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III. Risk Assessment

  • Issued: September 10, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: September 2014
  • See also: Final Report

As a contribution to the review and the work of the Hazard Working Group, the Ministry of Labour provided the results of a recently launched initiative that seeks to gain more insight into risks in all Ontario workplaces. The goal is to provide better information about risks to employers and their representatives, employees and their representatives, and to the Ministry of Labour and Health and Safety Associations and training providers staff – so they can work together to reduce the incidence of injury, illness and death in Ontario workplaces.

This assessment of risk in underground mining was initiated in Spring 2014. The objective was to bring together employer and labour representatives recognized as experts by their peers to identify and assess the risks, situations, conditions or factors that could lead to injury, illness or death. Over 260 factors, grouped into 29 categories, were ranked by the expert group.

Risk assessment lays the foundation for understanding and addressing the biggest challenges to preventing injury and illness in underground mining. With this risk assessment, the industry and its representatives, employees and their representatives, and the ministry and health and safety partners are in a stronger position to work together to reduce or mitigate risks to employee health and safety.

Using the ranking identified in the risk assessment initiative, along with previous recommendations from inquests, coroners recommendations, input from the public consultations and subject matter experts a list of six hazards to review in more detail has been created by the Review’s Hazards working group. These six health and safety hazard themes are:

  • Ground Control
  • Mobile Equipment
  • Occupational Disease and Ventilation
  • Fatigue
  • Lockout and Guarding
  • Water Management

Both the risk assessment initiative and the consultations reinforced the high risks associated with mobile equipment, including hazards relating to poor visibility of personnel who could be struck by vehicles. As a result of this process, the Chief Prevention Officer has already put in place a best practice guideline on "High Visibility Safety Apparel for Mines and Mining Plants".

To move the yardsticks for the system’s prevention performance, it is important for all system partners to focus on the highest risks in the sector and collaborate to find mitigation strategies. To that end, the system may consider working together to systematically analyze the root causes of the top risk-ranked events. This process could help the mining sector understand the extent to which effective controls are in place to reduce the risks associated with these hazards.

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