Ontario Taking Steps to Improve Mining Safety
Province Acts on Initial Findings from Mining Safety Review
Ontario is improving the health and well-being of workers in the province's underground mines by acting on its advisory group's early work.
Led by the province's Chief Prevention Officer, the advisory group's comprehensive mining safety review has prepared a progress report including a number of key initiatives.
In response to the preliminary work of the advisory group, Ontario will:
- Improve the visibility of workers through increased promotion of high visibility apparel
- Develop a mining health database that will serve as a valuable tool to track incidents of illness, exposure to a number of carcinogenic substances, helping to prevent miners from being exposed to unsafe levels and assist in the development of improved health and safety rules
- Create a sharper focus on hazards to improve health and well-being in the new training standards for joint health and safety committees, which are made up of workers and management
- Fund a study to be completed by Laurentian University that will look for ways to reduce loss of feeling in the feet triggered by continuous use of vibrating machinery, which puts workers at greater risk for slips and falls injuries, especially on high work platforms
The mining safety review final report will be provided to the province early next year.
Protecting the health and safety of miners and all of the province's workers is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up by investing in people, building modern infrastructure and supporting a dynamic and innovative business climate.
- The progress report draws on advice from labour, industry, academic, health and safety experts, as well as members of the public. Twelve public sessions were held across the province and over 60 written submissions were received.
- Mining in Ontario is diverse, covering a wide range of mineral commodities, including gold, nickel, copper, salt, diamonds, and a number of structural building materials.
- Ministry of Labour 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.
“I am pleased with the progress of the review, and I’m glad to announce we’re taking immediate steps to improve prevention measures for those who work in the mining sector. By working collaboratively with our partners, the review is providing a better understanding of the occupational health and safety needs of the sector, and I am confident that this work will result in safer mines. I look forward to receiving the final report and taking further steps to increase safety.”
“As one of the top mining jurisdictions in North America, our government fully understands the importance of remaining at the forefront when it comes to mining health and safety issues. This progress report is an important step forward in ensuring that Ontario mines remain among the safest in the world and that all employees can return home safely each and every night.”
“I am pleased with the support of the advisory group and of the many people who are devoting their time and expertise to the review. I am looking forward to submitting the final report, which I believe will make a significant contribution to the goal of making mining safer and ensuring that all miners go home after their shift, safe and sound.”