The Ministry of Labour is leading a safety blitz across Ontario to check underground mines for hazards affecting the stability of excavations and to keep miners safe.
The objective of the mining inspectors and engineers is to ensure that underground mines have proper controls and measures in place to prevent the collapse of excavated rock areas, as well as to prevent “rockbursts” (bursts of rock from mine roofs and walls) from injuring workers.
Employers must comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its Regulations for Mines and Mining Plants. In response to any violations of the OHSA and its regulations, inspectors are authorized to take enforcement action as appropriate.
The blitz will focus on the following underground mines:
- Newly excavated mines or ones that have been recently reopened
- Mines that previously had ground control hazards
- Mines that have a history of poor safety compliance
The Ontario government has made mine safety a priority to protect almost 25,000 workers who work in the province’s underground mines. There are six new mining regulations that have been enacted and 11 safety blitzes have been conducted in the past five years. These measures are part of the province’s Safe At Work Ontario compliance initiative, which was launched in June 2008. Since 2000, five workers have died and approximately 25 workers have been critically injured in Ontario’s underground mines.
There are about 40 underground mines in Ontario, with the majority of these being located in Northern Ontario. Several of these mines operate at depths approaching 10,000 feet.
For more details, visit the Ontario Ministry of Labour.