Mines safety review will have 'teeth,' Steelworkers say

United Steelworkers Local 6500 says it's pleased with the terms of a review of mine safety in the province.
The United Steelworkers Local 6500 says it is happier with a province-wide mining safety review than with an inquiry. Local president Rick Bertrand (centre) speaks during a press conference held Wednesday. To the left is Wendy Fram, mother of fallen miner Jordan Fram, and to the right is Marty Warren, Steelworkers District 6 director. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

United Steelworkers Local 6500 says it's pleased with the terms of a review of mine safety in the province.

This follows an almost two-year push for action after Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier were killed in a run of muck in June of 2011 at the Stobie Mine in Sudbury.

Steelworkers staff representative Myles Sullivan said the promised review is better than the inquiry the union had been pushing for.

It's going to make real good positive change.- Steelworkers staff representative Myles Sullivan

The review committee will be chaired by George Gritziotis, who is the province's Chief Prevention Officer.

All stakeholders will be represented and there will be a fast track to put in place occupational health and safety changes, Sullivan said.

“As recommendations come out they can be acted upon and implemented immediately due to their level of importance, instead of waiting until the end of the process like an inquiry would do,” he said.

“We think that, with the teeth that is in the review process … [and] input from everybody to make these recommendations … it's going to make real good positive change.”

Deaths 'won't be in vain'

This is good news for Ephraim Dufoe, whose son Lyle died in 2007 at Kidd Creek in Timmins. Dufoe is also part of the committee representing families who have lost relatives in the mines.

The mine where his son worked is not unionized and Dufoe said his family had no voice until the Steelworkers offered a hand.

“Of course we're little people, we don't have [any] clout, but when the Steelworkers got involved, and then we got the mines committee going, people began to realize it's not just us, it's every miner working in a mine,” he said.

Jordan Fram's uncle George Staszak said he was encouraged by the review.

“Hopefully something good [comes] out of this and him being lost won't be in vain,” Staszak said.

Relatives of miners killed on the job will continue to be part of the process.

A final report looking at mine health and safety is due in one year.   



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