Inquest: Policies must be acted upon: miner – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 4, 2015)

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

The last time Ryan St. George saw Jordan Fram was about a week before the young miner’s death. Both were stopped at an intersection, St. George on his motorcycle and Fram in his new truck.

Fram yelled over to St. George: “Hey, you’re driving a motorcycle with shorts and sandals,” chiding him for not riding safely.

“That was Jordan. He cared about people,” said St. George at the last day of the inquest into the deaths of Fram, 26, and his supervisor Jason Chenier, 35, at Vale’s Stobie Mine.

St. George is a member of United Steelworkers Local 6500, a former miner who represented his union at the coroner’s inquest.

He gave what was one of several powerful closing statements Friday to a three-woman, one-man jury. A fifth juror dropped out a week into the proceedings because of medical reasons. St. George said he believes, like Fram, “that people care about each other.

“I truly believe nobody wakes up and goes to work as a manager, as a supervisor or as a worker … and says, ‘You know what? I don’t care what happens to someone else. We have to make material.'”

Jurors heard that Vale, USW, the Ministry of the Environment, and the Chenier and Fram families worked together to come up with eight recommendations for them to consider. Those are in addition to 42 recommendations implemented by Vale and USW Local 6500 since the Stobie Mine tragedy.

Chenier and Fram were overcome by a run of tons of muck while working near the No. 7 ore pass of the 3,000-level of the century-old mine.

Despite policies and procedures, actions and inactions, “the removal of barriers at a minimum four times,” Chenier and Fram were killed because water wasn’t properly managed in the mine and warning emails and barricades were ignored.

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