Mining safety review makes 18 recommendations

A year-long review of mining health and safety released in Sudbury on Wednesday includes 18 recommendations on how to make the job safer.

Minister says all parties in the mining industry will act on review's findings

USW 6500 President Rick Bertrand and Chair of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review, George Gritziotis, at the release of its recommendations Wednesday in Sudbury. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

A year-long review of mining health and safety released in Sudbury on Wednesday includes 18 recommendations on how to make the job safer.

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says company owners, provincial officials, and union leaders are all committed to the recommendations, including more risk assessments and plans to manage silica dust and diesel exhaust.

"They better treat them seriously," he said. "There's a lot of work gone into this. The employer community has done an excellent job, I think."

George Gritziotis, chair of the review committee, said progress has been made on the system workers and companies use to notify each other about workplace dangers.  

When the committee first started its work a year ago, many in the mining industry said lack of trust made the system break down. Gritziotis says it's different now.

"It's been a challenging piece, but I think we took it on and we've done a good job," he said.

12 public sessions

Gritziotis, who is Ontario's chief prevention officer, worked with an advisory group of employer and labour industry representatives, health and safety organizations and affected families. It also held 12 public sessions across the province. 

The recommendations include:

  • Mandatory risk assessments.
  • Keeping a record of significant seismic events and incidents of ground instability.
  • A formal plan to manage hazards that cause occupational illness.
  • A water management program for all underground mines employers.
  • A formal traffic management plan in underground mines.
  • Emergency response plans for exploration sites, new mines, surface mines and mining plants.
  • A mining-sector risk assessment taken every three years.

There is no mention in the report of several recent fatalities in Sudbury that helped spur the review: Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier at Stobie in 2011; Stephen Perry at Coleman in 2012; and Paul Rochette at Copper Cliff in 2014.

Contractors Norm Bisaillon and Marc Methe died at Lockerby shortly after the review started in 2014.


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