Protecting Mining Workers on the Job
Ontario Launches Summer Workplace Inspection Blitzes
This summer, Ontario will launch inspection blitzes to ensure mining workers are safe on the job.
From July 1 to August 31, 2017, mining inspectors, ergonomists and engineers will check that mine employers are taking appropriate action to assess and address occupational disease hazards and protect workers. This will include:
- Checking that employers are complying with occupational health and safety laws and regulations
- Raising awareness of key health and safety hazards involving workers' exposure to contaminates in mines and mining plants
- Preventing injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices.
These enforcement blitzes are part of the province's commitment to keep workers safe on the job. Occupational disease can result from a worker's exposure to toxic airborne substances and other hazards in mines or mining plants, such as airborne dust particles, exhaust and fumes.
Ontario is also protecting mine workers by implementing recommendations from the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review to further improve their health and safety at work.
- Occupational disease can include various types of cancer, organ damage, lung inflammation and other serious illnesses.
- As a result of a recommendation by the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review, the Mining Legislative Review Committee formed a subcommittee to focus on hazards that can result in occupational disease.
- Ontario has about 40 underground mines and thousands of surface mines, with about 26,000 workers.
- The Ministry of Labour has completed nine other mining blitzes since April 2014 with a focus on explosives, ground control, water management, mobile equipment traffic control measures,modular training, occupational disease, falls and safe material tramming.
- Since June 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted 731,405 field visits and 90 inspection blitzes.
- Employers who do not meet the workplace safety standards laid out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act receive penalties, including orders or charges, by enforcement officers. The maximum penalty that may be imposed for an Occupational Health and Safety Act conviction is $500,000 against a corporation and $25,000 for individuals.
- Inspectors have issued 1,200,640 compliance orders across all sectors in Ontario since June 2008.
“Our government is committed to helping keep mine workers safe on the job. In addition to blitzes such as this one, we have conducted a comprehensive mining safety review and are currently well into the implementation of its recommendations to further the health and safety of mine workers. We must ensure all mine workers return home safe and sound at the end of each shift.”
“Mine workers can be exposed to a number of contaminants leading to occupational disease. Once a disease develops, it is usually permanent or has long lasting effects. It is essential mine workers be properly trained for the work they perform and that controls are put in place to prevent dangerous exposure. We all have a shared responsibility to ensure workers are protected when they work in Ontario mines.”