Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario to Create Database of Miners' Health, Study Impact of Vibrating Machines

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Ontario to Create Database of Miners' Health, Study Impact of Vibrating Machines

Article excerpt

Ontario to create database of miners' health

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SUDBURY, Ont. - Ontario will create a health database to keep track of miners' illnesses and exposure to a number of carcinogenic substances in the workplace, the Liberal government announced Wednesday.

The idea was one of several recommendations from an expert panel set up last December to review safety procedures in the province's mines following the deaths of three workers in Sudbury mines within a year.

The government also promised to follow through on another recommendation to have miners wear higher visibility clothing.

"The only light around you is coming from your helmet. It's dark, there's recesses, confined spaces and blind corners, so anything you can do to help people stand out in a more reflective way will help," said Labour Minister Kevin Flynn.

"That was probably the number one learning experience I had from going a mile underground."

Flynn said there will also be new training standards with a sharper focus on mine hazards, and Laurentian University will conduct a study looking for ways to reduce loss of feeling in miners' feet triggered by continuous use of vibrating machinery.

The New Democrats called the idea of a database to track the health of miners on the job "a good idea," but said the province could have acted years ago to improve the health and safety training provisions for miners.

"Any step forward that will help prevent accidents in the mining sector is welcome," said NDP mines critic Michael Mantha.

"The recommendation that talks about increasing the training certification for health and safety committees, that is something that had already been announced back in 2010."

The panel is chaired by the province's Chief Prevention Officer, George Gritziotis, who is responsible for occupational health and safety issues, including injuries and illnesses, and is not expected to issue its final report until next year.

Over 150 people appeared in public hearings the panel held in a dozen communities, and it received over 60 written submissions received from various organizations, including labour and employer groups. …

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