Collaborative Approach to Safety Helps Ontario's Mines Meet Zero Fatality Objective in 2016

Posted on Monday January 16, 2017
safety 1st

On January 12, 2017, Ontario's Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn, was in Sudbury to announce new requirements to improve the health and safety of workers in Ontario mines. Read the press release

Minister Flynn confirmed that the province's mining industry met its zero fatality objective in 2016. This is a significant achievement, marking yet another step toward achieving zero harm - the top priority for all Ontario miners. 

"We are encouraged by this record of continual improvement in health and safety performance, because it validates our belief that any workplace injury is preventable," said Ontario Mining Association President Chris Hodgson. "We are determined to make Ontario's mines the safest and most innovative in the world. This latest achievement confirms the value of our safety initiatives and partnerships in moving us toward this target."

One such initiative is the ministry-led Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review. It has enabled exemplary collaboration among labour, safety agencies and employers, resulting in recommendations that are successfully driving progress on our shared goal of zero harm in the workplace. The Advisory Group's final report focuses on areas such as risk assessment, water management, enhancing ground control protection, managing hazards, emergency response, and strengthening the Internal Responsibility System - outlining measures that can be implemented in the short term, as well as innovative practices that will guide us in the future. 

The OMA was pleased to contribute to the work of the Advisory Group, as well as six supplementary working groups. We wholeheartedly support the recommendations and feel that they will benefit not just Ontario miners, but also other sectors in our economy. Moreover, they deepen the safety expertise that we can export to other parts of the world.

As Minister Flynn pointed out, "Ontario's mining sector has a strong culture of health, safety and collaboration, which continues to deliver positive results in the workplace for mining workers." Recent data support this. According to Ontario's Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB), Ontario industry sectors are demonstrating continuous improvement and mining companies compare favourably with other workplaces. The 2015 lost time injury (LTI) average rate for 2015 Schedule 1 employers was 0.85, down from 0.92 in 2014. Of 16 industry sectors, seven sectors were above this rate, nine were below. In 2015, mining was below the Schedule 1 LTI average, with a rate of 0.63 - down from 0.64 in 2014, and continuing the improving trend of the Ontario mining industry, which has reduced its LTI rate from 1.81 in 2002. 

Going forward, we will continue to make safety an urgent priority every day, keeping mine workers focused on staying safe and healthy through training, teamwork and leadership. The 'zero harm' safety vision remains our core focus in 2017 and beyond.