Ministry of Labour raises awareness about dangers of ground instability in mining
From Aug. 6 to Sept. 27, the Ontario Ministry of Labour is conducting a province-wide mining health and safety inspection blitz on ground control.
“Phase 1 of the inspection blitz involved assistance from Workplace Safety North to help educate employers and supervisors about these issues to help prepare them for a Ministry visit,” says Mike Parent, Vice President of Prevention Services at Workplace Safety North (WSN).
“About 25 folks across the province attended the online webinar co-hosted by WSN and the Ministry of Labour. The presentation information is now available on the WSN website and includes ground control plans, quality control programs and lots of resource information,” notes Parent.
Why focus on ground control in mining workplaces?
Ground instability has been one of the biggest causes of fatalities in underground mines in Ontario.
Since 2000, ten workers have died and nearly 50 workers have been critically injured in underground mines in Ontario as a result of falls of ground, according to the Ministry of Labour. Additionally, the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review ranked four of the top five highest risks as ground control issues.
Workers face health and safety risks from hazards that can lead to the collapse of excavated rock or stockpiled material found in underground and surface mines.
Ministry inspectors will review:
- Ground control plans (unsupported underground openings, ground support quality control and ground instability record keeping)
- Mine design
- Communication programs
- Procedures for installation of ground support
- Quality control programs
Resources and compliance assistance
Best practices for assessing ground control hazards in the workplace is a quick-reference booklet to support awareness training of miners.
Supervisor common core: ground control - underground mining is a two-day training program offered by Workplace Safety North is designed for health and safety personnel, joint health and safety committee members as well as supervisors.
Mining Sector Compliance Plan 2019 – Ministry of Labour