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Mining inspection blitz targeting ground instability measures

Ministry of Labour visiting mine sites Aug. 6 to Sept. 27
The Ministry of Labour is conducting a safety inspection blitz of underground mines between Aug. 6 and Sept. 27. (Workplace Safety North photo)

A seven-week mining safety inspection blitz is focusing on the dangers of ground instability, which the Ministry of Labour says is the one of the biggest causes of underground fatalities in Ontario.

The provincewide health and safety inspection blitz is being conducted from Aug. 6 to Sept. 27.

According to the ministry, since 2000, 10 workers have died and nearly 50 workers have been critically injured in underground mines in Ontario. Additionally, the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review ranked four of the top five highest risks as ground control issues.

“Workers face health and safety risks from hazards that can lead to the collapse of excavated rock or stockpiled material found in underground and surface mines,” according to the ministry.

During the review, the ministry will target several areas, including:

  • ground control plans (unsupported underground openings, ground support quality control and ground instability record keeping);
  • mine design;
  • communication programs;
  • procedures for installation of ground support; and 
  • quality control programs.

Workplace Safety North, a sector-based health and safety association servicing Northern Ontario, noted that it helped conduct the first phase of the blitz, which involved educating employers and supervisors about the issues in preparation for a ministry visit.

“About 25 folks across the province attended the online webinar co-hosted by WSN and the Ministry of Labour,” Mike Parent, vice-president of prevention services at WSN, said in a release.

“The presentation information is now available on the WSN website and includes ground control plans, quality control programs and lots of resource information.”

Access WSN resource material online at