Ontario Mine Rescue
|SOCIAL DISTANCING – Left to right, Taylor Trahan, Al Desbois, Zac Clouthier, Josh Gagne, and Corbin MacDonald from Sudbury INO - Glencore’s Onaping Depth Project keep a pandemic-safe distance during an Introductory Mine Rescue Course at the Onaping Mine Rescue Station.|
Mine Rescue Training to Resume
As Ontario re-opens from the pandemic, so does Ontario Mine Rescue (OMR).
While precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will continue, OMR introductory and refresher training will move to “more normal” operations late this summer, says Shawn Rideout, Chief Mine Rescue Officer.
Surface training had been scheduled to resume at mine sites in late August, and it was hoped underground training would be resumed later in the fall, Rideout said, but the province’s move into Stage 3 in July, permits underground training to resume immediately in late August.
As of now all new training sessions, including cross mine site sessions, are being scheduled to be held at mine sites and involve underground activities, he said.
All mine site-specific COVID-19 procedures, which may include cage or travel limitations, will be followed.
Enhanced cleaning procedures for mine rescue substations will continue, as will the stricter washing and sanitizing procedures now required for BG4s.
Participants are still asked not to attend training if they have any COVID-19 symptoms or have come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
Conversations with mine rescue co-ordinators indicate they and their sites are able and willing to open to underground training, Rideout said.
Throughout the pandemic, Mine Rescue Officers and mine rescue volunteers have continued to respond promptly and effectively to emergencies.
The province’s move in mid-June into Stage 2 of re-opening meant that refresher training and introductory courses could resume at mine sites on surface, Rideout said.
But after talking with mine rescue coordinators, he said, it was decided already scheduled training would continue to be held at mine rescue stations.
There was insufficient time before refresher training slowed down for the summer to reschedule planned training to mine sites, Rideout said.
Training at mine sites had halted in March due to the pandemic, prompting OMR to begin to develop short online refresher seminars. The seminars had not been rolled out before in-person, participatory training resumed following the Victoria Day weekend in May.
MLTSD Emergency Preparedness and Response Blitz
About Ontario Mine Rescue
Under the authority of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and headquartered in Sudbury, Ontario Mine Rescue staffs, equips and maintains a network of mine rescue stations across the province that ensure mines within a specified geographic area have adequate emergency response capability. Ontario Mine Rescue, a part of Workplace Safety North (WSN), has trained and equipped thousands of volunteers who have fought fires, rescued injured personnel, and responded professionally to a wide array of incidents in the province's mines over the past eight decades.
Our role includes delivering training to first responders, providing consultations, conducting periodic audits, ensuring WSN-owned equipment is maintained to manufacturers' recommended standards, and providing advice during mine emergencies.
Since its creation in 1929, Ontario Mine Rescue has established a reputation for high standards in training, equipment and emergency response, as well as in the development of safe, effective mine rescue practices. We have served as a role model for the establishment of training and safety programs for mine rescue organizations in other provinces and countries.
WSN maintains a Mine Rescue Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that provides advice and guidance to Ontario Mine Rescue. Under the leadership of the committee, we remain committed to continual improvement, ensuring the mining industry's mine rescue needs are met.