Inspectors cite lack of required training to properly protect mine workers

TIMMINS, ON, April 4, 2014 /CNW/ - The province's labour inspectors are calling on the Ministry of Labour to begin taking action on a five-year-old report that would see inspectors given proper updated training in order to keep Ontario workers safe on the job.

The Ontario Public Service Employees Union is responding to the first ever public consultations with the Ministry of Labour's (MOL) new initiative for mining health and safety which took place in Timmins on Monday, March 31. At that meeting, industry insiders placed blame on Health and Safety Inspectors who lack experience and knowledge to do a proper safety inspection on a mining property.

Neil Martin, provincial representative for OPSEU's 338 Industrial Health and Safety Inspectors, 20 of whom work in mine inspections, said that for years the union and the inspectors have continuously requested increased training and front-line experience with industry experts.

"Despite repeated studies that have identified the need for ongoing and current training for Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors in all sectors, the Ministry of Labour has failed to implement any training that will keep our Inspector members current," Martin said.

In 2009, the Ministry of Labour produced a document outlining the ongoing training needs for Occupational Health and Safety Inspectors in the mining and other sectors. The Ministry has not implemented this training despite repeated requests from OPSEU.

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas said that it is time to stop laying blame on inspectors when accidents happen and instead start questioning why the Ministry isn't providing the training they themselves know is needed.

"Every worker has the right to go to work and come home safely to their families," Thomas said. "The Ministry of Labour must act immediately on training needs for inspectors before more unnecessary tragedies occur. Anything less than that is negligence on the Ministry's part, and our inspectors should not have to shoulder the blame for it."

SOURCE OPSEU

For further information:

Neil Martin, 647-627-4560