300 attend sold-out annual event in Sudbury
Those who attended the 2015 Mining Health and Safety Conference hosted by Workplace Safety North in Sudbury last month were among the first to learn recommendations from the provincial mine review. On the day following the official presentation of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review report, a series of technical sessions were hosted by the Review’s various working groups where recommendations were discussed in-depth.
Along with excellent speakers and presentations, conference attendees are a tight-knit group of miners and they enjoyed an annual reunion with friends old and new. Enjoy the photo highlights below, and see you next year!
Opening reception: More than 300 representatives from mining companies across the country gathered together in Sudbury on April 14 to 16 to discuss mining health and safety. The eighteenth year of the conference also marked the release of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review report from the Ministry of Labour. More than a year in the making, the report was developed with the input of industry, government, health and safety associations and affected families. Many conference presentations provided in-depth information on the various recommendations, from top hazards and high visibility workwear to water management and emergency response plans.
Welcome and opening remarks: The conference was dedicated to Joseph Dwayne Plamondon, Mining Director at Workplace Safety North who passed away in January. Dwayne worked extensively on the mining review, and facilitated networking between companies, individuals, and government representatives. Candys Ballanger-Michaud, Chief Executive Officer of Workplace Safety North, host of the 2015 mining health and safety conference, welcomed 300 participants and introduced the Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotzis.
Ontario mining health and safety review: Officially released at the safety conference, the final report includes 18 health and safety recommendations that were accepted by Ontario Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn. “This review was entirely owned by the stakeholders,” says George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer at the Ministry of Labour. “I really have to hand it to the mining sector – this group was very involved and helpful.”
“Trust the process”: Kevin Burns, popular safety speaker, focused on his top ten safety attitude strategies and the importance of worker participation and engagement in workplace health and safety. What is the difference between being a safety ‘manager’ and a safety ‘leader’? “People are looking to see if you believe what you are saying,” says Burns. ‘Safely or unsafely’ – we’re given this choice constantly throughout our day – at work and home.
Global demographic trends and “re-skilling”: Dr. Linda Duxbury, professor and expert on demographic trends, notes in Canada, “By 2022, there’ll be more people dying than being born.” Employers will have to significantly re-think how they manage their human capital – and “really pay attention to recruitment and retention.” She predicts emergence of ‘knowledge economy’ a large proportion of work requiring some form of post-secondary education, such as engineering, health care, and accounting, along with a high demand for skilled trade workers such as plumbers, electricians, and mechanics.
Mining health and safety trade show: During Wednesday afternoon, conference attendees visited more than 20 exhibitors. The next day, attendees chose from 15 information sessions on a wide variety of topics, including working at heights, heat stress, nutrition, hearing protection, diesel particulate, and more.
Occupational Lung Disease in Mining Industry: With a grandfather who worked in the gold mines of Kirkland Lake, Dr. Michael Pysklywec is well aware of the wide range of potential inhalation toxins in the mining industry. A recent U.S. study found mining had the highest prevalence of asthma. Due to a latency period of 20 years or more, the correlation between occupation and illness is often missed by physicians, he notes. More needs to be done to educate the workforce to communicate with their doctors about work-related health issues.
Mine safety awards: On the final day, the Workplace Excellence Awards recognized Ontario mining companies that have excelled at health and safety; and the Ontario Mine Contractors’ Safety Association presented its Innovation Awards for the most innovative tools and techniques to improve mine safety. Congratulations to all winners!
Mine safety awards - CTV Northern Ontario News - Television news clip
Final Report: Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review - Ministry of Labour