Labour inspectors increase focus on PPE use in mining

Ontario is increasing enforcement of personal protective equipment in mining workplaces, Labour Minister Peter Fonseca has announced.

Ministry of Labour inspectors will visit underground and surface mines in November to check on equipment worn by workers to protect them against hazards related to falls, worker visibility and atmospheric contaminants. The blitz will ensure safety gear is in good condition and being used correctly in order to prevent falls, collisions involving workers and vehicles, and health-related hazards.

The blitz is part of the government’s Safe At Work Ontario strategy to keep workplaces safe and productive, the ministry said.

“Even one injury is one too many. That’s why our government and its workplace partners remain committed to the protection of workers in Ontario mines. We’ll go a long way towards this by cracking down on non-compliance, poor practices and deficiencies involving personal protection equipment," Fonseca said in a statement.

Ontario employs 430 full-time occupational health and safety inspectors. Since 2002, five workers have died in Ontario mining workplaces due to falls. Between 2005 and 2009, 13 workers in mining workplaces were seriously injured due to falls.
Visibility of workers was considered a factor in more than half of the vehicle accidents in mining workplaces.

Between 2005 and 2009, 63 of 70 allowed fatal occupational disease claims involving mine workers were related to breathing problems, according to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.