Sudbury

Ontario mining safety review prioritizing proposals

Some members of the Mining Safety Review are pushing ahead to turn safety recommendations into legislation.

After the fanfare of putting out mining safety proposals, they get shortlisted for action

A miner operates a remote solo drill at the 710 foot level of Vale's Garson mine in Sudbury, Ont. on Dec. 8, 2010. (Gino Donato/Canadian Press)
Some members of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review are pushing ahead to turn safety recommendations into legislation.

The chair of the committee, George Gritziotis is also the province's Chief Prevention Officer.

He said he will soon be meeting with an advisory group which is prioritizing proposals from the review, as well as a recent inquest in Sudbury.

Gritziotis said the 24 recommendations from the inquest into the deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier at Stobie Mine in Sudbury overlap, or dovetail, with the 18 from the review.

"You know there are recommendations in there that speak to hazards that are present in the workplace today that we want to move on right away," he said.

"Following our May meeting, we will begin prioritizing which ones we are going to push forward on, and which are priority areas based on a number of things including risk assessment, our data around evidence and discussions we have with our partners. In terms of timeline it's going to be a busy six to twelve months."

George Gritziotis is the Chief Prevention Officer for the province, and the chair of the Mines Health, Safety and Prevention Review committee. (Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Gritziotis said requiring mines to file formal plans for water management and ground control are among the top issues.

He said those are items that will involve the Mining Legislative Review Committee. 

But some interim safety proposals are already in the works. These were announced about six months ago when the review was at its halfway point.

As a result, a Ministry of Labour spokeswoman says the province is recruiting more mining inspectors and engineer.

Gritziotis said the committee is also considering improved training for inspectors.

Another recommendation is the mandatory use of high visibility clothing above and under ground.

Vale's spokeswoman Angie Robson said the company isn't waiting on that one.

"That was something we actually decided on even before that recommendation came out and we're looking to launch here in our operations hopefully by the end of the year." said Robson.

There is already a proposal drawn up for this regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The provincial government convened The Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review more than a year ago due to pressure, in part, from unions upset with the deaths of two miners at Stobie in 2011.

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