Published on: 1/29/2013 10:57:23 AM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Union calls for coroner's inquest in Sudbury mine death

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

The union representing Vale miners in Sudbury said a Ministry of Labour (MOL) report on the death of miner Stephen Perry reinforces the need for increased safety measures to protect workers.

Following the ministry's year-long investigation into the Jan. 29, 2012, fatality at Vale’s Coleman Mine, the MOL announced Jan. 25 no charges will be laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

“The labour ministry confirmed a key finding of our union’s investigation of this tragedy, which is that Stephen Perry was killed even though he did everything right at work that day,” said Steelworkers Local 6500 President Rick Bertrand told Northern Life newspaper.

Perry is calling for a coroner's inquest into Perry's death.

“This tragedy reconfirms that there is more that we can, and must do to prevent workplace deaths,” Bertrand said.

Perry, 47, was operating heavy machinery 4,215 feet underground when he was struck by a massive piece of rock that dislodged from the face, or wall, of an ore body.

USW Local 6500 and Vale conducted a joint investigation into the fatality that produced 15 recommendations, Bertrand said.

“We have identified several measures that can be taken to try to prevent such a tragedy in the future,” he said. “We have made progress in implementing these measures and we are committed to ensuring that all of the recommendations are implemented.”

Key recommendations include bolting the face of an ore body in preparation for performing work at the face and introducing new equipment and technology to better protect miners working in such situations.

Bertrand said a coroner’s inquest will produce findings and recommendations to prevent mining deaths and injuries and improve workplace health and safety.

The union said there have been more than 180 mining deaths since the last provincial inquiry was held in 1981.

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