Ontario to conduct safety blitz targeting underground mines this fall

The government of Ontario will visit underground mines across the province this fall to check for hazards and help prevent the collapse of excavated rock areas to keep miners safe.
Provincial mining inspectors and engineers will focus on ensuring that mines have proper controls and measures in place to prevent rock collapses as well as to prevent "rockbursts."

Their inspections will also focus on:

• How an excavation is designed, including how it will be dug out and structurally supported.
• Whether uncontrolled falls of ground or rockbursts are being reported to the Ministry of Labour
• If a formal program exists between supervisors and workers for communicating issues involving stability of excavations.

Mine safety is a priority for the Ontario government. Six new mining regulations have been enacted and 11 blitzes focused on the mining sector have also been conducted in the past five years targeting safety gear, ventilation systems, loading pocket and internal responsibility systems.

Protecting mine workers is part of the government's continued commitment to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy while creating jobs and helping people in their everyday lives, it said.

Ontario has about 40 underground mines, with about 25,000 workers. Most of these mines are located in Northern Ontario.

Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, and 56 inspection blitzes.

The mining sector has achieved some of the lowest injury rates in the province, said the government.