TORONTO: Ontario has launched a two-month, province-wide safety blitz targeting the use of explosives in mines. In July and August, inspectors will visit underground and surface mines, as well as quarries. They will check that the mines have proper procedures in place to keep workers safe while using, handling and storing explosives.
Mining inspectors will also ensure employers are complying with the Occupational Health and Safety Act by confirming:
§ Explosives storage areas are constructed in compliance with legislated requirements
§ Measures are in place to control inventories of explosive products
§ Adequate written procedures exist for the disposal of damaged explosives
§ Workers are trained on safe handling procedures of explosives
§ Processes exist for submitting notices of any defective explosives to the Ministry of Labour.
“The safety of workers in Ontario is our top priority. Blitzes such as this one ensure that we continue to do what we can to prevent injuries and deaths so men and women get home safely to their families each and every night,” says Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn.
“Hazards involving explosives used in mines can result in serious injuries as well as damage to property. The goal of the blitz is to raise awareness of these hazards and encourage the industry to comply with the law. We continue to work to improve health and safety at all Ontario mines,” adds George Gritziotis, Chief Prevention Officer.
§Ontario has about 40 underground mines and hundreds of surface mines and quarries that employ about 25,000 workers. Most of these mines use explosives to blast rock into manageable sizes for processing.
§ Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits and 52 inspection blitzes.
§ Inspectors have issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in the province’s workplaces since 2008.