Mining deaths trigger demands for action on workplace safety (Daily Commercial News – May 13, 2014)

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SUDBURY, ONTARIO – Labour leaders are demanding the Ontario government take more action to improve workplace safety, after two men were killed earlier this week at a nickel and copper mine in the northern part of the province.

“How many times do we have to repeat ourselves,” said Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).
“Over and over again, tragedy after tragedy, we are telling the government that workplaces are not as safe as they should be and they must act. Instead, we face complacence.”

First Nickel Inc. (FNI) reported on May 6 that two drillers were killed in an incident while working underground at the Lockerby Mine near Sudbury.

Marc Methe and Norm Bissaillon, who were 34 and 49 years old respectively, were employed by Taurus Drilling Services.
Bissaillon was an experienced underground miner with more than 20 years of experience and Methe had been employed by Taurus for about 4 years.

According to FNI, one of the main factors in the incident was a fall of ground, which was preceded by seismic activity.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic accident that resulted in the deaths of two men and we extend our heartfelt condolences to their families, friends and colleagues,” said Thomas M. Boehlert, FNI’s president and CEO. “Safety is the top priority for the company and we will ensure this accident is fully investigated.”

Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to the area to provide emergency assistance, while all underground activities were immediately suspended.

Government authorities were notified and are currently working with FNI’s senior operations management to investigate the incident.

Despite the investigation, Ryan is demanding that the provincial government undertake an investigation which is conducted according to Criminal Code of Canada protocols.

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