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BULLETIN

Blitz Targets Ontario Mines

Ontario Government Committed To Preventing Workplace Injuries

  • Issued: September 29, 2014
  • Content last reviewed: September 2014
  • See also: Backgrounder | Mining

NEWS

Ontario will target hazards that could lead to the collapse of excavated rock in underground and surface mines during a province-wide blitz this fall.

In October and November 2014, mining inspectors and engineers will check that the mines have proper controls and measures in place to prevent the collapse of “ground”, or rock, as well as to prevent “rockbursts” which are expulsions of rock from mine roofs and walls.

They will target areas where mining work is taking place to extend tunnels known as “drifts” in underground mines and where mounds of mined material are stockpiled in open pit / surface mines.

The inspectors will focus on:

  • how excavations are designed, including how they will be dug out and structurally supported in underground and surface mines
  • whether professional engineers have verified that excavations in areas where there is no ground support are safe and will not endanger workers
  • whether stockpiles of loose material are being maintained at a safe angle of “repose” (natural slope) in surface mines
  • whether supervisors have examined the face for any possible hazards in surface mines

This is the second year in a row the ministry has targeted ground stability at Ontario mines.

Ontario recently issued a progress report on a comprehensive review of health and safety in province’s underground mines. The review is looking at ways to better protect mine workers.

Protecting mine workers is part of the government's continued commitment to keep workers safe on the job through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy.

QUOTES

"Our government is committed to preventing injuries and illnesses in Ontario mines. In addition to blitzes such as this one, we’re conducting a comprehensive mining safety review to further the health and safety of mine workers. All workers deserve to come home to their families safe and sound at the end of each work day."
— Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour

"Ground control continues to be a key safety issue at Ontario mines. This was confirmed by the results of the 2013 ground control blitz. This blitz, and the mine review, are part of a number of initiatives to improve health and safety at Ontario mines."
— George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer

QUICK FACTS

  • Since 1991, 18 workers have died in underground and surface mines as a result of falls of ground or rockbursts.
  • During a 2013 ground control blitz, ministry inspectors conducted 53 visits to 31 underground mines. They issued 154 orders under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including 23 stop work orders.
  • Ontario has about 40 underground mines with about 25,000 workers, and several thousand surface mines with about 20,000 workers. Most of these mines are located in Northern Ontario.
  • Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, held 66 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.

LEARN MORE

Read more about Ontario's Safe At Work Ontario strategy to improve workplace safety.

Learn about the ministry's Mining Sector Plan 2014-2015.

Learn more about mining safety.

Read the progress report on the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review.

Craig MacBride, Minister's Office, 416-326-7709
Bruce Skeaff, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405

ontario.ca/labour-news
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