Labour ministry announces mining safety blitz

Burlington MPP Jane McKenna, parliamentary secretary to the Ontario Minister of Labour, announces a mining safety blitz at the Windsor Salt Mine, August 16, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Ontario’s vital mining industry is getting a close look to ensure its workers are safe.

The Ministry of Labour has announced a safety enforcement blitz, which will look at the conditions of every mine in the province throughout the summer. The purpose is to ensure that mining companies are complying with safety regulations and that communication procedures are in place.

The announcement was made Friday afternoon at the Windsor Salt Mine in Windsor. Jane McKenna, parliamentary secretary to Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton, said mining remains a dangerous profession despite the technology that is in place.

“Workers can face health and safety risks from hazards that can lead to the collapse of excavated rock or stockpiled material found in underground and surface mines,” said McKenna, the MPP for Burlington. “These hazards can result in serious injuries and even death.”

According to the ministry, 10 mining workers have died in accidents across the province since 2000, and over 50 more have been seriously injured on the job. The Goderich salt mine alone has seen three deaths in the last decade.

Mining companies have already been the subject of outreach programs from the ministry on workplace safety, and McKenna said the inspections have already been scheduled province-wide through September 27.

“The inspections will focus on reviewing ground control plans, mine design, communication programs, procedures for installing ground support, and quality control programs,” said McKenna.

The mining industry in Ontario employs about 35,000 people, according to the Ministry of Labour. There are 40 underground mines employing 25,000 of them, with the rest working in quarries, open pits, and gravel operations.

Windsor Salt Mine, August 16, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Windsor Salt Mine, August 16, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.