Sudbury

Sudbury group preparing mining companies ahead of Ministry of Labour safety blitz

The Ministry of Labour is conducting a safety inspection blitz at underground mines across Ontario.

Since 2000, 10 workers have died and 50 injured in underground mines as a result of ground falls

Ontario's Ministry of Labour is conducting a safety blitz of the area's underground mines.

The Ministry of Labour is conducting a safety inspection blitz at underground mines across Ontario.

Until the end of September inspectors will be visiting sites with a special focus on ground control, how each site plans for unstable hazards underground like rock falls or rock bursts.

To help prepare employers for these inspections, Mike Parent, the vice president of Prevention Services for Workplace Safety North, said the organization is providing education on what to expect and further resources on best practices.

Mike Parent is with Workplace Safety North, which is providing education to employers as the prepare for safety inspections from the Ministry of Labour at underground mines across Ontario. (Robin De Angelis/CBC)

"[Employers] really are required to understand the potential worst-case incident and build their ground support program around that," Parent said. 

"So should there be an unexpected seismic activity, that there is enough support to protect workers underground from harm."

Parent says the employers should be providing health and safety information to all workers on what dangers to look out for with ground instability.

"There's some pressures that build behind [rocks] and some energy can come out and almost explode out into the area," he said. 

"So the importance of an organization having a good control plan and ensuring that the employees are working towards the plan and following all the procedures, is imperative."

Parent says since 2000, ten workers have died and 50 others injured in underground mines due to falls of ground.

Ground instability is one of the main causes of deaths or serious injuries in underground mines. From now until the end of September, the Ministry of Labour is conducting a province-wide inspection blitz. The focus is on ground instability. Workplace Safety North is helping employers prepare for these inspection visits. They provide education and some insight into what the Ministry is looking for. Mike Parent is the vice president of Prevention Services. He recently spoke with CBC reporter Angela Gemmill. 3:40

With files from Angela Gemmill

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