Workplace Safety North (WSN) and Ontario Mine Rescue crowned mine rescuers from Vale West Mines with gold hard hats as overall winners of the 61st annual Ontario Mine Rescue Competition in Marathon, June 10 and 11.
The team dedicated their win to Vale miners Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram, killed in an incident at Stobie Mine in Sudbury a day before the event. The fatalities, a poignant reminder of the importance of mine rescue, were commemorated with a minute of silence as most participants and audience members wore black ribbons.
Mine rescue team members, the backbone of Ontario Mine Rescue, are volunteer mine workers trained by Mine Rescue Officer/Consultants to respond to all types of mine emergencies including fires, explosions and falls of ground.
Teams from across Ontario, winners of the seven district competitions held in early May, competed in a simulated emergency over two days at Barrick-Hemlo’s Williams Mine near Marathon. Teams are evaluated on their firefighting skills, first aid response, use of emergency equipment and decision-making ability under stress in an underground environment.
During the exercise the six member teams had to extinguish a fire, find missing miners - including rescuing an unconscious miner from a catwalk - and treat their injuries. Much of the rescue was conducted “under oxygen” (using rebreathing apparatus) underground.p>Competing mine rescue teams represented Canadian Gypsum Co. (Southern District); Goldcorp Canada, Musselwhite Mine (Red Lake District); Barrick-Hemlo (Thunder Bay/Algoma District); Xstrata Copper, Kidd Mine (Timmins District), Kirkland Lake Gold, Macassa Mine (Kirkland Lake District); Xstrata Nickel (Onaping District); and Vale West Mines (Sudbury District).
Vale West Mines team of Captain Brian Small, Vice-captain Paul Frising, Eric Gagne, Neil Thompson, Lorne Beleskey, Ron O’Bumsawin, Jodie Dumochel, and Briefing Officer Jacques Joduin, also won the Team Firefighting Award. Barrick-Hemlo technician Denis Bilodeau won the Technician Award.
Other awards included:
Overall runnerup – Barrick-Hemlo
Team First Aid – Xstrata Copper, Kidd Mine
Team Special Equipment – Xstrata Nickel
This year’s competition was co-hosted by Barrick-Hemlo, North American Palladium, Wesdome Gold Mines, and Richmont Mines. The event was sponsored by Drager Safety, Technica Mining, DeBeers Canada, and Acklands Grainger.
Ontario Mine Rescue is a part of Workplace Safety North, which provides products and services to promote workplace health and safety in the mining, forestry and pulp and paper industries, as well as workplaces across Northern Ontario.