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New study launched on mental health in mining

| www.cos-mag.com

Vale and the United Steelworkers, in partnership with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ont., have announced a new research project on the topic of mental health in the mining industry.

The aim of the three-year study is to gain vital information to develop key strategies that promote the best possible mental health for workers at Vale’s Ontario operations. This study will contribute substantially to the body of research to help others in the mining industry and similar sectors to develop evidence-based practices that effectively promote positive mental health, the group said.

Existing data suggests that the percentage of disability claims in Canada attributable to mental health problems is estimated at 78 per cent of short-term claims and 67 per cent of long-term claims. At Vale’s Ontario operations, about one in four of all disability claims are due to mental health problems.

“Mental health, especially as it relates to workers in an industrial setting, has long been an overlooked and underfunded area of research, which is why this study is so important,” said Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers and chair of the CROSH advisory board.

The project will use a comprehensive survey to sample workers from all occupational groups across Vale’s ontario operations. A multidisciplinary research team from CROSH will be led by Michel Larivière, clinical psychologist and associate director at CROSH. The team will work closely with the Vale/USW joint occupational health committee (JOHC) in all phases of the project from survey development to the presentation of findings.

Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn applauded the partners for taking a proactive role in addressing mental health issues through this study.

“Good employers recognize the importance of keeping their people physically safe and healthy on the job, and great employers are taking the next step to ensure their workplaces promote psychological safety and well-being,” he said.

Photo from left to right: France Gélinas, MPP Nickel Belt; Jody Kuzenko, director of Vale’s Ontario production services; Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers; Michel Larivière, clinical psychologist and associate director at CROSH; Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn; and Tammy Eger, research chair in occupational health and safety and associate professor in Laurentian’s School of Human Kinetics.

Courtesy of Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH)

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