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Mine safety review begins Tuesday

By: Jonathan Migneault - Sudbury Northern Life

 | Jan 27, 2014 - 4:18 PM |
The province's review of mine safety will begin Tuesday. The United Steelworkers and the  Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone's Support Committee have pushed for a review to improve conditions for underground workers. File photo.

The province's review of mine safety will begin Tuesday. The United Steelworkers and the Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone's Support Committee have pushed for a review to improve conditions for underground workers. File photo.

Ontario's chief prevention officer will be in Sudbury for the first meeting

The first meeting of the provincial government's review of mine safety will take place in Sudbury Tuesday, Jan. 28.

After a campaign from the United Steelworkers and the Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone's Support (MINES) Committee for a mine safety inquiry, the government agreed to instead begin a tripartite review of the mining industry, chaired by public representatives, union leaders and industry representatives.

The MINES Committee was formed in reaction to the mining deaths of Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier, who were were killed in a run of muck at the 3,000-foot level of Vale's Stobbie Mine in Sudbury on June 8, 2011.

On Feb. 29, 2012, the United Steelworkers released a comprehensive report with 165 recommendations to ensure other miners would not face the same dangerous conditions that killed Fram and Chenier the year before.

One of the report's main recommendations was for the Ontario government to initiate a detailed mine safety inquiry. The last inquiry of the sort was conducted in 1981, and the Steelworkers argued changes in technology and mining practices necessitated a fresh look at the industry.

George Gritziotis, Ontario's chief prevention officer, will be in Sudbury for Tuesday's meeting.

Gritziotis' role was created to establish Ontario's health and safety strategy and manage the province's prevention services.

Matt Blajer, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, said the initial meeting will be administrative in nature.

In a Dec. 18 news release the Ministry of Labour said the review would explore technological advances in the mining industry, such as new bolting and reinforcement techniques to prevent collapse and rock bursts.

The review is also expected to examine the education and training of employers, supervisors, and workers on injury prevention to identify skills shortages and gaps in qualified health and safety-related expertise.

@jmigneault 
Jonathan Migneault

Jonathan Migneault

Staff Writer

@jmigneault

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