Changes needed underground, says inquest into death of Vale miner Stephen Perry

The jury hearing an inquest into the death of a Sudbury miner says there needs to be changes to underground mine inspection and first aid to prevent similar accidents.

Stephen Perry died from a crushing injury to his head and chest, jury rules

Inquests into deaths at mines and construction sites are mandatory. But some don't happen until 10 years after the person's death (Marina von Stackelberg/CBC News)

The jury hearing an inquest into the death of a Sudbury miner says there needs to be changes to underground mine inspection and first aid to prevent similar fatalities.

Stephen Perry died in January 2012 while underground at Vale's Coleman mine in Levack.

He was working alone when a 14-tonne chunk of rock broke away from the mine's face.

The jury released its findings Thursday.

It determined the death was an accident, caused by a crushing injury to Perry's head and chest.

The jury also made ten recommendations for change in Ontario's underground mines based on Perry's case. They include regular inspections of mine faces, better lighting, and changes to the laws around working alone.

The jury also said first aid measures should be improved, including making it possible for CPR and first aid to be performed inside the mine.

The inquest heard earlier this week that Perry could not be given CPR underground because there wasn't enough room on the emergency vehicle.

The inquest into the death of Vale miner Steve Perry unfolded in Sudbury last week, four years after he was killed in a mining accident. (Facebook/CBC Corner Brook )

The ten recommendations are:

  1. The supporting faces of all underground mines should be assessed by a ground control engineer.
  2. The Ontario Ministry of Labour should investigate current mine technology, including remote loaders, the type of machine Perry was operating.
  3. Ministry of Labour laws regarding working alone should be changed. "We strongly feel that the mere presence of a radio does not remove the dangers of working alone. This provision should be removed from legislation," the jury wrote.
  4. Improvements to underground emergency vehicles and first aid stretchers so CPR and other first aid can be performed underground.
  5. All supervisors at underground mines should have advanced level first aid training, and a mine rescue worker should be available on every shift.
  6. All mines should have an automated external defibrillator available at refuge stations.
  7. The Ministry of Labour should look at improving lighting on the type of loader that Perry was using.
  8. Inquests into mining deaths should happen sooner.
  9. All mine safety systems should be reviewed so they can be more proactive to prevent accidents.
  10. All mines should improve communication systems.


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