MOL announces mining health and safety review

Friday, December 20, 2013

Review to focus on new technology, training, ground stability

Ontario Ministry of Labour is launching a comprehensive mining safety review to further improve the health and well-being of workers in the sector. 

Starting in early 2014, the province's Chief Prevention Officer will lead an advisory group of industry, labour, and health and safety representatives to begin a collaborative, evidence-based review on a wide range of areas, including the following.

  • Explore technological advances such as new bolting and reinforcement techniques to prevent collapse and rock bursts.
  • Assess current health and safety regulations, and enforcement mechanisms to compare their effectiveness with regulations in other jurisdictions.
  • Examine the education and training of employers, supervisors, and workers on injury prevention to identify skills shortages and gaps in qualified health- and safety-related expertise.
  • Ensure appropriate ground stability and water management practices methods are being used.
  • Confirm proper use of barricades and warning systems, particularly with respect to open holes.

Ontario mining industry review

  • The review will also examine the Internal Responsibility System in the mining sector and past mining related coroner's jury reports and inquiries. The Internal Responsibility System provides all workplace parties, including employers and employees, responsibility for improving worker health and safety.
  • Ministry inspectors made over 1,500 proactive visits to mining workplaces in 2012-13.
  • The province’s mining sector employs 27,000 people, with another 50,000 jobs in processing.
  • Ontario is the top destination for mining investment and production in all of Canada with a total value of mineral production reaching $10.7 billion in 2011.

"Improving mine safety and making sure our miners go home to their families at the end of their shift is what this mining review is all about," says Yasir Naqvi, Minister of Labour. "I know that all of our partners share this goal and recognize that it is time for a thorough, evidence-based review of mining safety across the province that will get meaningful results for miners and their families.”

"Ensuring the safety of Ontario’s 27,000 mine workers is certainly one of my top priorities and one that is shared across our government," says Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines. "Nobody in Ontario should ever go to work and feel unsafe. I applaud the strong effort that our government has made to ensure that one of Ontario’s safest industries remains that way. This review will bring key industry partners and stakeholders with mining expertise together to provide advice on a number of emerging issues that impact mining health and safety.”

Rick Bertrand, President, United Steelworkers Local 6500, adds, "We are counting on this review to produce timely and meaningful action to significantly improve health and safety in our industry.”