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A safety record second to none

Ontario’s stellar achievements in mine safety were in the spotlight at the International Association of Labour Inspection’s (IALI) International Conference in Toronto, April 18 to 20.

In a session entitled “Ontario’s Revolution in Mining Safety: a Tripartite Solution,” panelists Leo Gerard, International President, United Steelworkers of America, Chris Hodgson, President, Ontario Mining Association and Vic Pakalnis, Regional Director, Ontario Ministry of Labour, spoke about the province’s stellar performance in reducing accidents in the industry.

Gerard shared his personal experience of growing up in a mining town and the improvements in health and safety he has seen over the years.

Hodgson spoke about the effective collaboration of labour, industry and government in promoting a safer working environment.

“Our experience and the comments heard today support the long standing premise that working co-operatively with government and workers to develop good legislation, competency training programs and improved health and safety outcomes leads to a more productive, safer workplace for miners,” said Hodgson.

Statistics presented by Pakalnis showed a 90 per cent improvement in safety performance during the last two decades.

“Ontarians should be proud of the incredible transformation that has happened in mining safety in Ontario. The tripartite co-operation of labour, management and government has produced a safety record second to none in the world,” said Pakalnis.

The three speakers attributed Ontario’s success in mine safety to:
• revolutionary advancements in mining technology
• mandatory training for workers and supervisors
• a will to work together to make mines safe
• employee determination to reduce lost time injuries
• the province’s mine rescue service, and
• the Electrical Safety Authority, a not-for-profit corporation responsible for public electric safety in Ontario

The conference was organized by the IALI and the Industrial Accident Prevention Association and held for the first time in North America.

The next IALI conference “Towards Healthy, Safe & Decent Work through Alliances, Ethics & Influence” will be held in Adelaide, Australia, March 12-14, 2008.


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