Vale safety violations upset family of killed miner – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – November 6, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The sister of a miner killed June 8, 2011, at Vale’s Stobie Mine and the president of the union representing that worker say they were shocked the Ministry of Labour issued 41 health and safety orders against the company after an inspection at the mine last month.

Briana Fram asked how it could be that Vale is facing 41 infractions at the mine where, 17 months ago her brother, Jordan Fram, 26, was killed on the job.Fram and Jason Chenier, 35, died when they were overcome by 350 tons of muck while working at the 3,000-foot level at Stobie Mine.

Vale is facing nine charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and one of its super visors is facing six charges under the act after a Labour ministry investigation into the men’s deaths. Those charges are proceeding through court.

Briana Fram sits on an advocacy committee called MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support), struck to lobby for a provincewide inquiry into mining safety and practices to avoid tragedies such as the deaths of the two men.

MINES issued a statement Monday saying its members were troubled about the orders against Vale at Stobie, especially ones related to standing water. Excess water was identified as a large part of the reason the two men were killed.

Fram said “it is very troubling for us that orders have been issued to Vale related to concerns with standing water — the very hazard that contributed to the deaths of Jason Chenier and my brother, Jordan Fram.

“We believe the results of this latest inspection reveal a disregard for workers’ safety,” she said. “It’s another clear example of why an inquiry is needed to improve and modernize our mine safety system.”

Vale spokeswoman Angie Robson said the company has received the orders from the ministry and is in the process of complying with all of them.

“We will continue to co-operate with the ministry, as well as our Joint Health and Safety Committee at Stobie to correct any conditions that require attention.”

Labour ministry William Lin confirmed some of the problems identified in the orders resulting from an inspection conducted Oct. 17 and 18 were fixed immediately and some were complied with afterward.

Robson said Stobie Mine, “by its very nature, is known as a ‘wet’ mine, with water naturally occurring in many areas of the mine. We are continuing to implement the more than 30 recommendations developed in the wake of the tragic fatalities in June 2011, which are aimed at enhancing controls in various areas, including water management.”

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