Ontario Accepts Consensus Recommendations from Mining Safety Review
Province Launching A New Era In Mining Safety
Ontario is improving the health and safety of underground mine workers by accepting and acting on all eighteen consensus recommendations made in the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group's final report.
Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn and Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault were in Sudbury today to accept the advisory group's final report. The report contains 18 recommendations that will, among other measures:
- Require employers to have formal water management programs to reduce hazards related to excess water in areas where miners are working
- Enhance ground control protection to track and monitor seismic activity
- Mandate the Ministry of Labour to partner with employers and labour to conduct regular mining sector risk assessments
- Require employers to have plans in place to manage hazards like silica and diesel exhaust that cause occupational illness
The final report builds on steps the government has already taken to improve worker safety including a proposal to mandate the use of high visibility apparel to improve worker visibility and the maintenance of a mining exposure database to track and monitor potential cancer causing toxins.
The province's Chief Prevention Officer will work with mining industry partners to implement the final report's recommendations. The advisory group - including representatives from industry, labour, government and impacted families - will convene in the near future to prioritize implementation of the recommendations..
Protecting the health and safety of miners across the province is part of the government's economic plan. The four-part plan is building Ontario up by investing in people's talents and skills, building new public infrastructure like roads and transit, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure savings plan so everyone can afford to retire.
- In September 2014 the advisory group issued a progress report which highlighted immediate steps the government could take to improve worker safety.
- 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 health and safety inspectors made more than 1,700 proactive visits to mining workplaces in 2013-14.
- The province’s mining sector employs 27,000 people, with another 50,000 jobs in supply chains and support activities.
- 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.
“A number of excellent people worked cooperatively and very hard on this review, and I would like to thank them all for taking part in this substantial undertaking. Though Ontario is one of the safest jurisdictions in the world to work, mining remains a high-risk occupation. I’m confident that the work done by the advisory group will increase safety in our mines and save lives.”
“This report and its recommendations are great news for the people of Sudbury and miners throughout Ontario. It’s part of our government’s commitment to protecting workers’ health and safety and leading workplace accident prevention efforts.”
“Ontario miners take great pride in their work and contribute each and every day to the strengthening of Ontario’s economy. As a government, we need to ensure they can work in a safe environment and return home safely at the end of each shift, so I’m grateful for the advisory group’s recommendations and pleased that our government is acting on them.”
“The recommendations in the report are the result of extensive consultations and intensive study into a wide range of issues that impact health and safety in underground mines. These recommendations provide a roadmap for improving health and safety in our underground mines. Health and safety is a continuous journey of improvement, and we must always monitor emerging health and safety issues and continue to move towards a culture of all parties working together to find sustainable solutions.”