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Health and safety advisory group releases report

The Government of Ontario has agreed to act on the 18 recommendations that come from the province’s Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group’s final report, released in April.

“Though Ontario is one of the safest jurisdictions in the world to work, mining remains a high-risk occupation,” said Labour Minister Kevin Flynn Flynn. “I’m confident that the work done by the advisory group will increase safety in our mines and save lives.”

Among the recommendations is a requirement for employers to have formal water management programs to reduce hazards related to excess water in areas where miners are working.

The report also recommended enhanced ground control protection to track and monitor seismic activity, regular risk assessments and a requirement to have plans in place to manage hazards such as silica and diesel exhaust.

The province has already mandated an earlier recommendation requiring the use of high-visibility apparel and to create and maintain a mining exposure database to track and monitor potential cancer-causing toxins.

The province’s chief prevention officer, George Gritziotis, will work with industry to implement the report recommendations.

The United Steelworkers and the Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support (MINES) committee originally advocated for a mining health and safety inquiry, but later agreed to the province’s plans for a review instead.

The push for an inquiry came after the June 8, 2011 mining deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier, who were killed in a run of muck at the 3,000-foot level of Vale’s Stobie Mine.

The coroner’s inquest into their deaths began in Sudbury on April 20th.

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