This winter, Ontario's Ministry of Labour inspections will target diesel emissions and other hazards that could affect air quality in underground mines across the province.
In January and February, a mining blitz will check that employers are complying with regulatory changes made a year ago to requirements for diesel-powered equipment emissions. The new requirements provide a healthier environment for workers, the ministry said.
“The new requirements better protect workers from diesel emissions in underground mines. We want to ensure employers are complying with the changes because poor quality air can lead to occupational illness and death of workers. The McGuinty government is committed to eliminating mining injuries and illness,” said Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Labour.
Mining inspectors will check that employers are: developing and implementing testing measures and procedures for diesel-powered equipment in consultation with the mine’s joint health and safety committee or health and safety representative; and routinely testing the diesel emissions and underground mine air to ensure they don’t exceed the limits for toxic airborne substances.
Protecting mine workers is part of the government's continued commitment to prevent workplace injuries and illness through its Safe at Work Ontario strategy, the ministry said.
?“Air quality is a major issue at underground mines. We’re working to improve health and safety and prevent injury, illness and death at Ontario’s mines," said George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer. ?
Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, and 48 inspection blitzes. Inspectors have issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.?