Steelworkers Call for Timely, Enforceable Health and Safety Improvements

TORONTO, April 15, 2015 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers (USW) Ontario Director Marty Warren today welcomed the release of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group's report aimed at improving safety in the province's mining industry.

The advisory group, created in December 2013 by the Ontario government, issued a final report including 18 recommendations to improve workplace health and safety. The report, culminating a 16-month review of mine safety in the province, must now be followed by meaningful and timely improvements to protect workers, Warren said.

"Our members, their families and communities rightfully expect swift implementation of the recommendations of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Advisory Group," he said.

"These recommendations must lead to meaningful change. That means health and safety improvements that will be enforceable in order to prevent workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths."

The mine safety review was launched following months of advocacy and lobbying by the USW and members of a community-based committee including families of miners killed at work.

The safety review's terms of reference reflected serious issues identified by the Steelworkers and other advocates following several preventable deaths in the mining industry, including the June 2011 deaths of Sudbury miners Jordan Fram and Jason Chenier and the 2007 death of Timmins miner Lyle Dufoe.

"On behalf of the USW I would like to thank the numerous workers, family members, health and safety advocates and others who provided input into the mine safety review, as well as the advisory group members who completed the report," Warren said.

"Now Ontario's miners and their families expect and deserve to see swift, meaningful action that will tangibly improve health and safety in this industry," he said.

"Improving health and safety in the mining industry must also include continued efforts to prevent occupational diseases," said Sylvia Boyce, USW Health and Safety Coordinator. "We want to work with the Ministry of Labour and employers to better protect workers from exposure to hazards that cause debilitating and deadly illnesses."

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792; Sylvia Boyce, USW District 6 Health and Safety Coordinator, 905-741-9830, sboyce@usw.ca; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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