Man named to chair review into mine safety – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 6, 2013)

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

A man whose position was created after an expert advisory panel reviewed the Christmas Eve 2009 deaths of four men working on scaffolds in Toronto will chair the review into mine safety that will be conducted in Ontario in 2014.

One of the recommendations of the 2010 report into the scaffolding tragedy was that a chief prevention officer, reporting to Ontario’s Labour minister, be appointed.

George Gritziotis, founding executive director of the Construction Sector Council and a former strategy analyst at Investment Canada, was named to that job as part of an overhaul of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system.

Chris Hodgson, former minister of Northern Development and Mines in the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris, said the review into the deaths of the four men was led by former cabinet secretary Tony Dean.

It produced 46 recommendations and an 80-page report, which Hodgson said was supported by organized by both labour and management.

And while it was targeted at the construction industry, there are lessons for other industry sectors, as well.

The Dean review was conducted after four men fell 13 storeys to their deaths while working on a high-rise swing stage. A fifth man was seriously injured.

Among the recommendations from the Dean review was that mandatory safety training be provided to every construction worker in Ontario.

Ontario has one of the safest mining records in the world, said Hodgson, and there has been a 96% improvement in lost time injuries in mining in the last three or four decades.

Still, Hodgson said he looks at the review as an opportunity to improve an already good safety record and move closer to the “zero harm” goal of mining companies such as Vale Ltd. and Glencore Xstrata.

OMA won’t be represented on the review panel because members will require technical expertise.

“I hope the outcome’s successful. We’re looking forward to this review. We think there are some things that can be added in a co-operative way,” said Hodgson.

That tripartite approach — labour, industry and government — has been successful in improving mining safety and safety in other industrial sectors in the last several decades, he said.

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