TORONTO, Sept. 12, 2014 /CNW/ - An interim report from Ontario's Mining
Health, Safety and Prevention Review is a good first step and more must
be done to improve health and safety in the mining industry, the United
Steelworkers (USW) says.
"We commend the work of the advisory group that produced this initial
progress report," said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.
We look forward to the advisory group's final report early next year and
trust that the recommendations ultimately made in that report will
address water management as a top priority among other important
matters to be addressed," Warren said.
The progress report released Thursday recommends a new "guideline"
calling for high-visibility apparel for workers in underground mines.
Such a guideline is a good start, but the province ultimately should
pass a regulation to ensure greater use of high-visibility apparel
underground, the USW says.
"There have been numerous injuries and fatalities underground because
mobile equipment operators could not see co-workers walking in their
path," said Sylvia Boyce, USW Health and Safety Coordinator in Ontario.
"A guideline, which is based on best practices, is not enforceable.
Without a regulation, employers can't be forced to implement the
improvements," Boyce said.
"We encourage the Mining Legislative Review Committee to quickly act on
this issue and bring forth a recommendation to the Minister of Labour
for quick implementation of a regulation."
The USW supports a recommendation for an expanded database to preserve
mining health, safety and medical records. The union is calling for
preservation of more comprehensive historical records, including
miners' chest x-rays and pulmonary function tests, as well as measures
to capture data for current and future workers.
The USW also welcomes another recommendation for a study to eliminate
the harmful effects of foot vibration on miners. However, a more
comprehensive study is needed into mitigating the debilitating effects
of whole body vibration experienced by workers who operate mobile
equipment in mines, the union says.
SOURCE: United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information:
Marty Warren, USW Ontario Director, 416-243-8792
Sylvia Boyce, USW Ontario Health and Safety Coordinator, 905-741-9830, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, email@example.com