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Ontario issues 172 orders during safety blitz at underground mines


Ontario inspectors found dozens of violations during a two-month enforcement blitz at underground mines earlier this year.

In February and March, Ministry of Labour inspectors conducted a provincewide blitz on safety issues affecting management of water in mines. This included checking for hazards that could cause water to accumulate and infiltrate ore passes, ore storage bins and “raises,” vertical excavations leading from one level to another.

Inspectors issued 172 orders for various violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants, including 22 stop work orders.

“Water management is an important safety issue at underground mines," said George Gritziotis, chief prevention officer. "This is one of the hazards being addressed through implementation of the recommendations of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review. Employers, labour groups and workers must do their part to ensure worker safety."

As of June 8, about 85 per cent of the orders issued during the blitz had been complied with.

Between 2000 and 2014, three workers died in Ontario mines after being engulfed by runs of material due to the material being saturated with water.

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