Toronto — Changes to Ontario’s mining regulations will provide more protection for workers, give mine operators more flexibility and help to keep the mining sector competitive, provincial labour minister Chris Stockwell announced on June 19, 2001.
Amendments to the Regulations for Mining and Mine Plants, recommended by both labour and employer members of the Mining Legislative Review Committee (MLRC), will keep Ontario’s occupational health and safety regulations and standards for mines and mining plants “the front of the pack” in Canada and around the world, said Stockwell. The MLRC is an advisory group to the Minister.
“These amendments ensure Ontario laws keep pace with new technologies, knowledge and practices that help drive the economic success of the industry and ensure Ontario remains the number one mining jurisdiction in Canada,” Northern Development and Mines Minister Dan Newman said.
“Several of the changes to the regulations are aimed at reducing accidents and improving safety,” said Don McGraw, the labour co-chair of the MLRC. “Everything we can do to make workplaces safer and protect workers is important.”
Jon Gill, manager of the West Mines Complex at Inco in Sudbury, Ont., the other co-chair of the review committee, agreed. “A highly innovative industry such as mining, requires timely reviews of regulations to ensure we are able to benefit, in both safety and cost effectiveness, from advances in technology,” he said.
Other changes to the regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act include:
–Permitting mines to use new testing methods for maintenance of some equipment
–Adding “shock tube” — a new technology in the industry — to the definition of explosive
–Requiring safe storage of tool systems that use explosives — in addition to explosives
–Giving mine operators the flexibility to use readily available, low-cost, environmentally friendly, low-sulphur automotive diesel fuel in mine vehicles
–Requiring workers to wear reflective materials to increase their visibility in low light, and
–Approving the use of task lighting that meets work performance requirements in above-ground mining plants.