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BACKGROUNDER

Preventing Injuries at Mines

  • Issued: June 1, 2011
  • Content last reviewed: June 2011
  • See also: Mining

As part of Ontario’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy, Ontario will increase inspections of surface diamond drilling operations in Northern Ontario during June. The inspectors will check for health and safety hazards to help prevent injuries in the workplace.

BACKGROUND

Since January, 2009, the number of workers engaged in surface diamond drilling in Ontario has increased by 64 per cent – from 803 to 1,320 workers, according to Workplace Safety North statistics.

Some common injuries at diamond drilling sites include:

  • Entanglement in rotating equipment
  • Entanglement of clothing
  • A spark igniting leaking hydraulic fluid
  • Tripping and falling
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • A vehicle overturning, and
  • Being struck by a log.

ONTARIO’S DIAMOND DRILLING SAFETY BLITZ

The blitz will target surface diamond drill operations:

  • involving small companies or employers that may be unfamiliar with Ontario’s health and safety regulations
  • where large companies operate only a few drills with few workers at the site
  • where complaints have been received and there is a history of poor compliance,
  • not previously visited by the ministry.

Inspectors will continue to take a “zero tolerance” approach to any breach of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), its regulations and will focus on the following key priorities:

  • Guarding: Drill guards should be used to protect workers from rotating rods or other equipment. Guarding must conform to the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Emergency plans should be available and proper transport equipment must be on site in case an injured worker needs to be moved for medical treatment. Employers must also post signs to guide emergency responders to pre-arranged locations where injured workers can be met and transported out of the bush.
  • Training: Worker training must align with requirements of the Regulation for Mines and Mining Plants and cover safe practices when using diamond drills.
  • Supervision: Worksites must be properly supervised and workers should know their direct supervisors and how to contact them. Inspectors will also check on supervisors’ training and the frequency of their visits to sites.

Greg Dennis, Minister’s Office, 416-326-7710
Matt Blajer, Communications Branch, 416-326-7405