The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The mother of one of two men whose deaths four years ago in a Vale mine sparked a review to improve mine safety is pleased with 18 recommendations and says they will make working underground less hazardous.
Wendy Fram’s son, Jordan, 26, and coworker Jason Chenier, 35, were killed June 8, 2011, by a run of muck at the 3,000-foot level of Vale’s Stobie Mine. One of the issues identified in investigations as leading to the men’s deaths was excess water in the century-old mine.
That issue was squarely addressed in the final report of the Mining Health, Safety and Prevention Review, presented in Sudbury this morning by Labour Minister Kevin Flynn and Ontario chief prevention officer George Gritziotis.
Gritziotis chaired the review, whose advisory committee was comprised of individuals from industry and labour. Fram served as a special advisor to the committee on the review that was established in December 2013.
Key recommendations in the report are to enhance ground control protection by identifying key elements to managing those hazards and require employers to maintain a record of significant seismic events.
One recommendation requires all underground mine employers to have a formal water management program that specifies which precautions must be taken to prevent the accumulation of water in bins, ore and waste passes, and chutes.
Ministry of Labour, United Steelworkers and Vale investigations in the Chenier and Fram deaths showed that excess water resulted in the flow of muck — rock and liquid — that killed the two men.
The review recommendations will require underground mines to have a formal traffic management plan and to conduct risk assessments to establish emergency response plans for exploration sites, new mines, surface mines and mining plants.
Flynn presented the report, which he officially received today but has been reviewing for some time, at a workplace health and safety conference in Sudbury.
Flynn said his government would act on all recommendations.
Fram told reporters the review report is providing a measure of closure for her family “because we accomplished what we wanted to accomplish.”
Said Fram: “It has been a very long road for us, a lot of heartache and sadness and happiness altogether.”
With the review, “we came a remarkable, substantial way from the beginning of our MINES committee to our mining review committee.”
MINES (Mining Inquiry Requires Everyone’s Support) was a lobby group led by United Steelworkers and Wendy and Briana Fram, Jordan’s sister, that was calling for a full inquiring into mine safety.
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