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Sudbury Mining Solutions


Seismic activity and heart health

February 21, 2018
by Norm Tollinsky
In: Norm Tollinsky

By Norm Tollinsky
Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal

A few years ago, immediately prior to an interview with an engineer at a consulting company in Sudbury, I was escorted through the building and shown the exit I was to use in the event of an emergency. I thought it was a little extreme, but an excellent example of the culture of safety that permeates the mining industry. I have also always been impressed with the short safety talks that often precede presentations in the industry.

Given the dangers associated with working in a dark, underground environment with big equipment, and the ever-present threat of seismic activity, it’s not surprising that safety is a paramount concern in the mining industry, but life itself has its share of dangers, which leads me to devote this space to my own safety share.

Last June, returning home from the gym, I suffered a heart attack. I was transported by ambulance to hospital and had an emergency angioplasty with several stents. There were no significant warning signs. I’ve always been thin, worked out three times per week and had regular check-ups. A month or so before the heart attack, my family doctor even told me he had “nothing to yell at me about.”

Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, claiming more than 33,000 lives per year and accounting for 29 per cent of all deaths. Every seven minutes someone dies from heart disease or stroke. That’s 206 people dying every day. Heart disease is also expensive, costing the Canadian economy more than $20 billion per year.

Obviously, what happened to me, can also happen to you. So, what can you do about it? Slimming down, exercising regularly and having regular check-ups are a good start, but they weren’t enough for me. I would have done myself a big favour by cutting down on all the garbage food I consumed over the years. You can also swear off tobacco, but if you’ve already lived a half century or more with some or all these risk factors, your only alternative is to proactively undergo the medical tests that will detect arterial blockages and other heart related issues before you have a massive heart attack.

If you’re huffing and puffing after climbing a set of stairs, don’t dismiss it. Tell your doctor. A stress test may be one alternative. An angiogram, which is more invasive, is another.
Staying safe at work is important, but if you’re not taking care of yourself, you
run the risk of not showing up at the office or for your shift, not to mention your grandkids’ hockey games.


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