziotis is the chair of the mines safety review committee. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

There will also be new training standards with a sharper focus on mine hazards, and Laurentian University will conduct a study looking for ways to reduce loss of feeling in the feet triggered by continuous use of vibrating machinery.

About 27,000 people work in Ontario's mining sector, with another 50,000 jobs in processing.

The mines safety review was launched last December, and includes an advisory group of industry, labour, and health and safety representatives

"This is not low hanging fruit that we picked off," Gritziotis said.

"These are things that we saw through coroners reports [and] coroner's inquest reports. We've been reviewing a lot of things. And the panel felt that, 'hey let's make a move on this now. Let's not wait till the end of the review. And let's start having an impact today on the workplace.'"

The committee's final report is expected early next year.

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