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Ontario launches mine safety inspection blitz

Since 2000, 10 workers have died as result of rock falls
By COS staff
| www.cos-mag.com

Inspectors from Ontario’s Ministry of Labour are visiting mines from Aug. 6 to Sept. 27 to look for hazards that could lead to the collapse of excavated rock in underground mines.

"Since 2000, 10 workers have died and nearly 50 workers have been critically injured in underground mines in Ontario as a result of being struck by rock falls," said Jane McKenna, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Labour. "That's why this is important. Bringing home miners safely to their families is a priority for our government."

Inspectors and engineers will check that mines have proper controls and measures in place to prevent the collapse of excavated rock in underground mines as well as to prevent “rockbursts” (violent expulsions of rock from mine backs or roofs and walls). They will be focusing on ground control plans, mine design, communication programs, procedures for installation of ground support and quality control programs.

"Ground instability has been one of the biggest causes of fatalities in underground mines in Ontario," said McKenna.

Since 2000, 10 workers have died and nearly 50 workers have been critically injured in underground mines in Ontario as a result of falls of ground. Additionally, the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review ranked four of the top five highest risks as ground control issues.

Workplace Safety North (WSN) was involved in the first phase of the inspection blitz and helped employers prepare for a ministry visit, along with educating them on the various hazards. Its presentation is available on the WSN website and includes ground control plans, quality control programs and “lots of resource information,” said Mike Parent, vice-president of prevention services at WSN.

Mostly located in Northern Ontario, the province has about 40 underground mines with about 25,000 workers,

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